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by Michael J. O’Connor

California thinkingThe California Apartment Association (CAA) is actively deliberating what position to take regarding the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s proposed ballot measure: California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act (CPOFPA) commonly known as the Jarvis Eminent Domain and Rent Control Initiative.

This measure, if it should qualify for the California June 2008 ballot, is intended to limit both eminent domain and rent control in California.

The results of a poll commissioned by the CAA found the following results of more than 800 likely voters, Democrats and Republicans, homeowners and renters:

  • 41% would support the measure
  • 52% would oppose the measure
  • 55% support rent control and do not believe it should be eliminated

Among those voters who oppose the measure:

  • 58% oppose due to concerns that the bill limits water storage/delivery options
  • 62% oppose believing that rent control laws protect vulnerable segments of society

When provided a choice:

  • 68% would support an eminent domain initiative that does not eliminate rent control

Generally, ballot measures that garner at least 60% support in early polling have a reasonable shot at success. Clearly this measure is a long-shot.

The California Apartment Association has historically taken a thoughtful approach towards housing issues presented to voters. As this measure has not yet qualified for the ballot, the Association is adhering to its long-held policy of not taking a position — yet. But this measure is SURE to be a political hot button if it does qualify and the Association knows that regardless of the measure’s success there will be far-reaching consequences.

The Board is weighing the following options in anticipation of the measure being on the ballot:

  • Support – A reasonable position given the impact that draconian rent control measures in certain cities has had on property owners. But this position will also cost the Association much in both terms of money and goodwill.
  • Neutral – A safe course but leaves the Association open to criticism from both sides.
  • Oppose – Will garner significant alienation from members and allies who really want rent control abolished. But given the relatively low early support, this option may be the most realistic.

In addition to these positions, the CAA is also looking at anoppose but offer other alternatives” position. In so doing, the CAA may be able to offer up new ideas and garner support among groups who would not normally be aligned with property owners.

What are your views on this issue? Is abolition of rent control a good idea? Should cities be able to continue to implement drastic measures to maintain tight rent control? Or are there some better ideas somewhere in the middle that will help everyone? The CAA will be sending its members a formal questionnaire on the subject and as a member of the Association myself, I am interested in your thoughts on this issue.

Michael J. O’Connor is a real estate broker specializing in short sale & REO properties in Mira Loma, CA. As a graduate of the prestigious University of Michigan MBA program, consistently ranked as a top business school in the country, Michael provides clients with top-notch business strategies to acquire or sell distressed properties. To learn more visit http://activerain.com/toomora.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

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  • John Bracken

    Don’t waste your time. I was a New York City landlord for 25 yrs and suffered through it, always hoping things would change to no avail.
    Instead, offer a more profound change in your states authority.
    The US Constitution provides enumerated rights. The states do not. This simple fact eludes us.
    I don’t know what Cal is like but the NY Constitution simply sets up a gov’t structure to legislate laws. There are no limits to the States authority.
    They are not just at your door, they have already entered your home and they are a force you can no longer control.
    Gov’ts were formed to assist the people in endeavors they cannot perform individually.Govts were formed to build bridges, not houses. It once was inconcievable that it would be able to take from one and give to another or that an owner could be enslaved as nothing more than a glorified superintendent for the collective. If you follow your present course, you will never prevail.
    Good Luck,
    John

  • sid miller

    the CAA has nothing to delibrate. there is only one choice.no rent control,none. don’t make the same mistake that new york state made in the mid 1940’s. when ww2 was over the politicians in washington were dismantling the OPA. everything went fee market except national wartime rent control. washington knew that the issue was tooo hot to handle. so they allowed each state legislature to decide for itself.47 of the 48 states wanted nothing to do with rent regulations. the economy was booming. people were achiving the american dream, moving and buying homes in the newly formed suburbs. only one state did not let national rent control sunset…NEW YORK.. WHY? SINCE NEW YORK CITY WAS A POLITICAL POwERHOUSE ALBANY feared the political backlash if they allowed rent control to sunset and then to have their constituents pay free market rents. albany cared only about one thing. they willingly prostituded themselves for they would do anything so as not to stand in the unemployment line. they were given all the negative effects of continuing rent control but assuring re election was more important than the health of the state or the health of their voters. so a not to be accused they came up with a novel solution to a super hot political dilema. they anounced that they did not have enough information to make a decision. so they renewed national rent control on a state wide level while they formed a committee to study the problem and report back for a decision.well it has been 65 (sixty-five )years and albany is still studying the problem. the government should provide social services not private businessmen. not one drop of rent regulations !!!!

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