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Election Results – Housing Related Measures in Santa Cruz and California

Now that the election season has passed and a majority of the votes have been counted, where do we stand with the many local and statewide housing-related ballot measures? Below we’ve summarized both Santa Cruz County and California ballot measures and proposition results, and what each means for our local market.


Note, after November 6th, there is a 30 day “canvasing” period in which vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots (including conditional voter registration provisional ballots), and other ballots are tallied. Official results should be released no later than December 7th, 2018.


Measure M – Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction in the City of Santa Cruz


In the City of Santa Cruz, Measure M would have implemented rent control and just cause for eviction within the City limits on certain types of property. At last count, close to 64% of voters rejected the measure. While the measure will likely not pass, this is not the last time you’ll be hearing about Rent Control in the City of Santa Cruz.


With the housing crisis still looming over the City, officials have voted to expand the City of Santa Cruz’s tenant relocation assistance law. The proposed change would mean, if a tenant is forced to relocate because of rent increases of more than 5 percent in a single year or a combined 7 percent in two consecutive years, he or she will be entitled to relocation assistance fees. Additionally, tenants evicted for reasons other than the end of their lease or breach of their rental agreement would also be eligible for the relocation assistance. The final approval for the change will be on December 11th, and the law will go into effect in January. However, rent increase notices issued since Nov. 27 will be retroactively subject to the changes as well.


Measure H


Measure H would have authorized the county to issue up to $140,000,000 in general obligation bonds. To fund these bonds, homeowners would have been taxed at an estimated rate of $12.21 to $16.77 per $100,000 of assessed value. Almost 55% of voters voted Yes on H, however, pursuant to California law, this measure required at least two-thirds of the vote to pass.


There is still a need for affordable housing throughout the county. Without the estimated $8,600,000 that Measure H would have generated at its disposal, is up to the county to find alternative funding sources if private firms fail to fill this housing-gap.


Prop 10


To date, close to 60% of voters have voted No on Prop 10. This propositions would have repealed the The Costa Hawkins Act (Costa Hawkins) . Costa Hawkins allows cities to implement local rent control laws, but within specific parameters: housing constructed after 1995, single-family homes and condominiums are exempt from local rent control regulations. Additionally, Costa-Hawkins allows rental property owners to establish their own rates at the time of a change in tenancy.


With the City of Santa Cruz contemplating less-sever rent control laws in the wake of Measure M failing to pass, this is a victory of landlords and property owners of these building-types.


Prop 5


A “yes” vote on Prop 5 would have supported amending Proposition 13. This would allow homebuyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer their tax assessments, with a possible adjustment, from their prior home to their new home, no matter (a) the new home’s market value; (b) the new home’s location in the state; or (c) the buyer’s number of moves. To date, close to 60% have voted No on Prop 5.


Had it passed, this ballot measure had the potential to increase housing supply and give those eligible a major real estate tax advantage. On the other hand, it would have reduced local government’s revenue which is used to fund school and public services.

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