Frequently Asked Questions
Won’t The Initiative Keep Rent Low?
Not necessarily. Only a limited portion of rental housing is covered and prices for rentals beyond controlled rentals would increase. The very first renter seeking a new rental, after the initiative, will face climbing prices as vacant rentals can be priced to a new, higher market rate. Overtime, only a shrinking number of rentals will remain below market rent and a smaller number of those will actually become available.
· In Berkeley, with rent control, median rental prices increased from $350 in 1990, to $1150 median rent. Prices tripled even with rent control.
How Will This Affect the Availability of Housing in Santa Cruz?
It will be 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.
· In rent controlled Santa Monica, 25% of rental units were withdrawn.
· In rent controlled San Francisco 30% of rent controlled renters lost their rentals to gentrification.
How Will the Initiative Affect Neighborhoods in Santa Cruz?
The initiative makes it difficult for housing providers to choose who lives in rentals as it removes subleasing controls. Together, both renters and homeowners will be affected. Housing providers and housemates won’t be able to take significant action to manage problems like extra-large households, unruly housemates, too many cars, disabled vehicles, refuse or disturbances such as fraternities or excessive noise. Neighborhoods will be less safe and peaceful. Today, leases and sub-leases are used to manage who remains in properties. With the initiative, renters can stay indefinitely, even after a lease ends. This tool to manage property will be gone.
What Does This Mean for 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 tens of thousands of dollars to relocate renters, when you return. You will lose flexibility to rent in case of a job transfer, required family care, travel or other move. Your neighborhood will deteriorate.
As a Student I Want Lower Rent, Won’t this Help Me?
Some students, living in apartments on the day the initiative passes, will benefit from limited rent increases. Students living in houses will still find that rent increases up to 10% a year. 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 existing renters will be less likely to move out. Most students will find it more difficult and more expensive to find future off campus housing.
Won’t the Initiative Make It Affordable for My Kids, Family, Friends or Coworkers to Live Here in the Future?
If your kids, family, friends or coworkers are not renting a price-controlled apartment at the time initiative goes into effect, they will still face higher prices later, fewer available rentals, and it will be less likely they can stay in Santa Cruz.
I’m Over Age 50, How Will This Impact Me?
The initiative 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.
What Does This Mean for ADU Owners or Those Planning an ADU?
With the initiative, ADUs are subject to both rent control and eviction laws. The initiative prevents asking renters to move at the end of a lease agreement. Rental agreements can no longer prohibit subleases. As a result, owners will not be able to manage who is in their unit, nor for how long, in their own backyard. This will become a nightmare if an incompatible or disorderly renter moves in.
Does this Change How Many People Can Live in Neighboring Properties?
Yes! Housing Providers lose the ability to limit the number of renters below the California maximum for the house which is currently two people per bedroom + one (although the State California Fair Housing Council was working on a proposal to double that). 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.