Letter to the Editor:
Measure RC – rent control, on the November ballot fails to address housing affordability and homelessness and will likely cause Burbank rents to increase, as the experience of other California cities and the chart below clearly show.
Measure RC will cost Burbank almost $6 million to set up a bureaucracy that operates outside our city government structure, imposes what can be described as a non-voter approved tax, and reports to no one. That cost will be devastating and could require cutting important services to our residents. Due to the heavy burden on our community, the failure to address and further the achievement of our housing goals, and in reality, likely cause housing costs to increase, Measure RC is unanimously opposed by Burbank City Council.
In response to misleading claims that Measure RC will keep rents low and reduce homelessness, I put together the chart below in order to guide me on the best policy decisions.
I was especially interested in the experiences of famous rent controlled cities: Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco. The chart below supports the conclusion of study-after-study that rent control causes average rents to increase. Please, consider why that might happen: Small mom-and-pop apartment owners give up and sell; corporations buy and redevelop; gentrification; costs to fund rent control are passed through to tenants; units are converted to condos. Due to the pandemic, Burbank market rents are projected to decline by approximately 9% through 2020. Measure RC potentially reverses this tenant benefit by allowing rent increases back to a higher September 2019 pre-pandemic level.
These famous rent control cities have significant homeless concentrations and the data confirm the failure of laws like Measure RC to offer necessary housing, resources and assistance.
The chart points to the importance of increasing supply. Glendale and Pasadena have built more housing and rents are lower. Some residents will always need help with high housing costs, especially our seniors, disabled and our poor. Localized homeless service providers such as Ascencia in Glendale appear successful in reducing homelessness.
Please Vote No on Measure RC. Rent control does not work. Look around at these neighboring, famous rent controlled cities that have some of the highest rents in the country. These cities are infamous for squalid homeless encampments. We must provide housing in our community at all levels of affordability. We must help those who need it. Burbank must stay the course on our housing goals, affordability, homeless prevention and the compassionate reintegration of our homeless residents. Why should Burbank move almost $6,000,000 from much needed community services to fund a failed housing policy like Measure RC?
* Service Planning Area 2 of which Burbank is a part.
2020 Population – World Population Review.org
Homeless Counts – LA County Cities – LAHSA – Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
**Homeless Counts – San Francisco and Berkeley – EveryoneHome.org 2019 stats – every 2 years
Q2 Asking Rents and Trends – CoStar
Mayor of Burbank