Howard Jarvis - Alleged Impact On Rent Control Laws

Alleged Impact On Rent Control Laws

Regarding the motives of Jarvis in promoting Proposition 13 and the role its passage had in rent control subsequently being enacted in most large cities in California, Greg Katz has written: "There was little doubt from his rhetoric that Howard Jarvis, who penned Prop. 13 with his on-again-off-again political ally Paul Gann, hated taxes of all kinds. But his intentions were, at best, turbid; Jarvis was at the time employed by the Los Angeles Apartment Owners Association as a lobbyist. In a fundraising letter to the landlords that employed him, he claimed, 'We are the biggest losers' if Prop. 13 fails. (Not to mention: The Yes on 13 headquarters were located in a Los Angeles Apartment Owners Association office.) He tried to persuade renters to vote for Prop. 13 by saying it would drive down rents, by decreasing the property taxes that landlords paid. Post-13 news reports found rents weren’t going down, despite Jarvis’s promises – apparently landlords were just pocketing their property tax savings. That revelation prompted many of the rent controls still in effect around California." San Francisco community activist Calvin Welch has stated “Jarvis was the father of rent control." Mark Evanier has dubbed him a "horrible man" and summed up Jarvis' years as a lobbyist for landlords with these words: "He spent a lot of time 'n' money trying to ram through bills that said, in essence, that if I'm your landlord, I can do any damn thing I want to you, including tearing up contracts and raising your rent or evicting you whenever I feel like it."

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