LOS ANGELES — UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles and University of Southern California – three top California universities – released research which found that limiting skyrocketing rent increases will help stabilize California’s broken housing market.
Each report studied the immediate need and value of allowing communities to implement rent control policies to address their own local housing situations, a central tenet of Proposition 10. The independent analyses from leading housing, urban planning and economic experts each note that rent stabilization policies, which Prop 10 will empower communities to enact upon its passage, are a key step to solving California’s housing affordability and homelessness crises.
University of Southern California Professor Manuel Pastor, co-author of the USC Dornsife’s Rent Matters report, said: “The housing crisis requires a range of strategies, [and] moderate rent regulation is a useful tool to be nested in broader strategy. It has fewer damaging effects than are often imagined, it can address economic pain, and it can promote housing stability. And housing stability matters because it is associated with physical, social, and psychological well-being; higher educational achievement by the young; and benefits for people of color.”
The USC study recommends the need for rent stabilization, emphasizing that such policies do not increase the rent of non-regulated units, do not impact the construction of new housing and help keep rents more affordable for all.
This fall, the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley also found that rent control policies are critically important tools to stabilizing California’s housing market. Dr. Stephen Barton, a former housing director for the City of Berkeley and co-author of the research brief, noted: “When the housing market is as dysfunctional as it is in many parts of California, tenants are effectively subsidizing landlords with rent payments above what a fully competitive market would allow landlords to charge.”
The Luskin Center at UCLA also studied the history of rent control in Los Angeles, diving into the connection between the city’s current affordability challenges and unprecedented homeless crisis. Drawing on history, the report looks at housing affordability and compares today’s crisis to the rent increases of the 1970s, noting that then, people had “something to fall back on – job skills, small savings, or investments.” Today, wages are not keeping pace with rent increases, and the hardest hit are low-income renters who have no safety net and often end up on the streets. The UCLA report concludes that California must “[take] action to ensure the availability and affordability of rental housing for all income levels… and [allow] local governments to reassert themselves in stabilizing rents.”
Further, UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project asserts that extreme rent hikes continually pose a serious threat of eviction and displacement to Bay Area residents. The policy report also outlines how local lawmakers would be able to implement thoughtful housing policy that would allow for new construction while limiting rent increases when Proposition 10 passes.
Contrary to the No on 10 campaign’s deceitful claims, top academics find that rent control would help bring needed relief to millions of Californians. California’s housing crisis is not sustainable as millions of Californians are rent-burdened and many pay over half of their monthly income on housing costs alone. Statewide, between 2000 and 2016, alone, rents have gone up 85 percent while incomes have failed to keep up.
Proposition 10 will directly address this challenge and help keep California residents in their homes and communities. When we empower cities and counties to rein in skyrocketing housing costs, the people who are the very foundation of our communities — our teachers, nurses, firefighters — can afford to stay and live in the neighborhoods they serve.
That’s why Prop 10 is endorsed by more than 500 trusted community leaders and organizations. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the California Democratic Party, League of Women Voters, SEIU, and hundreds of others have pointed out how Prop 10 can help confront California’s high rate of homelessness and affordability crisis.
Reining in rents will boost local economies, cut down on traffic congestion due to long commutes, reduce car emissions, strengthen kids’ chance at success, and ultimately, make our communities more viable where all can thrive.