We Have the Power to Rein in Greedy Corporate Landlords

Group of diverse people standing in a circle with their hands stacked together in unity.

Week after week, there’s a new study about the life-altering consequences of sky-high rents or a new investigation about the destructive greed of corporate landlords. It may seem like a hopeless situation, but it’s not, especially in California. Voters can stabilize the housing affordability crisis and rein in predatory landlords by voting “yes” for the Yes on 33 Act in November.

Recent housing news hasn’t been pretty. Like many cities in California, more than half of Los Angeles households are drowning under high housing costs, according to a new study by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Eviction Lab, a research institute at Princeton University, found that unaffordable rents cause more deaths; and corporate landlords and their front group, the California Apartment Association, are spending hundreds of millions to kill rent control and to buy influence among local and state politicians.

But there is hope.

A broad coalition of housing justice groups, social justice organizations, labor unions, and civic leaders have banded together to pass the Yes on 33 Act in California. In addition, activists and tenants have successfully passed rent regulations in such California cities as Concord, Pasadena, and Pomona–although they’ve been handcuffed because of statewide rent control restrictions.

The Yes on 33 Act, sponsored by Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is a simple, 23-word initiative that ends restrictions and allows cities to expand rent control. When passed, local elected leaders can swiftly stabilize the housing affordability crisis through new rent control policies, prevent people from falling into homelessness, and quickly rein in predatory landlords, who only care about charging higher and higher rents to make outsized profits on the backs of middle- and working-class Californians.

The Yes on 33 Act, in other words, allows Californians to fight back – and to take charge of their futures. We won’t be victims of the greedy whims of corporate landlords anymore.

It’s an exciting opportunity for California voters. We can protect our grandparents and elderly parents on fixed incomes who can’t afford sky-rocketing rents; allow middle- and working-class families to save more money for their children’s futures, including paying for their college tuition; and help recent college graduates to gain their economic footing as they enter the workforce. Many others will be helped, too.

But corporate landlords and the California Apartment Association will do everything in their power to confuse voters, spending hundreds of millions on massive misinformation campaigns and constantly rolling out lies about rent control. Corporate landlords and the CAA, in fact, are relying on voters to fall for their dirty tricks and mudslinging – and their manipulation of mainstream media. Don’t fall for it.

Instead, Californians can grab a golden opportunity to empower themselves and defeat corporate landlords by voting “yes” for the Yes on 33 Act. For once and for all, we can rein in Big Real Estate and no longer allow them to dictate our futures. In November, vote “yes” for the Yes on 33 Act, and tell your family and friends to do the same.

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The opinions expressed here are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the LA Progressive.

Patrick Range McDonald is a best-selling author and award-winning reporter and advocacy journalist based in Los Angeles. He has dedicated his career to holding the powerful accountable and giving voice to the voiceless. McDonald was a longtime staff writer at L.A. Weekly. He publishes at Housing as a Human Right