Nov 2024 Ballot Measure Would Allow Cities To Enact Extremist Rent Control Policies In California

By Chris Kramer — 8/8/2023

The state of California currently has authority over rent control and has rental rate increase caps in place. This is not a good thing. But we might feel somewhat comforted that the state has certain protections in place as well. For example, the state bans cities from setting certain types of rent controls, putting controls on certain types of properties, and under certain conditions.

However, a new rent control measure has qualified for the November 2024 ballot. Here is a summary of the measure:

1. Would allow cities to set more extreme rent control than what is set by the state. Would also remove the ability of the state to put any restrictions on cities or counties in regard to rent control.

2. Would remove the state’s prohibition of rent control on units completed after 1995.

3. Currently, state rent control allows landlords to set rent at market rates when a new tenant first moves in. This measure would remove that protection and allow price controls even when a new tenant moves in.

Rent control is a price control. Price controls are antithetical to liberty. Liberty means freedom of association and free markets. It means mutually agreed upon, voluntary agreements. Not agreements where the terms are dictated by force or compulsion. In essence, we’re talking about protecting freedom vs. violating freedom.

Aside from the liberty perspective, price controls don’t work. Rent control doesn’t work. When you put caps on rent increases, you disincentivize owners and landlords. They are adversely affected. Over time, more and more owners and landlords take their properties off the market. Developers abandon plans to build or make available additional rental housing units. The net result is an even greater shortage of rental housing. In turn, rental housing becomes even more unaffordable. More who cannot afford rent become homeless. Instead of foolish rent control policies, we should be doing things to spur development.

See what has appeared in the LPMC blog previously about this ballot measure here:

Information about Justice For Renters, the organization who got the measure qualified to be on the 2024 ballot, can be found here:

A summary and full text of the measure can be found here:

The full text of the measure can also be read here:

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