Proposition 10, a ballot measure to expand rent control in California, was decisively rejected by voters Tuesday in a victory for the state’s landlords who spent millions to defeat it. The campaign was one of the most expensive initiative battles in California history with more than $104 million in total fundraising. With Prop 10’s failure, a statewide ban on most new forms of rent control remains in effect.
The losing side pitched to voters that, as housing purchase prices continue to outpace affordability, 9.5 million renters—more than half of California’s tenant population—are burdened by high rents, spending at least 30% of their income on housing. Had the initiative passed, local governments would have been free to add new restrictions on rents, something Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Berkeley, and other cities were considering.
Despite Proposition 10’s defeat, rent control is likely to remain in the spotlight. Residents in Sacramento, the state’s sixth-largest city, have qualified a 2020 initiative that would implement rent controls on the city’s older apartment buildings. Democrat Gavin Newsom, who was elected governor on Tuesday, opposed Proposition 10, but has said the state “should have stronger protections for tenants.”