Vote NO on 
Prop 21

We need real solutions to our housing crisis, not the same poorly written initiative on the ballot year after year.
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Proposition 21 does nothing to address California’s housing crisis.

Prop 21 repeals portions of California’s rent control law that protects single family homeowners and has no plan to build affordable and middle-class housing or deal with the increasing problem of homelessness on our streets. Prop 21 includes no protections for renters, seniors, veterans, or the disabled, and it has no provision to reduce rents. For Californians losing jobs - and both renters and homeowners who are struggling - this poorly written initiative is the last thing we need.

Proposition 21 is Bad for California

Reduced Availability of Affordable and Middle-Class Housing.

Independent academic experts from Stanford and U.C. Berkeley agree extreme rent control policies like those in Prop 21 discourage new construction and reduce availability of affordable and middle-class housing, driving up rents for many Californians.

Grants New Powers to Regulatory Bodies to Impose or Modify Rent Policies – Without Public Oversight.

Proposition 21 will change existing law to allow extreme rent control regulations and rules to be locally- enacted by unelected rent boards. These boards could change the cost and availability of housing with no requirements that they seek public input or that they hold a public vote.

Eliminates Homeowner Protections.

Proposition 21 allows regulators to tell single-family homeowners how much they can charge to rent out their homes – even if they just want to rent a single room. Homeowners will be subject to regulations and price controls enacted by unelected boards.

Cannot Be Easily Changed Without Another Statewide Initiative.

Proposition 21 can only be amended by the legislature with a 2/3 vote and only to further its purpose. Another ballot measure would be required to change any substantive problems.
  • This initiative will only further the economic pain created by COVID-19 that is hurting working families across the state, including the men and women of the building trades. It will stifle housing construction and increase housing costs while killing thousands of good-paying union jobs our economy needs to emerge from this unprecedented crisis.

    Two years ago, California voters soundly rejected Proposition 10, Michael Weinstein’s deceptive initiative that would have made our state’s housing crisis even worse. Now he’s back with a nearly identical measure that would inflict more damage on a state that is already in an economic freefall brought on by the pandemic. We need to defeat this measure that will limit affordable housing, kill blue collar jobs and reduce funding for state and local services."
    Robbie Hunter
    President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic pain for millions of Californians, and has hit veterans particularly hard. California voters have already spoken out on this issue. Our state’s housing crisis needs real solutions, not the false promises contained in this initiative. The Weinstein initiative will make housing less affordable for all Californians and make it harder for veterans to find housing for themselves and their families.”
    David Black
    State Commander, AMVETS, Department of California
  • Just like his nearly-identical initiative that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters two years ago, the new Weinstein initiative will make housing less available and less affordable for veterans and all Californians. It will create chaos in our housing market and reduce property values for homeowners robbing them of their nest eggs they are relying on for retirement. It’s the wrong solution for the wrong problem and a bad deal for veterans and for California.”
    Melissa Washington
    CEO & Founder, Women Veterans Alliance
  • Veterans already face difficulties securing stable and affordable housing, and measures like the Housing Freeze promise to deepen veterans’ housing affordability concerns. American Legion, Dept. of CA looks for balanced solutions that keep veterans in their homes without compromising construction of new housing. That’s why we opposed the nearly identical Proposition 10 in 2018, and why we urge our veterans to once again vote no on this initiative in November.”
    Ed Grimsley
    Commander, American Legion, Department of California
  • California’s housing crisis has long been a focus for our state’s business community. California’s high housing costs and limited supply put California businesses at a competitive disadvantage when trying to hire workers. Unfortunately, this flawed initiative, which is virtually identical to one rejected by California voters just two years ago, would do nothing to increase California’s housing supply, and could actually end up hurting the very tenants the measure aims to protect. It will have a chilling effect on housing construction, and further distort California’s broken housing market.”
    Allan Zaremberg
    President & CEO, California Chamber of Commerce
  • The most effective way to address homelessness is to build more housing. Michael Weinstein has a decades-long history of opposing the construction of the new housing California desperately needs, and being against working families and blue-collar workers. His latest housing freeze ballot measure hurts renters and will result in less affordable housing. That is why a broad coalition including affordable housing advocates, labor unions and community leaders are urging Californians to reject Weinstein’s latest electoral scheme just as they did less than two years ago.”
    Ron Miller
    Executive Secretary, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
  • I have been fortunate to be able to buy a small four-unit property here in LA, but misguided policies like this initiative threaten my economic security. This initiative does nothing to address our affordable housing crisis in California. It will only make it harder for communities of color, who have been historically excluded from our state’s growth and prosperity, to gain a toehold in the middle class through the dream of homeownership. The initiative takes away the few remaining protections we have, leaving us with no rights.”
    Kimako Desvingnes
    Small rental property owner, member of Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners
  • Expanding rent control will result in higher housing costs, less housing being built, and make it harder for renters to find an affordable place to live. That is why California voters rejected a nearly identical proposal just two years ago, and why businesses throughout the San Fernando Valley oppose this latest flawed rent control initiative. We need to find ways to make housing more affordable. California’s housing market is broken, particularly in the Valley, where demand dramatically outpaces our existing supply of affordable places to live. In the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, this this proposal is the wrong solution to the wrong problem, and would make it even harder to build the affordable housing California desperately needs.”
    Stuart Waldman, Esq.
    President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA)
  • For years, California has failed to build housing we need to meet demand,” notes Pat Sabelhaus, Executive Director, California Council for Affordable Housing

    The result has been a housing crisis that has put affordable housing out of reach for too many Californians. Local restrictions and regulations have created a statewide shortage of affordable housing – a shortage that would only increase under Proposition 21. This initiative would make it harder to build new housing, and drive up rents in cities across California. Proposition 21 will hurt California renters and make it harder for those looking for housing to find a safe, affordable place to live.”

    Pat Sabelhaus
    Executive Director, California Council for Affordable Housing
  • Proposition 21 will make it harder for Californians to access housing—making unnecessary changes to state law a year after the Legislature approved unprecedented renter protections that have only just gone into effect. This measure is a distraction from the real solutions needed to address our state’s housing crisis, including permanent funding for affordable housing and regulatory reforms that make it easier to build the affordable housing our state’s lowest-income residents desperately need. Proposition 21 is not the answer to California's housing problems. It will only make our housing crisis worse.”
    Ray Pearl
    Executive Director, California Housing Consortium
  • Prop 21 provides no protections for seniors and would hurt senior renters and homeowners alike. For those seniors relying on their single-family home for their retirement nest eggs or to help fund their care later in life, Prop 21 pulls the rug out from under them. And for senior renters on fixed incomes, Prop 21 would result in less affordable rental housing options. Seniors should vote No on 21.”
    Gary Passmore
    President, Congress of California Seniors
  • For seniors on Social Security and fixed incomes, Prop. 21 could be devastating. This measure could force thousands of Californians out of their apartments and communities and make it even harder for older residents to find affordable housing.”
    Marilyn Markham
    Board Member, California Senior Advocates League


What is Proposition 21?

Prop 21 is a statewide initiative on the November 3, 2020 ballot. It would repeal portions of the state’s existing rental housing laws (Costa Hawkins) and open the door for extreme forms of rent control to be enacted at the local level. Prop 21 would allow for permanent price caps on all forms of housing, including single family homes and condos. Independent academic experts from Stanford and UC Berkeley agree that policies like those included in Proposition 21 discourage new construction and reduce availability of affordable and middle-class housing, driving up rents for many Californians.

Who is behind Proposition 21?

