California voters on Tuesday rejected a controversial ballot measure known as Proposition 10 that would have expanded local government authority to enact rent-control laws on residential property, according to an NBC News projection.
Opponents of Proposition 10 claimed that the measure would worsen the state's chronic housing crisis and lead to more than 500 local rental boards setting just how much homeowners could charge to rent out their home.
More than $100 million was spent on the fight over Proposition 10, with opponents spending more than $76 million and backers shelling out about $26.2 million, according to state campaign finance records. The real estate industry, including major landlords operating in California, led the fight against the measure by donating significant amounts of money.
A PAC affiliated with the California Association of Realtors contributed about $8 million to fight the ballot measure while more than $5 million apiece came from New York-based real estate private equity firm Blackstone Property Partners, Chicago-based apartment real estate investment trust Equity Residential, and Essex Property Trust, a California-based real estate investment trust.
The proponents of Proposition 10 received most of their money from Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a nonprofit organization which donated about $23.2 million. Michael Weinstein, president of the foundation, helped lead the effort to get the voter measure on the November ballot.
The ballot measure sought to repeal California's Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law enacted in 1995 that weakened municipal rent control ordinances. The law specifically applied to rental control on single-family homes as well as on all housing built after Feb. 1, 1995.
California's renters typically pay 50 percent more for housing than renters living in other states, according to an analysis by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. It also found that rents in some parts of the state are more than double the national average.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the liberal Vermont independent and a potential 2020 presidential candidate, supported the ballot measure. He argued that local governments should have the right to set rents to ease the affordable housing crunch and protect tenants against huge rent increases.