FAQ: All about Measure C on Sacramento’s ballot

Measure C proposes an elected rent control board


Rahul Lal

Measure C if passed, would establish an elected rent control board that would regulate rent for affected units and limit the ability of landlords to terminate leases, according to the impartial analysis of Measure C prepared by Sacramento’s city attorney.

Colby Case

Measure C on Sacramento’s ballot this year, also known as the Sacramento Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Charter Amendment, would replace the Sacramento Tenant Protection Act adopted in 2019. The State Hornet has put together an FAQ answering the most common questions about the measure on the ballot.

Question: What is Measure C?

Answer: Measure C, if passed, would establish an elected rent control board that would regulate rent for affected units and limit the ability of landlords to terminate leases, according to the impartial analysis of Measure C prepared by Sacramento’s city attorney. 

The elected rental-housing board would be independent of the city council, city manager and the city attorney except by the board’s request. The board would consist of nine members, eight of which are elected by their districts. The elected members would serve four year terms, and the final member would be a representative from the mayor, according to the text for Measure C. 

According to the Measure C text, the board will set fees on rental units charged to the landlords to pay for its operation and expenses. If passed, the city will initially fund the implementation of the board and may request reimbursement. If needed, the board may also request funding from any other available source, including the city, to fund its necessary functions. 

Q: Who opposes this measure, and why?

A: The argument against the measure says, “If Measure C passes, it will override the progressive and balanced rent control reforms now in effect and make it more difficult to expand our existing housing supply.”

The argument against Measure C is signed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento City Council Members Eric Guerra, Jay Schenirer, Rick Jennings and Allen Warren.  

“Measure C will cost taxpayers millions,” states the rebuttal to the Argument in favor of Measure C.

The rebuttal also says that Measure C has no specific protections for veterans or senior citizens.

“We already have pretty fair housing in Sacramento,” said Christian Landaverde, former ASI president and member of the College Republicans at Sacramento State. “I would say, I don’t see what an extra level of government would do and more spending could really possibly do to benefit people.” 

The rebuttal is signed by Steinberg, the executive director for California Council for Affordable Housing, the CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League, a member of Disabled American Veterans and a journeyman electrician for International Brotherhood of Electrical Works.

Q: Who supports this measure, and why?

A: According to the rebuttal to the opposition of the measure, over 44,000 Sacramentans signed the petition to put Measure C onto the ballot. 

Mousa Musallam, the communications director for Sac State’s College Democrats, said he disapproves of the current rent control system in Sacramento.

“The measure [Sacramento Tenant Protection Program] that Sacramento has implemented is simply watered down enough to make sure real estate developers just give them more money while also framing themselves as progressives,” Musallam said.

Proponents of the measure state in the argument in favor of Measure C that they have no faith in the current rent control system because “Rents skyrocketed 45% from 2012 to 2019.” Proponents also said that the mayor and city council have been given “hundreds of thousands of dollars from the real estate industry that opposes rent stabilization,” according to the rebuttal to the opposition. 

“The way I see it, how could it not be common sense that the politicians in Sacramento would take the interest of real estate developers and anti-rent control, instead of ordinary working-class people,” Musallam said.

Proponents of Measure C state that the measure will create accountability with the new board because its members will be democratically elected by the residents of Sacramento, according to their rebuttal.

The argument in favor of Measure C is signed by board members from the Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento Tenants Union, California Nurses Association, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Democratic Party of Sacramento County and the vice president of Black Women Organizing for Political Action. 

Q: How will Measure C affect Sacramento State students?

A: Measure C could lower or raise rents initially, but this depends on the location and the market value of the area of the student’s housing. 

Under Measure C according to the text, rent may go up at least 2% annually, whereas currently, there is also no guarantee that rent will increase. The maximum percentage that rent can increase is currently at 10%, but under Measure C the maximum annual increase in rent would be 5%.

According to the rebuttal to the argument in favor of Measure C, it could impact other Sacramento projects due to transitioning of funding meant for them. However, housing owned by an institute of higher learning is exempt from this, according to Measure C.

Q: If passed, what would the elected rent control board do?

A: According to Measure C, this democratically elected board would have the power to set rents, determine the base rent and permissible annual rent adjustment, establish regulations, conduct investigations, adjudicate petitions and establish penalties for noncompliance.

Q: How does Measure C differ from the Sacramento Tenant Protection Act?  

A: According to the City of Sacramento website, Sacramento’s Tenant Protection Act’s maximum annual rent adjustment is 5% plus the percentage of the annual increases in the California Consumer Price Index. The CPI for April of 2020 was a reported 1%, meaning the annual rent adjustment maximum rate is a total of 6%. The maximum rental increase is capped at 10% under the current law. The annual rate under Measure C is directly tied to the CPI, causing a minimum of an annual 2% increase, but also a maximum of a 5% increase, according to the impartial analysis of Measure C. 

Q: Can a landlord or tenant petition for rent increase or decrease to the rent control board?

A: Yes, it also allows landlords to petition for an increase in rent to make sure they get a “fair rate of return,” according to the measure. This also lets tenants petition for a rent decrease for the landlord’s “failure to maintain a habitable premise,” or due to a “decrease in housing services or maintenance.”

Q: What are the limitations on eviction?

A: Measure C creates nine conditions under which landlords can terminate a tenant’s lease, four of which force the landlord to provide relocation assistance. 

The nine conditions stated in the measure are:

  1. After notice, continue to not pay rent.
  2. After notice, continue to breach the rental housing agreement.
  3. After notice, continue to be a nuisance.
  4. Doing anything illegal in the rented unit or the common areas, no notice required.
  5. Tenant refuses access to the landlord despite written notice and without good cause.
  6. Necessary and substantial repairs that require the tenant to temporarily vacate after having obtained necessary permits and given the tenant written notice.
  7. After notice the landlord wishes to use the rented premises as the primary residence of the landlord, landlord’s spouse, domestic partner, children, parents or grandparents.
  8. The landlord wishes to withdraw ALL rental units of an entire property from the rental market. Requires the landlord to have filed the necessary documents and given tenants a minimum 120 days notice or a year for senior or disabled.
  9. After getting the required permits and notifying tenants the landlord wishes to withdraw the rental unit permanently through demolition.

Q: How can residents of Sacramento receive relocation assistance?

A: The impartial analysis of Measure C affirms if your eviction falls under the conditions six, seven, eight and/or nine, your landlord must pay to help you relocate. The landlord must pay a minimum of $5,500 for a studio or one-bedroom apartment with an increase of $500 per additional bedroom.

Correction: Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 5:31 p.m.

An earlier version of this article stated that under Measure C rent is guaranteed to go up at least 2%. Under the measure the minimum annual rent increase will be 2% but landlords are not required to increase rent at all.