With rising housing costs remaining a priority concern for the region, affordable housing had a major presence on Bay Area ballots this November. As detailed below, voters in three municipalities and three counties across the Bay Area passed measures to increase affordable housing funding for low and moderate-income households. Taken together, these measures will yield about $2 billion in new housing funds.
Rent control measures were a mixed bag. Overall, six municipalities passed rent control legislation, with the protections ranging from modest to ambitious. Voters in the City of Alameda, for instance, chose between two competing rent control proposals and rejected strong renter protections in favor of more modest rent controls. Mountain View’s voters, by contrast, also chose between two vying rent control proposals and narrowly approved the more ambitious rent control and eviction protections. Burlingame’s lone rent control measure was rejected, Richmond passed its first regulation governing annual rent increases, and Berkeley and Oakland, unsurprisingly, expanded their existing protections.
Here’s the roundup from the Bay Area (and just the San Francisco measures here):
Approved Affordable Housing Measures
Seventy two percent of Alameda County voters approved Measure A1, authorizing a $580 million housing bond to construct 8,500 units of affordable rental housing, provide housing services for homeless people, and deliver home-buying assistance to low and moderate-income home buyers.
Santa Clara County
With 67 percent approval, county voters narrowly approved Measure A, which required two-thirds approval to pass. The measure provides a bond that allows the County to borrow up to $950 million to construct and maintain roughly 5,000 affordable housing units.
San Mateo County
Seventy percent of voters approved Measure K, extending a half-cent sales tax for 20 years. The tax is anticipated to generate $85 million annually and will fund infrastructure upgrades and affordable housing for families, veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Eighty three percent of voters passed Measure Z1, an unopposed measure authorizing the city to construct 500 new affordable units.
Eighty two percent of voters approved Measure KK, a $600 million infrastructure bond that includes $100 million for affordable housing.
Sixty eight percent of voters approved Prop C, which allows the City to use the remaining $261 million from a 1992 general obligation fund for seismic upgrades to rehabilitate multi-unit buildings and convert them to affordable housing.
Approved Rent Control Measures
Seventy two percent of voters approved Measure AA, which increases a landlord’s payment to a tenant in an owner move-in eviction from $4,500 to $15,000 (and up to $20,000 for low-income households, disabled people, the elderly, families with minor children, or tenancies that began before 1999). The measure also requires the new $15,000 payment for any owner move-in eviction. Previously, only low-income tenants were eligible for an owner move-in eviction payment. The measure also prohibits owner move-in evictions of families with school-age children during the school year.
With seventy four percent approval, Measure JJ expanded Oakland’s just-cause eviction requirements from residential units rented before October 14, 1980 to those approved for occupancy before December 31, 1995. It also requires landlords to request approval from the City to increase rent by more than the City-established cost-of-living adjustment.
City of Alameda
Fifty five percent of voters approved Measure L1, which requires the City’s Rent Review Advisory Committee to mediate disputed rent increases of more than 5 percent, but does not cap annual rent increases. It also limits the justifications for evicting a tenant, and in some circumstances, requires the landlord to pay relocation fees. These measures were not as far-reaching as those proposed in Measure M1, the City’s other, competing rent control measure on the ballot (discussed below).
East Palo Alto
Nearly eighty percent of voters approved Measure J, which clarifies provisions from the City’s 2010 Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Notably, the measure clarifies the definition and calculation of “maximum allowable rent,” limits annual rent increases to 80% of increases in the CPI, enhances informational notice requirements, and permits evictions for demonstrated nuisances or hazards.
Voters narrowly approved Measure V, a citizen initiative that won with fifty one percent support and which provided clearer rent controls and tenant eviction protections as compared to Measure W, the competing rent control measure proposed by the City Council (discussed below). Measure V caps annual rent increases at 5 percent, and landlords cannot increase rent by more than the annual percentage increase in CPI. The measure also enumerates the requirements for just cause evictions; and unlike Measure W (discussed below), does not permit exemptions from just-cause eviction requirements for landlords who pay prescribed relocation payments.
Sixty four percent of voters approved Measure L, an initiative that established a maximum allowable rent in Richmond for the first time. The measure establishes a maximum allowable rent based on the rent in effect in July 2015 and caps annual rent increases according to annual increases in the CPI. The measure also enumerated the requirements for just-cause evictions.
Rejected Rent Control Measures
Sixty seven percent of voters rejected Measure R, an initiative to set annual rent increases to an amount equal to the CPI, and not to exceed 4 percent a year for most multi-family rental units with certificates of occupancy before February 1, 1995. The initiative would have also established just-cause eviction restrictions for most rental units, and created a commission to set fees and implement the ordinance.
City of San Mateo
Sixty one percent of voters rejected Measure Q, which would have amended the City’s charter to permit rent regulations and just-cause eviction requirements for units with a certificate of occupancy from before February 1995. Presently, residential landlords may charge any rent they wish and, with proper notice, remove a tenant without establishing just cause. The measure would have also created a Rental Housing Commission to implement the new regulations.
In contrast to Measure V, 51 percent of voters rejected Measure W, which the City Council proposed. The measure would have amended the City’s rent program by requiring binding arbitration for disputed annual rent increases over 5 percent in most multi-family units occupied before February 1995, but it would not have set a fixed cap on annual rent increases. Although the measure would have also established just-cause eviction requirements, landlords would be exempted from these requirements if they complied with the City’s Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance.
City of Alameda
Sixty six percent of voters rejected Measure M1, a proposed City Charter amendment to limit annual rent increases to 65 percent of the CPI, create an elected Rent Control Board to impose fees and assess penalties, limit reasons for terminating tenancies, and require landlords to pay relocation fees to tenants in certain circumstances. Measure M1’s rent control provisions were stronger than Measure L1‘s, the competing rent control proposal that passed with 55 percent approval.