California lawmakers reconvened yesterday, on August 21st, from their summer recess and began to tackle hundreds of pending housing legislation. Since the beginning of 2017, legislation targeting affordable housing, creating rental controls, and enforcing “just cause” evictions have been the trend. As both the House and the Senate begin to vote on important California housing legislation, now would be a good time to review what’s at stake with a few of these bills.
While there are hundreds of housing bills that will be under review in the next few months, here are the few active bills we have on our radar:
Housing Accountability Act (AB 678)
The Housing Accountability Act “prohibits a local agency from disapproving, or conditioning approval in a manner that renders infeasible, a housing development project for ‘very low’, ‘low’, or ‘moderate income’ households or an emergency shelter unless the local agency makes specified written findings based upon substantial evidence in the record.” AB 678 would require local governments to follow certain guidelines before denying housing projects and would impose penalties (including fines) for failing to comply with the act. Money gained through fines would be later used to construct affordable housing.
As of publication this bill is scheduled to be reviewed today, on August 22, 2017 and is item 268. We will update the status on this article as soon as possible.
Disclosing Immigration Status in Housing (AB 291)
Assembly Bill 291 would prohibit landlords and properties from disclosing the tenant’s immigration or citizenship status to any immigration authority, law enforcement agency, or local, state, or federal agency. They are also prohibited from making inquiries into the immigration or citizenship status of a rental applicant or tenant. As currently amended, the landlord would have to pay statutory damages (per person whose information was disclosed) of 12 times the monthly rent charged.
As of publication this bill is scheduled to be reviewed today, on August 22, 2017 and is item 151. We will update the status on this article as soon as possible.
The Development of Micro-Apartments (AB 352)
Under the existing law, cities and counties can permit the construction and occupancy of efficiency units that have minimum of 150 square feet meeting specified criteria. AB 352 would prohibit cities and counties from establishing a higher square footage requirement and from limiting the number of efficiency units in certain locations near public transit, car-share vehicles or a University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) college campus. Introduced by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), the bill aims to provide affordable housing in the form of micro-units. Read our in-depth article about micro-apartments.
As of publication this bill is scheduled to be reviewed today, on August 22, 2017 and is item 273. We will update the status on this article as soon as possible.
Voter Approval on Land Use Regulations (AB 943)
Also introduced by Assemblymember Santiago (D-Los Angeles), AB 943 would increase the voter threshold for approving no-growth measures, requiring at least 55% of the votes cast for an ordinance to be effective. This bill is sponsored by the California Apartment Association (CAA).
San Francisco’s Density Bonus (AB 915)
This bill would require the City and County of San Francisco (if it has adopted an ordinance requiring an affordable housing minimum percentage for housing developments) to count the added density bonus units to the total number of housing units in the development.
As of publication this bill is scheduled to be reviewed today, on August 22, 2017 and is item 303. We will update the status on this article as soon as possible.
Income Tax for Low-Income and Farmworker Housing (AB 71)
Introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), this bill would end a California tax break that allows homeowners to deduct the interest from their mortgage on their second home. AB 71 would then direct a percentage of those funds towards the development of qualified low-income housing.
Zoning Regulations Might Require Affordable Housing Units (AB 1505)
AB 1505 authorizes cities and/or counties to adopt ordinances that require (as a condition of development of residential rental units) that the development include a percentage of residential rental units be dedicated to affordable housing (for moderate, lower, and extremely low-income households).
As of publication this bill is scheduled to be reviewed today, on August 22, 2017 and is item 219. We will update the status on this article as soon as possible.
Added Real Estate Fees for Affordable Housing Development (SB 2)
This bill would add a $75 fee to all real estate instrument, paper, or notices permitted by law (like mortgage refinances). Fees will not exceed $225. With the money generated from this fee, 20% would be required to go towards affordable owner-occupied workforce housing and 10% to housing purposes for agricultural workers and their families. The remaining 70% will be expended for affordable housing, home ownership opportunities, and housing-related programs. The Los Angeles Times predicts that this bill could provide roughly $250 million a year in new funding for low-income housing development.
Streamlining Local Development Process (SB 35)
This bill would place requirements on local governments (such as how many units the area must develop annually). SB 35 also aims at streamlining the development approval process state-wide by limiting the local governments from imposing parking standards and other requirements. It also places limitations on conditional use permits.
As we learn what legislation has passed and failed, take a moment to brace for impact by making sure your local representatives and tenant screening provider are actively fighting for (and are invested in) your property’s best interests. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to find out which bills have passed and which bills have failed!
Which California housing bills are you the most interested in? Are there any you want to pass or fail? Let us know in the comment section below.