Rent Control Redux: CA Voters Will Weigh in on Costa-Hawkins Act Next Year

California voters will get another chance to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act next year. The Secretary of State announced last week that organizers have gathered enough signatures to get a repeal measure on the November 2024 ballot.

The 28-year-old law prohibits cities and counties from enacting rent control on apartments or single-family homes built on or after February of 1995.

Proponents of repeal say restrictions on rent control have contributed to sky-high leasing costs in California. The measure’s opponents argue that rent caps lead to greater housing scarcity and would only exacerbate the current crisis.

This is the third time in five years that voters will be asked to weigh in on Costa-Hawkins. Similar ballot measures were overwhelmingly defeated in 2018 and 2020.

Officials with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is backing the measure, believe they have a better chance of success this time.

“The main reason why we have a better chance now is that the situation has gotten so extreme,” the foundation’s president Michael Weinstein told the Los Angeles Times. “Rates of homelessness are going up. Where are people going to live? The population of California is shrinking, and the California dream is dying.”