Rent control advocates have collected 195,309 signatures for the Rental Affordability Act, the statewide ballot measure that will allow local communities to expand rent control in California. The total collected so far by the organizations leading the effort, Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation, surpasses the 25% signature threshold that now compels the California State Legislature to hold joint legislative committee hearings in Sacramento on the Rental Affordability Act.
For years, seniors, families, teachers, recent college graduates and millions of other renters have been struggling with a devastating housing affordability crisis, but the California State Legislature has refused to substantively respond to the persistent problem of skyrocketing rents.
The Rental Affordability Act allows local governments to expand their rent control policies to housing that is more than 15 years old; allows local governments to limit the rent increase for a new tenant who moves into a vacated unit; and exempts the owner of one or two homes from any rent control law.
“Californians desperately need relief as they are forced to pay unfair, excessive rents to keep roofs over the heads,” says René Christian Moya, director of Housing Is A Human Right. “The rent is still too damn high, and we need urgent solutions. The Rental Affordability Act is one of those key solutions.”
Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gov. Gavin Newsom called for stronger rent cap protections for tenants, saying it “was long overdue.”
“We applaud Governor Newsom’s support for strong rent control laws,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “His comments come at a crossroads for the Legislature, which has five weeks to fulfill its earlier promise to Californians that rent relief would be a high priority for this legislative session. We hope they heard his message. But make no mistake: if the Legislature fails to enact meaningful rent reforms, we will take the Rental Affordability Act to the November 2020 ballot.”
Since June 28, backers of the Rental Affordability Act have collected 195,309 signatures from registered voters throughout California — 31% of the 623,212 signatures needed to qualify a ballot measure. Rent control advocates are aiming to collect nearly one million voter signatures in the coming months.
A recent poll conducted by A/B Consulting and commissioned by AIDS Healthcare Foundation found that 75% of voters who are likely and extremely likely to vote in next year’s General Election said they were likely to support the Rental Affordability Act.