Frequently Asked Questions

How Will These Ordinances Affect the Affordable Housing Shortage?

They will make the shortage worse.  It will be much harder to find a place to live. Fewer rentals will be available because people will stay in apartments longer and many housing providers will withdraw rental units because new restrictions are too onerous.

How Will The New Ordinances Affect Neighborhoods in Santa Cruz?

Together, both renters and homeowners will be affected.  The Just Cause For Tenant Evictions ordinance make it difficult for housing providers to choose who lives in rentals as it severely limits subleasing controls.  Families of renters can move in other family members without provider permission, up to one person per 50 square feet.  Housing providers and housemates won’t be able to take significant action to manage problems like extra-large households and too many cars.  Neighborhoods will be less safe and peaceful.  Today, leases and sub-leases are used to manage who remains in properties. With the new ordinance renters can stay indefinitely, even after a lease ends. This tool to manage property will be gone.

How Do They Affect Homeowners?

Single-family homeowners lose property rights. For example, you will no longer be able to lease your home for more than one year, without paying two-months rent in relocation fees, when you return. After a year you may not be able to move back in at all without a costly and complicated legal process including a full year notice and that prevents your house from being a rental again for ten years.  You will lose flexibility to rent in case of a job transfer, required family care, travel or other move. 

Will They Help Students or Lower Student Rents?

No.  Students living in houses will still find that rent increases.  There will fewer rental houses available, since many property owners, that don’t like these new laws, will sell their rental houses to homeowners. And housing providers are being incentivized to increase rent to save for excessive relocation fees and penalties.  Most students will find it more difficult and more expensive to find future off campus housing.  Some may be unable to find rentals in the City of Santa Cruz and instead need to commute from other cities.

Will They Make It Affordable for My Kids, Family, Friends or Coworkers to Live Here in the Future?

No.  Unless your kids, family, friends or coworkers are renting their house or apartment at the time measure goes into effect, they will still face fewer available rentals, higher prices, and it will be less likely they can stay in Santa Cruz. 

Does They Hurt Those Over 50 Years Old?

Yes.  Measure M intends to help people over 62 or disabled by making it very costly and difficult to evict them. The unfortunate side effect will be for future renters that are middle-aged or older, who will find it challenging to compete for housing, since there will be a disincentive to rent to older people.

Do the new ordinances apply to  ADUs, Duplexes or Triplexes?

Not if the owner lives on the property. 

Does They Change How Many People Can Live in Neighboring Properties?

Yes!  Housing Providers lose the ability to use a rental agreement to limit the number of renters below the federal maximum for the house.  Which is that each dwelling must have at least one room measuring at least 120 square feet; and all other habitable rooms excluding kitchens must be at least 70 square feet. The size determines the maximum occupancy rate. Two people can occupy a minimum-sized dwelling. For each additional occupant, the minimum must increase by 50 square feet.   This means the limit for an average three bedroom house is around 16 people.  Sublets become more difficult or impossible to control. Also because less housing is available, more renters will tend to crowd up and share bedrooms. Together, everyone will experience this impact.