During the 1980s, few California political issues burned as intensely as rent control.
California’s population was growing rapidly, and the state was evolving from having a big majority of homeowners into one with a relatively low rate of homeownership and a proliferation of rental units.

The trend fueled a spate of rent control ordinances in liberal cities, pitting renter advocates against landlords and developers. Meanwhile, in rural and suburban areas, elderly retirees in mobile homes sought rent controls on the parks in which they occupied spaces.

Landlord vs. renter battles flared not only in local governments, but in the courts and, eventually, in the Legislature.