With April showers comes new rental housing legislation. Among bills proposing rent control, additional rental housing development funds, and new eviction procedures, Californian legislators are anxious to reform old rental housing regulations and create new requirements. While the majority of this year's proposed laws are still on the chopping block (for better or worse), if passed, these bills will significantly effect the rental housing industry in California.
IN EFFECT: Water Saving Fixtures (SB 407)
Be aware that the deadline to switch your plumbing fixtures to meet California’s water-saving standards is January 1, 2019. This applies to pre-1994 multifamily housing and is a part of SB 407, which was passed October of 2009.
PENDING: Accessory Dwelling Units (SB 831)
SB 831 eliminates some of the regulations and fees regarding accessory dwelling units (also known as granny flats or in-law units). These include eliminating all local agency, school district, special district and water corporation fees, requiring an accessory dwelling unit application to be automatically approved if a local agency does not act within 120 days, and allow for the creation of an accessory dwelling unit on lots with existing or proposed homes. If this bill passes setbacks will be no greater than 5 feet and create an amnesty program that would ease the permitting process (active until 2026).
PENDING: Withholding Transportation Funds until Housing Quota Met (AB 1759)
This bill would require each city or county to meet the minimum housing production goal (as is written in their general development plan) in order to be eligible to receive a portion of the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program’s remaining funds. This bill is co-sponsored by the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors.
PENDING: Price Gouging During a State of Emergency (AB 1919)
AB 1919 would make it a misdemeanor for a person, business, or other entity to increase the monthly rental price to an existing or prospective tenant by more than 10% within 30 days of a declaration of emergency. It would also be a misdemeanor to evict a tenant after the proclamation of a state of an emergency for the purpose of renting the property out. AB 1919 would also create a state-mandated local program to monitor and manage this new crime.
PENDING: Homeless Youth Act of 2018 (SB 918)
This bill would establish $60 million in grants from the cannabis tax and other funds to California’s growing homelessness crisis, particularly among minors, and create an Office of Homelessness Youth within the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). No more than 40% of the total funds granted in a given year would be used for shelter programs.
PENDING: CalWORKS Housing Assistance (AB 1921)
AB 1921 would allow family recipients of CalWORKS to 16 total days of temporary housing assistance regardless of interruptions. It would also allow recipients to use their payments towards shared housing.
PENDING: Homeless Persons Services Block Grant (AB 3171)
Introduced by Assemblymen Phil Ting (D – San Francisco) and Ricardo Lara (D – Los Angeles), this bill would establish a Local Homelessness Solutions Program and create the Local Homelessness Solutions Account, which would provide funding to aid impacted cities. Funds drawn from the general fund to homelessness solutions account would go towards shelter diversion, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing.
PENDING: Just Cause Evictions (AB 2925)
Promised by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D - Alameda) AB 2925, would impose ‘just cause’ eviction controls. The full details of the bill have yet to be created.
PENDING: Eviction Process Changes (AB 2343)
This bill would require landlords to wait longer before starting the eviction process. Supported by Assemblyman David Chiu (D – San Francisco), the eviction wait time would be extended to 10 days when a tenant has failed to pay the rent and 5 days when a tenant violates the lease under this bill. Tenants would also have 14 days (rather than 5) to respond to the eviction suit.
PENDING: Evictions due to Unlawful Weapons (AB 2930)
Existing law allows rental properties in the City of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and Sacramento to file for an action on an unlawful detainer to abate the nuisance caused by illegal conduct involving unlawful weapons or ammunition. This law will sunset on January 1, 2019. AB 2930 would eliminate the sunset date and impose a state-mandated local program.
PENDING: Ellis Act Revisions (AB 2364)
AB 2364 would weaken the Ellis Act (which protects property owner’s rights to leave the rental housing industry) and place greater requirements on it. If this law passes the 5-year withdrawal period (in which accommodations, plus annual adjustments, must be offered to tenancies within the withdrawal period) will be extended to 10 years. If the property is vacant when the property owner files for withdrawal, applicable owners will have to extend the accommodations to displaced tenants. Currently, the Ellis Act places provisions on owners who decide to lease the property within 2 years after leaving the industry. AB 2364 would extend that to 5 years. Additional restrictions apply to properties within rent controlled cities and counties.
FUTURE: California Rent Control Initiatives
A ballot initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act (an act that prohibits local governments from regulating the price of rent) has been filed. The measure has not yet qualified to be put on the ballot on November 2018. Activists will have until June 28th, 2018 to collect valid voter signatures.
You should also be aware that tenant’s rights activists are preparing to launch separate rent control initiatives in the following cities: Glendale, Inglewood, Long Beach, Pasadena, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz. The majority of these groups in the above cities are still collecting signatures. None have officially made it to the ballot yet.