By Melissa Caen

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The high cost of housing is one of the biggest issues in the Bay Area, election year or not. That’s why Prop 10 is creating such a buzz on this year’s ballot.

There is a lot of hype surrounding how it would impact rent control in California, but the ballot measure would do less than either side wants you to believe.

Contrary to some ads, the proposition does not create rent control. But it does change who can create it

Robin Jones was born and raised in West Oakland. She has lived in her apartment with her daughter — who has special needs — for three years.

But when a new owner bought the building earlier this year, she got a 60-day notice to vacate.

“They don’t have a care in the world. That they bought this building, knowing that we were living here, and to have some type of compassion,” said Jones.

Her building is not rent controlled. She says it shouldn’t be so easy for a landlord to evict tenants, so she is voting for Propositon 10 on this November’s ballot.

Prop 10 means everything to me and other families like me, said Jones.

Despite what you’ve heard or seen in commercials, Prop 10 does not create rent control or bureaucracy.

It does repeal a state law that acts as a barrier to rent control for new buildings. The result is that counties and cities would be allowed to create new rent controls.

But that’s not guaranteed.

Just last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of Prop 10. They seem eager to pass some new rent control laws.

Noni Richen lives in San Francisco and owns five rental units that are all rent controlled. She says the Board of Supervisors will do what their constituents want.

Unfortunately, what the constituencies want has exacerbated the problem already, said Richen.

She says rent control makes people take rental properties off the market and not build new ones

Nobody, will want to. I’m afraid nobody will want to build in this situation, said Richen.

As Jones looks for a new place to live, she says something has to change.

People should be scared. No one is safe and this can happen to anyone, said Jones. If it’s not me today, it’s someone tomorrow.

So the real questions to ask about Prop 10 are:

  • Do you trust your local government to decide whether to set new rent controls?
  • And, if so, what kind of controls to make?

If you do, vote yes and give them the power. If you don’t, vote no and keep the statewide limits on rent controls as they are.