Proposition 10, sweeping rent control measure, is soundly defeated

Real estate parties heavily financed $75M campaign against the measure

Californians rejected Proposition 10 on Tuesday (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)
Californians rejected Proposition 10 on Tuesday (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

UPDATED, Nov. 7, 2018, 10 a.m.: Californians soundly voted down Proposition 10 on Tuesday, a victory for California’s real estate investors and a major blow to rent control advocates around the state.

If it had passed, Prop 10 would have repealed a state law barring new rent control measures in California, allowing local governments to pass broad new rent control laws. With 97 percent of precincts counted, the measure had only 38 percent of votes in favor. It needed more than 50 percent “Yes” votes to pass.

Late Tuesday, the California Rental Housing Association issued a statement declaring the defeat of the proposition.

“Tonight demonstrates that voters want a real solution to our affordable housing crisis by soundly rejecting Proposition 10’s ill-conceived rent control initiative,” the association said. “This is not the end of the conversation but just the beginning.”

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The results concluded a campaign in which supporters and opponents of the measure collectively spent $102 million to win over voters. The real estate industry — from its largest developers, like Essex Property Trust and Geoff Palmer, to scores of individual agents — contributed the bulk of the $76 million donated to defeat the measure.

Advocates of rent control argued that new measures would help preserve  much-needed affordable housing around the state and alleviate the pressure from rent hikes on tenants.

Opponents said it would have the opposite effect, arguing that allowing new construction units to be regulated would discourage development and tighten the housing market even further. An anti-Prop 10 television campaign that played on local TV stations and streaming sites like Hulu listed “10 reasons to vote no on Prop 10” with the catchphrase, “It makes a bad problem worse.”

Some tenant advocate groups in Los Angeles accused landlords of pressuring tenants to vote against the measure by holding rent increases over their heads.

The Yes on Prop 10 campaign was sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which contributed $20 million of the $25 million spent in support of the measure. Support for the measure steadily shrank in the months and weeks leading up to Tuesday.