The Beverly Hills City Council will decide whether to take a position on Proposition 10, the latest ballot measure to spark debate over housing and affordability throughout the state, at its Sept. 17 study session.
Proposition 10, the Local Rent Control Initiative, will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. If passed, local governments will be able to adopt rent control measures for properties that can’t be subject to rent control due to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Costa-Hawkins prohibits local governments from placing rent control on housing that was first occupied after February 1995.
“Whether you support rent control or not, local government should be making decisions and not the state,” Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold said.
The mayor added that he’s not sure what the council will decide.
The two council members comprising the Legislative/Lobby Committee had differing views on the ballot measure during an Aug. 6 meeting. Vice Mayor John Mirisch said he supports Proposition 10, and Councilman Les Friedman, with concerns about its application to single-family housing and condominiums, said he does not support the proposition if it includes those two types of housing.
In Beverly Hills, only 11 properties with multifamily housing have been built since Costa-Hawkins took effect.
Gold said he doesn’t expect Proposition 10, if it’s approved by voters, to have any implications for the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which landlords and tenants have been debating for more than one year. Gold said he’s hopes the ordinance is completed by the end of the year.
Last year, the City Council approved an urgency ordinance that limited rent increases to 3 percent (since raised to 4.1 percent), made no-cause evictions reviewable by the city and established a rental registry. The city has been working with both sides to develop long-term provisions ever since. The city hired Sukhsimranjit Singh, an assistant professor at Pepperdine University, last summer to host a series of mediation sessions between tenants and landlords. He’s hosted two additional sessions this year, with a final one scheduled for Sept. 16.
According to a city staff report, the fiscal impact Proposition 10 would have on the city is unknown.
“Staff anticipates there may be a minimal decrease in potential business tax revenue as a majority of the multifamily properties in the city are already affected by the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance,” Cynthia Owens, a senior management analyst for the city, said in the report. “The fee for enrolling units in the program may need to be adjusted as the fee is to cost recover the services provided by the city.”
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is one of the proponents of Proposition 10. The group also provided financial backing for Measure S, an unsuccessful March 2017 ballot measure that would have placed restrictions on new development. Opponents of Proposition 10 have been saying that repealing Costa-Hawkins would disincentivize new development at a time when the state needs more housing to drive down rents.
Last month, AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced a $10 million contribution it made to the Yes on 10 campaign, adding to a previous contribution of $2.5 million. According to the California secretary of state’s office, more than $20 million in contributions have been made in opposition to Proposition 10 through Aug. 1.
“AHF is proud to announce this campaign contribution to the Yes on 10 campaign, a move in keeping with our overall philosophy to ‘Prevent, Preserve and Produce’ when it comes to addressing the affordable and homeless housing crises roiling California and the nation,” Michael Weinstein, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “We know we will be significantly outspent by the opposition, backed by deep-pocketed developers and investors who continue to wreak havoc in the housing markets. The greed of these billionaire corporate landlords is causing widescale misery for millions of Californians, and the scourge of homelessness will get much worse because the rent is too damned high. The California dream is dying, and only the voters can save it in November.”
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