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In 1995, the Costa Hawkins Law was passed to limit rent control in California. This caused rent to soar throughout California and create the current housing crisis.

The Costa Hawkins Law has wreaked havoc upon the lives of many Californian renters for over twenty years. However, a measure on the November 2018 ballot could change this by repealing the law and allowing cities to instate rent control once again. In this column, I will explain the importance of rent control and how Californians can win it back.

The Costa Hawkins Law causes rent to hike as well as preventing cities from passing vacancy control. Vacancy control stops landlords from increasing a unit’s rent between tenants. Because of the Costa Hawkins Law, statewide rents are unreasonably high. The resulting housing crisis forced many tenants onto the street or into overcrowded living conditions.

Luckily, an initiative on the November 2018 ballot to repeal Costa Hawkins (known as Proposition 10, the Local Rent Control Initiative) could reinstate the right of cities to control rent to protect tenants, potentially benefiting renters statewide.

Rent control has a number of benefits:

  • Decreases poverty rates
  • Prevents displacement, keeping communities stable and diverse
  • Mandates that landlords must have “just cause” to evict a resident
  • Encourages families to settle in units for the long term
  • Prevents price-gouging, which allows landlords to raise rent by more than 10% after only a short waiting period
  • What to Do

    Californians should ensure that they are registered to vote in the upcoming election, which will be held on Tuesday, November 6. Registration can be completed at More information about voting can be found at

    The fight for rent control does not end with voting, though. If Prop 10 passes, renters should still make an effort to become involved in their local government and campaign for rent control, because it is ultimately up to their local municipality to decide to reinstate rent control.

    Since 1995, attorney Eric Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and assert their rights. For more information about your rights, call (213)-388-6004 or visit his website at The information presented in this column is for educational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney regarding your individual situation.