In the upcoming general election there are 12 statewide ballot measures ranging from affirmative action to data privacy laws. Today we are looking at two of the measures that pertain to real estate – Propositions 19 and 21, concerning property tax rules and rent control respectively. In this week’s piece, we explore the pros and cons of each proposition to help you make an informed decision.
Prop 19 – Changes Certain Property Tax Rules
Prop 19 would allow homeowners who are over 55, disabled or victims of natural disasters to move their lower property tax base to a pricier home and only pay higher property tax on the difference anywhere in the state (currently it’s only allowed in certain counties) and allow them to use this special rule three times in their lifetime (currently it’s only allowed once). The constitutional amendment would also prevent people who inherit family properties from keeping the low property tax base unless they use the home as their primary residence and the market value is less than $1 million. Most of the revenue from the measure would fund wildfire agencies. Read the official proposition here.
✅ A YES Vote would allow homeowners who are seniors, disabled or have been victims of a natural disaster to keep a lower property tax rate when they buy a new home.
❌ A NO Vote would not allow these qualifying homeowners to keep their lower tax base when they sell their home and purchase a new one.
PROS: Supporters argue empty nesters aren’t putting homes on the market to downsize because they fear paying higher taxes on a new house. It also closes a loophole that allows wealthy people to pass on homes to children who use them as rental properties. Learn more at YesOn19.
CONS: Opponents say that the measure is a billion-dollar tax increase on families and that it takes away one of the best tools parents have to help their children—the right, enshrined in California’s Constitution since 1986, to pass their home and other property on without any increase in property taxes. For more info, click here.
Prop 21 – Rent Control Overhaul
Prop 21 would allow local jurisdictions to put rent control in place for all kinds of housing, including single family homes, condos and townhomes. There are two exceptions: if the home or building is newer (constructed less than 15 years ago) and if the landlord only owns up to two properties. This proposition would replace the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995. Under Costa-Hawkins, landlords can raise rents after a tenant moves out, but Prop 21 would put a limit on how much they can raise the rent of a vacated unit to 15% over three years. Read the official proposition here.
✅ A YES Vote would allow (but not require) cities and counties to put rent control policies into place on these properties.
❌ A NO Vote would continue the provisions of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
PROS: Renters need more protections in California’s expensive housing market and the measure would give local governments the ability to expand more of these protections. Supporters argue this measure will help keep families in their homes and ensure seniors, veterans and critical employees like teachers and frontline workers can continue to afford to live in the communities they serve. Learn more at YesOn21.
CONS: More rent control could worsen the housing crisis by reducing private builders’ profit incentive to building more housing. Opponents also argue that it undermines Assembly Bill 1842, the statewide rent control law that went into effect in January 2020 with no plan to build affordable and middle-class housing. For more info, visit NoOn21 website here.