Despite a global pandemic that’s fueling mass unemployment in California, Big Real Estate has been contributing millions to stop the expansion of rent control through the Rental Affordability Act. Housing activists say rent control is needed more than ever as Californians struggle to make ends meet and pay already unfair, sky-high rents.
“There is no doubt that the national real estate industry will still spend untold millions to try and derail the Rental Affordability Act here in California,” says Housing Is A Human Right Director René Christian Moya. “We look forward to the fight ahead.”
The Rental Affordability Act is a November ballot measure that ends severe, statewide restrictions on rent control and allows communities to expand rent control policies. The initiative has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
While more than 1,200 small donors have contributed to the Rental Affordability Act, a handful of Big Real Estate firms are shelling out big bucks to stop the Rental Affordability Act. So far, there are three campaign committees that oppose the initiative: Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association; Californians for Responsible Housing — General Purpose Committee; and Californians for Affordable Housing sponsored by the California Rental Housing Association.
The General Purpose committee is funneling money to the California Apartment Association committee. The totals below include contributions to both committees. Several of the contributors — Equity Residential, Essex Property Trust, AvalonBay Communities, UDR (CEO Tom Toomey pictured above), and GID — are among the largest corporate landlords in the United States.
Top 10 Anti-Rent Control Contributors
- Essex Property Trust & Founder George Marcus: $2,029,544
- Equity Residential: $1,097,662
- Californians for Responsible Housing — General Purpose Committee (contributions to Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association): $1,012,219
- Prometheus Real Estate Group: $935,497
- UDR: $891,801
- AvalonBay Communities: $830,103
- Jackson Square Properties & Managing Partner Thomas Coates: $734,851
- R & V Management Corporation: $550,000
- General Investment & Development (GID): $400,525
- Braddock and Logan Services: $222,200
So far, Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association has raised $7,000,504. Californians for Responsible Housing — General Purpose Committee has raked in $3,099,823. Californians for Affordable Housing sponsored by the California Rental Housing Association has collected $10,000.
Housing activists expect these committees to raise millions more in the coming months, and to spend their money on a massive TV campaign that will attempt to scare and confuse voters about the Rental Affordability Act.
Yet top experts at USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley agree that rent control will stabilize California’s longtime housing affordability crisis. And because of the financial wreckage triggered by the pandemic, sensible rent limits are needed now more than ever to protect middle- and working-class Californians.