Proposition 21’s chief backer is Michael Weinstein, who runs the controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) – a billion dollar “non-profit” organization. Weinstein has a long history of misusing AHF funds for his pet political projects, rather than for the organization’s stated goal of helping patients with HIV/AIDS. He has spent millions on efforts to block needed housing developments in LA, opposed union organizing and called renters “transients” that cause neighborhoods to “lose their identity.”

Most recently, Weinstein advanced his anti-housing agenda by funding an aggressive opposition campaign to SB 50 (Wiener), a bill that would have increased housing production near transit. Weinstein spent undisclosed amounts to lobby against the bill, and during the campaign, produced and disseminated racially-charged and controversial mailers targeting Democrat legislators.

Unlike the vast majority of the HIV/AIDs advocacy world, Weinstein has taken controversial stances against the use of PrEP, an HIV preventative medication.

Does California have statewide rent control already?

Yes. Governor Newsom and the Legislature, with the support of numerous stakeholders including affordable housing advocates, labor unions, minority groups, local governments, and others, recently passed some of the strongest statewide rent control and renter protections in the nation. Assembly Bill 1482, which became law on January 1, 2020, ensures renters will not face extreme rent hikes or be unfairly evicted from their homes. The new law also provides stability for property owners, ensuring the rental housing supply is not diminished and that housing continues to be built.

AB 1482 was developed with expert and stakeholder input, which resulted in a balanced, well thought out policy. It caps annual rent increases at 5% plus CPI, exempts single family homes unless they are owned by corporations and contains “just cause” protections for renters so they cannot be unfairly evicted.

On the other hand, Proposition 21 has been put on the ballot by one man with a deep-pocketed organization. Prop 21 would allow for extreme forms of rent control that do not consider the costs property owners incur to maintain their properties. It disregards both the legislative process and the will of voters who defeated a similar measure by 20 points in 2018.

Didn’t voters just vote on this same Proposition in 2018?

This is the second attempt by Weinstein to pass an initiative that would allow for extreme forms of rent control to be enacted at the local level. His latest initiative - Proposition 21 - is virtually identical to Proposition 10, which was defeated by voters by a nearly 20-point margin in 2018. Despite his claims to the contrary, Prop 21 is fraught with the same flaws as Prop 10.

Are single family homes exempt?

No, Proposition 21 would allow for extreme forms of rent control to be applied to single family homes and condos. Anyone who holds title for their home in a family trust, a partnership, or the like would be subject to permanent price caps when renting their home. Roughly one-third of all homes are held in a trust. Additionally, anyone with more than two single family homes would be subject to rent control under Prop 21.

Would Proposition 21 allow for a 15 percent increase in rent in the first year?

Yes. Proposition 21 contains a poorly-written provision that would allow for a 15-percent increase in rent during the first year of tenancy.

Won’t Proposition 21 also reduce the rental housing stock over time by imposing permanent price caps on rental housing?

Proposition 21 is the worst of both scenarios. It allows for a 15 percent increase in the first year of tenancy, which is more than many tenants can pay. But, it also allows for a form of permanent price caps, which encourages owners to leave the rental market all together and discourages investments in new rental housing. Both of these scenarios make the housing crisis worse.

Prop 21 authorizes extreme forms of rent control that prohibit owners from adjusting the rent to the market rate when there are new tenants, and allows for only a 15 percent adjustment above the previous tenants’ rent. It doesn’t matter how long the previous tenants lived in the unit or if the local government had capped rents on previous tenants to below the price of inflation, which some local governments now do. Policies like Proposition 21 have been found by independent experts to discourage new construction and reduce availability of affordable and middle-class housing, driving up rents for many Californians.

We have a statewide rent control law on the books that protects renters, but avoids the pitfalls of Prop 21.

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Paid for by No on Prop 21: Californians for Responsible Housing, a coalition of seniors, veterans, affordable housing advocates, labor & social justice organizations, sponsored by California Apartment Association. Committee Major Funding from Essex Property Trust and Affiliated Entities; Equity Residential; and AvalonBay Communities.
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