From the Field: California Advocates Release Expanded Toolkit for Rent Control Campaigns

Expanded organizing tools and materials are now available to community advocates working to implement local rent-control policies to forestall rapidly escalating housing costs in California. Tenants Together, a statewide renters’ rights education and advocacy organization, released Communities Thrive with Rent Control, on January 22. This is the second and significantly expanded edition of the toolkit. 

The toolkit details the positive impacts of rent control in preventing displacement, stabilizing communities, and contributing to family success. A review of key features of the 19 California ordinances that provide some type of rent control shows that these policies do not lead to a decline of housing quality or increased costs to local governments, refuting two common arguments made by landlord trade associations that regularly oppose rent-control proposals. Beyond dispelling the misinformation offered by opponents in local legislative processes, the toolkit provides specific recommendations for campaigning to defeat common landlord tactics such as weakening rent control implementation regulations or launching ballot initiatives to repeal policies enacted by city councils.

For advocates making little progress gaining traction with local elected officials, Communities Thrive with Rent Control recommends ballot initiative campaigns. Going directly to voters was a successful strategy in November 2016, when new rent-control laws were established in both Mountain View and Richmond. To bolster rent-control campaigns, Tenants Together offers guidance on using renter demographic data, building coalitions, and navigating the state’s Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which restricts the number of rental units that can be regulated through local rent-control ordinances.

Download and read Communities Thrive with Rent Control at: