San Diego

Property Owners, Renters Don't See Eye to Eye on Proposition 10

The rights of property owners versus the struggles of renters -- the two are set to collide on the November ballot in the form of Proposition 10.

Renters like Ignacio Hernandez, a National City resident and Prop 10 backer, are struggling to keep up and worry rent will eventually creep so high it will drive him and his family out.

"This past summer, we got another rent increase, probably the third one in past two years,” Hernandez said.

"If we don't do anything right now, this November 6th by voting yes on Prop 10, we aren’t going to see a change. Everything will continue, rents continue to increase, families will be displaced.”

If passed, Prop 10 would repeal the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a law that restricts the types of rent control policies cities can impose.

But not everyone agrees that rent control is a bad thing.

“So it strips away your private property rights, everything we work hard for, and people have spent decades paying off their house just to have someone else tell them what they can rent it for,” real estate broker Mark Powell said.

Hernandez argues that the proposition doesn’t create any strict policy, and only allows cities the freedom to implement rent control policies if they feel they need to.

To make an example of LA, where apartment units built before 1978 are subject to rent control, the yearly rent increases are capped at 3 to 8 percent.

Opponents and supporters also disagree on the proposition’s impact California's housing crisis. Those against say it will be a disastrous blow to long-term inventory.

"It's really hard to build affordable housing right now as it is,” Powell said. “If you impose rent control, these developers will look at other places, other states, where they can build their homes that pencil out.”

Powell believes landlords getting less rent revenue will be less inclined to fix up properties which could impact property values for their neighbors.

"They may not do things like have nice lawns, they may not paint the exterior of the house, make it look nice, so some of those issues may be deferred cause they don't have the money due to this restriction on what they can charge for rent,” he said.

Hernandez thinks Prop 10 actually has the power strengthen communities.

"It’s going to keep families in their homes, create more of a community within a city making the value of homes go up and also ensuring we know our neighbors and who they are,” he said.

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