Prop 21: Rent Control Expansion

Prop 21 applies rent controls on housing that’s 15 years old or older.

Watch “Prop 21 in a Minute: Rent Control Expansion” to understand what a yes or no vote on this proposition means. ​Click the CC button for Spanish subtitles. 

For a quick look at all the props, here’s a printable guide in English and in Spanish.


Replacing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 with a law that allows local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old.


Advocates say California will have a housing affordability crisis as long as landlords can immediately increase rents to market rates when a tenant moves out.

Vote Yes

Allows local governments to apply new rent controls, but only on housing that is more than 15 years old and not on single-family homes owned by landlords with no more than two properties.

Vote No

Maintains the current state law that prohibits rent control on housing first occupied after Feb. 1, 1995, and on single-family homes, condos and townhouses.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation tried and failed to use a ballot measure in 2018 to overturn the 1995 law that kept cities from establishing rent control over single-family homes, condominiums and new residential buildings. Proponents said affordable housing is a basic human right and a public health issue.

Legislators, the governor and an association of landlords worked together to pass a new law last year to increase protections for renters, limiting annual rent increases to 5% plus the rate of inflation. Not satisfied, backers of rent control modified their 2018 initiative for another try. Prop. 21 would limit new rent control ordinances to homes at least 15 years old, and landlords renting out only one or two separately titled housing units would be exempt.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is among the few household names endorsing Prop. 21, but it has support from numerous unions and local officials. The California Apartment Association, representing landlords, has lined up diverse opposition, including some affordable housing advocates and labor, seniors, veterans and social-justice organizations.

Get Ready to Vote

Nov. 3 may feel far away now, but don’t forget to take the necessary steps to make sure you get to cast your vote! Here are some key details to remember:

  • Register to vote online by or have your mail-in registration postmarked by Oct. 19. If you somehow miss the deadline, all is not lost. You can still conditionally register up to Election Day itself. Not sure what your registration status is? Find out here.
  • Because of COVID-19, California is mailing all active registered voters mail-in ballots this year, so you don’t need to request one.
  • Mailed ballots should be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and received by your county’s elections office no later than Nov. 20. Scared your ballot is going to get lost in the mail? Don’t fret, the California Secretary of State has a ballot tracking tool so you can get notified of the status of your vote-by-mail ballot via email, text or call. Sign up here.
  • If you want to deliver your ballot in person on Election day, make sure you do so by the time the polls close on Nov. 3.