News

Santa Monica City Council Backs Prop 10 to End Sky-High Rents

Aug 16, 2018

On August 14, the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to endorse Proposition 10. The statewide ballot measure will allow communities to urgently address California’s housing-affordability and homeless crises by limiting rent increases. 

“Last night’s vote of the Santa Monica City Council supporting Proposition 10 and the repeal of Costa-Hawkins further reinforces our city’s commitment to strengthening rent control. Higher rents are increasing homelessness and creating more households that simply cannot afford housing,” stated Santa Monica City Councilmember Sue Himmelrich.

According to Santa Monica’s City Rent Control Agency’s 2017 annual report, rents in Santa Monica have skyrocketed since the anti-rent control Costa-Hawkins act was passed in 1995. Before Costa-Hawkins was enacted, teachers, nurses, seniors and working-class families could afford to live in Santa Monica. A one-bedroom unit rented for $900 and a three-bedroom rented for $1,460. After Costa-Hawkins, rents grossly jump to $1,907 for a one-bedroom unit and over $3,200 for a three bedroom.

According to the report, prior to Costa-Hawkins’ passage, rents for 83 percent of units were affordable to working class families. Today, less than 4% of rent-controlled units can be considered affordable to a family of 4 that earns $65,000.  And, since Costa-Hawkins was enacted, the city went from 10% market rate housing to over 67% market rate. These rates are unsustainable and fueling the housing-affordability and homeless crises. 

Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown said, “Even with the strongest rent control law in the state, Santa Monica has seen housing affordability undermined by twenty years of sudden jumps to market-rate rents under Costa-Hawkins. Our vote to support Proposition 10 is a vote for working families, students, fixed-income seniors, and everyone else whom Costa-Hawkins has been pricing out of Santa Monica.”

Santa Monica, like the rest of California, is trapped in a cycle of corporate greed as Wall Street speculators profit. Even worse, corporate landlords Blackstone Group, led by CEO Stephen Schwarzman, and Equity Residential, founded by Sam Zell, are funding the opposition campaign. Wall Street companies have played a major role in creating the nation’s worst housing-affordability and homeless crises — and are opposed to the Prop 10 effort to address them.

Prop 10 would close the current loophole in California rent control laws that allow rent increases to skyrocket in cities like Santa Monica. Without rent control, corporate landlords and big real estate will continue the rent gouging that is pushing people out of their homes and communities. Passing Prop 10 will allow local governments to establish strong rent control that would address the nation’s worst housing affordability and homeless crises. In the 2018 homeless count, Santa Monica saw a 4% increase in homelessness, according to LA Homeless Service Authority.

Lead Strategist Joe Trippi of Yes on 10, said, “Thank you Santa Monica City Council for taking bold action by endorsing Prop 10, an issue which will bring parity to renters struggling to afford a place to live in a community known for fair and democratic action. Returning power to local communities by passing Prop 10 is the right thing to do. Plainly speaking, the rent is too damn high.”

The city of Santa Monica joins a large and growing coalition of labor, housing advocacy, community, and civil rights organizations who support Proposition 10, including the Cities of West Hollywood and Oakland: www.VoteYesOnProp10.org/endorsements

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