Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® Use Advocacy Everywhere to Rally Voters Against Expensive and Ineffective Rent Control Proposals

Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® Use Advocacy Everywhere to Rally Voters Against Expensive and Ineffective Rent Control Proposals

October 2022

Using the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program, the Santa Barbara Association mounted a member- and consumer-facing Call For Action that generated a 23% response rate in opposition to unreasonable rent control measures being considered by the City Council.  Message heard, the council instead created a Housing Crisis Ad Hoc Committee.

Rent control has long been a contentious issue in Santa Barbara, California, and the fact that there are three colleges within city limits that cannot offer housing to all their students only heightens the matter.  So, when the City Council recently proposed not one, but three objectionable rent control measures, the Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® turned to the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program to send a strong message of opposition from its members, community partners, and the public.  In combination with strong lobbying, the grassroots communication effort convinced the city to back down on each of the proposals.

In his Call For Action, Bob Walsmith, Jr., the association’s 2022 President, spelled out the problematic proposals in a nutshell: “On April 19th, the City Council will decide if they want to create an expensive rental registry, move forward with a $200,000 Rent Stabilization Economic Impact and Feasibility Study Consulting Services Scope of Work Outline, and implement 2% rent caps.”  Framing each item as an unwise, unnecessary, or unsustainable choice, he emphasized that education of both housing providers and tenants should be the priority for the City Council.  He notes that, “The REALTORS®, together with our partners at the Santa Barbara Rental Properties Association and the California Apartment Association, strongly oppose the government adding more layers of bureaucracy and expense to our lives and businesses in Santa Barbara.  We are grateful to the REALTOR® Party for the resources and technology that make it possible for us to communicate important policy positions like this to our elected officials, not just on behalf of our communities, but directly from so many Santa Barbara residents.”

Over a five-day period, 262 REALTORS® and members of the public made their opinions known,  at a response rate of a whopping 23%.  As a result, the City backed away from each one of the objectionable proposals, and instead, declared its intention to create a Housing Crisis Ad Hoc Committee to continue studying solutions to the area’s housing challenges.

Krista Pleiser, Government Affairs Director of the Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®, says that she looks forward to working with the committee, and that the timing couldn’t be better:  the association has just concluded the region’s first affordable housing study, the results of which the committee is sure to find of interest.  “The study looks at housing affordability from different angles, taking into account the needs of residents, tourism workers, and the many students here in Santa Barbara.  It’s valuable information for the Ad Hoc Committee, and we’re always ready to be part of the conversations tackling affordable housing.”

Pleiser can’t say enough about Advocacy Everywhere as a tool for getting through to elected officials.  “It’s a matter of both quality and quantity,” she explains: “We look good as the source of these policy positions, and we also bring a show of strength from the numbers of members and citizens who respond to the calls.  The ability to share the Call For Action with our partners, clients, and the public is a real boost, and it helps that everyone who receives it can forward the link with a ‘send to a friend’ button.  When you’re trying to make an impression, volume counts.”

To learn more about how the Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® is working to combat the housing crisis in its region, contact Government Affairs Director Krista Pleiser at or 805.884.8609.

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