News & Publications

Initiative to Repeal Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act Is Headed for November 2018 Ballot

On April 23, proponents of repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act filed more than 588,000 petition signatures to place the initiative on the November 2018 statewide ballot. The initiative would repeal Costa-Hawkins and confer authority on cities and counties to impose price controls on rents for virtually all rental housing units. If the initiative is approved by voters, local governments would be allowed to impose rent controls on vacant units, single family residences, and residential buildings occupied after January 1995, all of which are currently exempt from rent control by Costa-Hawkins.

Based on past experience, it is highly likely the initiative’s proponents have turned in more than sufficient signatures to qualify it for the ballot – only 365,880 valid signatures are required. We are very likely to see qualification of the measure for the ballot before the end of June, triggering the start of fiercely-contested and costly pro & con campaigns.

The initiative’s qualification effort has been funded entirely by activist Michael Weinstein’s non-profit Aids Healthcare Foundation, which has contributed more than $2 million to the effort to date. Weinstein-led AHF in 2016 spent over $18 million in supporting Proposition 61, which was rejected by the voters.

We will keep you updated as events unfold. For more information, contact Nielsen Merksamer partners Jim Parrinello or Chris Skinnell at 415-389-6800, or email either at: or