upper waypoint

These 4 Bay Area Cities Could See Rent Control Measures on the 2024 Ballot

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

An aerial view of a city, with a large body of water in the bakground.
An aerial view of Redwood City. (Sundry Photography via Getty Images)

In a coordinated effort, tenants in four Bay Area cities have submitted the initial filings to place local rent control and tenant protection measures on the November 2024 ballot.

The measures that could come before voters in Larkspur, Pittsburg, San Pablo and Redwood City would limit annual rent increases (5% or 3%, depending on the city), prohibit “renovictions,” and limit owner move-in evictions, among other protections. Advocates have also proposed a similar ballot initiative in the Kern County city of Delano.

Trinidad Villagomez, a 22-year resident of Redwood City, said the proposed city ordinances would help stabilize renters amid continually rising housing prices. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Redwood City is $2,500, according to Zillow, and ranges from more than $2,800 per month in Larkspur to nearly $1,700 in San Pablo.

“This law will help stabilize families, particularly low-income families,” Villagomez said.

But Joshua Howard, the executive vice president of local public affairs for the California Apartment Association, blasted the efforts as “the same failed policies from overzealous actors seeking to undermine our state’s housing laws.”

more on rent control

He pointed to California’s 2019 Tenant Protection Act, which capped rent increases at 10% for most properties built at least 15 years ago. It also imposes “just cause” eviction protections, limiting the reasons landlords can evict tenants to “at fault” evictions, such as failing to pay rent or breaking the lease.

“If passed, the measures will only worsen our housing crisis, prompting housing providers to take units off the market,” Howard said in an email. “Additionally, they could cost cities millions each year to administer new bureaucracies that lack oversight and accountability.”

Villagomez, of Redwood City, said she got involved in efforts to organize tenants roughly seven years ago after she received a notice from her landlord that her rent would increase by $400. She took on an extra job and now works during the day cleaning houses and office buildings at night. She also takes on occasional child care jobs.

“I was worried I was going to be homeless,” Villagomez said.

But she’s also worried about future rent increases and what will happen if the Tenant Protection Act is allowed to expire in 2030.

“Even a 10% increase annually is a lot,” she said. “And we know the state law is not permanent. I would feel more secure knowing we have something to protect us that is permanent.”

In the Bay Area, at least 11 other cities have some form of rent control or tenant protections in place that exceed the safeguards of the Tenant Protection Act. The last major push to implement rent control in Bay Area cities was in 2016 when tenants in five cities — San Mateo, Burlingame, Mountain View, Alameda and Richmond — put new rent control and tenant protection measures on the ballot. Oakland also had a measure on the ballot that same year to strengthen existing tenant protections.

Sponsored

The 2016 election results were a mixed bag, with rent control and tenant protections passing in Richmond, Oakland and Mountain View but failing or resulting in only more moderate protections in Alameda, San Mateo and Burlingame.

Since then, voters across the state have twice had the opportunity to weigh in on whether to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 law that restricts local rent control laws to buildings constructed before 1995. Both measures failed, but a third attempt will come before California voters in 2024.

In order to qualify for the new tenant protections for local ballots in 2024, the petitioners must first collect and submit the requisite signatures.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
A New COVID Vaccine Dose Is Now Available for People Age 65 and Older. Where Can You Find a Shot Near You?Storm Barrels Down on Sierra as Blizzard Conditions Close Tahoe ResortsTo Fight Rising Rents, These Fresno County Residents Bought Their Mobile Home ParkHow the Racial Justice Act Could Shake Up California's Criminal Court SystemCan Science Explain a Broken Heart?Death Rate Among America's Unhoused Population Akin to 'Natural Disaster or War,' New Study Finds‘Be in My World’: For Many Madonna Fans, Her Art and Advocacy Go Hand in HandWatch 3 Bald Eagle Chicks in Southern California Hatch Live This WeekSevere Bay Area Storm Brings Road Closures and Blizzard Conditions to the Sierra NevadaAfter Closure Announcement, a Look at Macy’s Heyday…and Union Square’s Future