Proposition 21: Local rent control initiative

Replaces housing act that dates back to 1995

Proposition 21

Gabriel Schneider

Prop. 21 addresses rent control throughout the state. Graphic by Gabriel Schneider

The gist

Proposition 21 would replace the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that has been in effect since 1995. Costa-Hawkins has allowed local governments to use rent control on housing that was occupied first after Feb. 1, 1995, and units with distinct titles, like townhouses, condos and single-family homes.

If this ballot measure passes, it would allow local governments to use rent control on housing units, except for housing that was first occupied within the past 15 years, and units that are owned by people who own no more than two housing units.

The fiscal impact is that there is a potential reduction in state and local revenues within the high tens of millions of dollars annually over time.

What the media is saying

Prop. 21: Does expanding rent control make sense in a COVID recession, Los Angeles Times (Article)
You Decide in 60 Seconds: Prop 21, 23ABC NEWS BAKERSFIELD (Video)
 Skelton: Prop. 21 isn’t the answer to California’s housing crisis, The Mercury News (Article)


• Senator Bernie Sanders
• U.S. Representative Maxine Waters
• Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers
• California Nurses Association
• National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
• Democratic Socialist of America, Los Angeles
• Eviction Defense Network


• California Governor Gavin Newsom
• Equity Residential, Essex Property Trust, Inc.
• California Council for Affordable Housing
• AMVETS, Department of California
• California Chamber of Commerce
• California Taxpayers Association
• American Legion, Department of California

For more information about Prop 21, go to