Prop 21: Local Governments and Rent Control


Albertine Combs

Prop 21 is an initiative to expand rent control in California.

Albertine Combs, Page Editor


As the 2020 presidential election is approaching, California voters are asked to decide whether Prop 21 needs to be passed or not. 

Prop 21 essentially proposes to expand local governments authority to enact rent control on residential property that is older than 15 years old; this bill exempts those who own 2 or fewer units. It would also undo bans for rent control on single-family homes.

This bill will determine exactly how much the new rent can be. If this bill were to be passed, rent cannot be over 15% more of what residential property owners charged before the tenant moved out or was evicted. 

During the 2018 midterm elections, voters said ‘no’ to Prop 10, a similar bill that would expand rent control in California. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, also known as AB-1482. This assembly bill emplaced a rent cap into law where rent can only go up by 5%, plus inflation per year. This applies to most rentals in California for the next decade. 


Prop 21 can potentially keep families in their homes and decrease homelessness, especially in this COVID-19 era where unemployment rates in California are at an all time high.

“Rent in the Bay is still too much. I’m hoping the bill will help curve it a bit,” said Tony Dai, an Amador parent and renter. 

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders supports the bill saying that it will protect families, seniors, and veterans from skyrocketing rent.


Many fear that this proposition will make California’s housing crisis even worse. New rent control laws can potentially lead to a shortage of rental housing. Some also say that it undermines the nation’s strongest rent control measures, AB-1482. 

“Rent control mostly benefits short term residents like the people who are there right now or in the next few years, but in the long term, land owners would be making less profit so the supply of (rental) housing would decrease,” said freshman in college and former Amador student Derica Su.

Governor Gavin Newsom is against Prop 21, saying that it discourages affordable housing units in California.