Essay: Sacramento’s rent control initiative is proven, effective and essential
By Anthony Lew, Terry Schanz and Katie Valenzuela
On Nov. 3, Sacramento has a decision to make: Do we want to become an exclusionary city where working class people can’t afford to live? Or do we want to keep our doors open to the diversity of residents that make this city great?
Right now, our doors are closing. Measure C can help.
Too many Sacramentans pay far more than they can afford on rent. Our rents—some of the fastest rising in the nation—have been skyrocketing for years. The average Sacramento household needs to earn about 14% more each year to afford rent for an average home. There’s no question about it: Our rental housing system is broken.
Working families, students and people on fixed incomes need real relief from high housing costs—not just lip service—and they need it now. A strong cap on rent increases and protection from evictions without just cause would provide that relief, and do so with public oversight and accountability.
Measure C would quickly enact these proven, effective policies that have been implemented in at least 19 other California cities. Measure C is fair, straightforward and based on laws that have worked for 40 years in cities across California.
Measure C does the following:
- Limits rent increases to an amount based on the consumer price index, but not to exceed 5% annually.
- Bans unjust evictions by requiring reasonable cause to evict tenants. These protections start immediately and include those who rent single-family homes.
- Creates a democratically elected rent board to fairly and efficiently oversee the system. Contrary to opponents’ false assertions, the board positions are unpaid.
High housing costs continue to force the city’s most vulnerable working class families out of their homes, and the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put even more Sacramentans at risk of eviction and displacement.
Meanwhile, corporate landlord speculators and greedy developers will spend more than $1 million to defeat Measure C and maintain a broken system. It’s time for real change—change that brings equity and fairness to Sacramento’s neighborhoods. It’s time for Measure C.
Corporate landlords and their friends on the City Council claim Measure C will hurt housing production, despite no evidence of this happening in cities where rent control exists. In fact, the cities with the most housing production in the state also have rent control. They say Measure C’s rent board will create more red tape and bureaucracy, instead of acknowledging that rent boards reduce resolution times by creating a fair, objective space to administer the law and settle disputes. They say Measure C lacks public oversight or accountability to taxpayers. But under Measure C, the elected rent board’s business and budget process will be conducted with full transparency, and subject to public hearings and votes, just like the City Council.
Don’t fall for the lies. Landlords and developers oppose Measure C for one reason: It threatens their ability to make unlimited profits on the backs of struggling renters in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in memory.
Measure C is powered by a people-led coalition of renters, small landlords, nurses, unions, school workers, elected leaders and community organizers fighting for a stronger Sacramento. We have witnessed the devastating toll unchecked rental increases have taken on our city. Our community needs your vote.
We ask you to vote “yes” on Measure C, and join us in fighting for the change our renters so urgently need and deserve.