Rental Housing Legislation You Should Be Keeping your Eye On
By Becky Bower | ApplyConnect
As the majority of the country takes a break proposing and passing new rental housing laws and regulations, let’s take a moment to review the rental housing bills that are currently up to bat. From regulations on service animals in Illinois, rental property registration in the city of Portland, and additional homeless grants and assistance in California, the rental housing legislation at this point is a mixed bag. Take a look below at the passed and proposed rental housing laws in your state.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Disparate Impact Rule
HUD is considering changes to its “disparate impact” fair housing rule and is looking for public input on the rule. Comments are due by August 20th, 2018.
PENDING: Accessory Dwelling Units (SB 831 and AB 2980)
SB 831 and AB 2980 eliminate some of the regulations and fees regarding accessory dwelling units (also known as granny flats or in-law units). SB 831 includes 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. AB 2890 would prohibit the imposition of lot coverage standards (like ordinances regulating minimum unit size, parking, etc.), and local ordinances regulating accessory dwelling units would have to be reviewed by the Department of Housing and Community Development.
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 during 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.
Be aware that recent emergency declarations are in effect for San Bernardino, Riverside, Mariposa and Shasta counties (due to the Cranston, Carr, and Ferguson wildfires), triggering California’s anti-price gouging protections. You are prohibited from raising rent by 10% for 30 days after the emergency declaration issue date. Keep in mind that the governor and local officials can extend those protections after the expiration date.
Unless the emergency declaration is extended again, rent protections for Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Ventura counties (in response to last year’s wildfires) will end on December 4th. Protections for Siskiyou and San Diego counties are slated to end on August 4th and 5th.
PENDING: Homeless Youth Act of 2018 (SB 918)
This bill would require the Homeless Coordinating Council to oversee and administer grant programs for homeless young people and families, funded from funds appropriated by the Legislature, federal funds, special fund money, and gifts and donations. No more than 40% of the total funds granted in a year would be used to establish, expand, or operate shelter programs, with the rest dedicated to direct homeless aid.
PENDING: CalWORKS Housing Assistance (AB 1921)
AB 1921 would allow family recipients of CalWORKS up 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: 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 notice wait time would exclude judicial holidays (including Saturday and Sunday). If passed, these provisions would become operative on September 1, 2019.
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: Law Enforcement and Emergency Assistance Protections for Tenants and Property Owners (AB 2413)
This bill further protects the tenant’s and property owner’s right to call law enforcement or emergency assistance on behalf of a victim of abuse, crime or an individual emergency that the caller believes needs law enforcement or emergency assistance to prevent or deescalate. AB 2413 would also prohibit landlords from retaliating against victims or their households for contacting law enforcement or emergency assistance (in this context). Current law (in relation to an unlawful detainer) allows the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or elder/dependent adult abuse to attach a documented copy of a restraining, protection order, or report by a peace officer. This law would also allow the victim to provide a statement from a qualified 3rd party.
PENDING: Exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act (AB 1804)
Among other things, the California Environmental Quality Act requires lead agencies to prepare and complete an environmental impact report. This bill would exempt certain residential and mixed used housing projects occurring in unincorporated areas of a county.
FUTURE: New Solar Requirements for New Apartments (see news release)
The California Energy Commission has adopted new building standards that would require new homes to have solar photovoltaic systems. Effective January 1st, 2020, apartment buildings 3-stories or less and all single-family homes built after 2020 must include solar panels. Included in the new energy standards are new insulation and air filtration requirements.
FUTURE: New Signage Required (Proposition 65)
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has created “safe harbor” levels to determine whether exposure levels and discharges to drinking water sources are safe. These include tests for cancer-causing chemicals and chemicals causing reproductive toxicity. Rental housing providers with 10 or more employees with an enclosed parking garage or designated smoking area will be required to have new “safe harbor” warning regulations posted as of August 30th.
FUTURE: Section 8 Voucher Acceptance Required in City of San Diego
In effect August 2019, all rental property owners within the city of San Diego will be required to accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
FUTURE: California Rent Control Initiatives
This November the Costa-Hawkins Act will be in the hands of California’s voters. If passed, proposition 10 will be detrimental to the rental housing industry. Not only would it allow rent caps on properties and open the door for rent control on single-family homes and new construction, but it’ll be detrimental to the rental market.
In addition to Proposition 10, tenant’s right activists have launched several separate rent control initiatives in cities across the state. Thankfully out of the ten measures created only two will end up on the ballot. Be aware that if proposition 10 passes, activists (and potentially their own individual city councils) will likely bring rent control to the forefront again. Below is the current status:
- Cities with Rent Control on the November 2018 Ballot: National City and Santa Cruz.
- Cities with Activists Still Collecting Rent Control Signatures or with FAILED Rent Control Measures: Glendale, Inglewood, Long Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Sacramento, Santa Ana, and Santa Rosa.
Becky Bower is a marketer and writer that specializes in multifamily legislative trends. As Contemporary Information Corporation (C.I.C.)’s communications executive, she authors in-depth guides on how to manage, grow, and scale within the rental housing industry on The CIC Blog and the ApplyConnect Blog. Follow her work on LinkedIn @CICReports.