By Patrick Moran, Lobbyist, Aaron Read & Associates
The 2021-22 Legislative session officially began December 7, 2020, with the swearing-in of the newly elected legislators. After all of the pleasantries, members in both the Assembly and the Senate wasted no time and introduced a slew of housing-related bills the SCRHA will be engaging on this session.
Legislators introduced several bills that would keep COVID-19 eviction protections in place well into 2021 and perhaps longer. The bills were introduced less than two months before current eviction protections are set to expire and during a surge in COVID-19 that brought with it new stay-at-home orders for much of the state. The proposals, AB 15 (Chiu), would extend the eviction protections under AB 3088 until the end of next year and would allow local governments to impose additional eviction rules. AB 16 (Chiu) – possibly rental assistance SB 3 (Caballero), is expected to extend the provisions of AB 3088 for a brief period with opportunities to renew at certain intervals. These bills, while being far from complete, will be the vehicles for the extension of AB 3088 and potentially rental assistance. Detail will be fleshed out before lawmakers reconvene hearings early next year.
Action will be relatively swift on the AB 3088 extension legislation, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, which passed this summer and is scheduled to expire on January 31, 2021.
During these negotiations, the SCRHA will work to ensure that local governments can't make-up their own rules on top of state law. One of the positives of AB 3088 was that it pre-empted local governments from doing so, ensuring a level of consistency and clarity across the state. If the preemption language is undone, it will be left for the courts to decide which rules do and do not apply and to whom.
But let’s be clear, and SCRHA will drive this home with legislators, that any extension of AB 3088 has to come with money for property owners and tenants to pay their rent. Property owners should no longer be expected to subsidize the rental community without assistance from the state and the federal government.