The New Rent Control Wars, by Randy Shaw

Everything old is new again:

“Long associated with New York City, rent control moved west in the 1970’s. The precipitating force in California was the 1978 campaign for Prop 13 in which landlords pledged to return their property tax savings to tenants if the initiative passed. But that did not happen. This led Berkeley, San Francisco and other cities to put measures on the November 1978 ballot to require landlords to return their Prop 13 savings. The results were mixed, but a new tenants movement was born.”

“I got my own start in tenant activism with Berkeley’s 1978 Prop I, which required landlords to return 80% of their Prop 13 savings to tenants. Its victory that November was soon followed by Berkeley voters approving a strong rent control and eviction law. San Francisco, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, East Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Oakland also passed rent control laws of varying strength.”

“Real estate interests responded to these local rent control victories with a sustained campaign to get the state legislature to preempt city laws that restricted rent increases on vacant apartments (known as vacancy control). They finally prevailed in 1995.  Although California now prohibits price restrictions on vacant units, rent control and just cause eviction laws continue to protect tenants in place.”

Read the rest here:

http://www.beyondchron.org/the-new-rent-control-wars/

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