State Legislative Update - Big Wins in Capitol
The Legislative session in Sacramento has come to an end. The Governor has until the end of September to sign or veto bills. Read on to learn more about the numerous bad bills that SCRHA defeated and the few bills that are currently on the Governor's desk.
BIG WINS - Defeated!
SB 1105 (Hueso) – San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Finance Agency
This bill would have created the San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Finance Agency (SD REEF) and grant it the authority to impose specified taxes and fees. SCRHA opposed this bill from the beginning and was joined by other housing and business groups as the bill progressed. The SCRHA wounded the bill significantly in Assembly Housing and Assembly Local Government Committee. The bill passed on courtesy votes and went on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where SCRHA worked to get the bill held on “suspense.” Through SCRHA lobbying and the grassroots efforts of members who called and emailed Assemblymembers, we were able to stop SB 1105 in the Assembly.
SB 1335 (Eggman) – Credit History of Persons Receiving Housing Subsidies
The bill would have mandated that a rental housing provider offer prospective tenants who receive a government rent subsidy the option to present alternative financial information in place of a credit report. It would have also required the housing provider to consider that alternative evidence in lieu of the person’s credit history when determining whether to offer the rental accommodation to the applicant.
AB 2383 (Jones-Sawyer) – Criminal Background Screening
As introduced, AB 2383 was bad enough, limiting when housing providers could use criminal background checks during the rental process with convoluted, hard to follow rules. In an attempt to make the bill more attractive, the author amended it to codify a safe harbor provision for housing providers who followed the procedures outlined in the bill and gave compliant landlords protection from fair housing disparate impact liability when using a criminal background check as part of the screening process. However, the author just couldn’t help himself and amended the bill expanding the definition of “prohibited criminal history information." The expanded definition now prohibits owners and managers from using any information whatsoever related to a person’s interactions with law enforcement. This is unacceptable to SCRHA whose members use criminal background checks to help keep their communities safe for all residents. The bill was also held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2597 (Bloom) – Mandatory Air Conditioning
AB 2597 would have required any building with a dwelling unit to maintain adequate cooling and deemed that the lack of cooling a substandard condition for human habitation. SCRHA opposed the bill and lobbied for its defeat. We argued requiring owners to add “adequate” cooling to already existing housing that does not need it is an overreach to say the least. The bill did not take into consideration that retrofitting an old dwelling unit with a cooling unit is not a simple matter. Most older apartments are not designed to allow for the later installation of a central cooling system and separate window inserts are not energy efficient. As a result of our opposition Assembly Member Bloom decided not to move forward with the bill.
SB 1026 (Wieckowski) – Residential energy efficiency disclosure statement
This bill would have granted, beginning January 1, 2024, a prospective tenant the right to obtain from the owner of a residential dwelling unit a residential energy efficiency disclosure statement for the residential unit offered. Rental property owners are already required to provide extensive notices and documentation before and upon signing a rental agreement. SCRHA argued that an energy efficiency disclosure provides no significant information for which the tenant can act upon.
AB 1791 (Nazarian) – Rent Control
As introduced, AB 1791 imposed an annual $500 per residential unit tax on residential units. As amended, AB 1791 would have allowed local governments to impose rent control on property owners who have 10 or more single family homes and who have annual gross receipts of $1 billion or more.
AB 1858 (QuirkSilva) – Substandard Housing
AB 1858 could have extended existing inspections and code enforcement to any buildings used for human habitation, regardless of zoning, and creates tenant protections when buildings are deemed unsafe.
AB 2050 (Lee) – Ellis Act
The gazillionth bill introduced in the last decade seeking to amend the Ellis Act and make it harder for rental housing providers to go out of business. This iteration would have prevented an owner from withdrawing their rental properties from the market for 5 to 10 years depending on certain circumstances.
AB 2095 (Kalra) - would have required employers with more than 1,000 employees to report data regarding wages, benefits, scheduling, and safety for their entire workforce. This was overreaching, onerous and unnecessary, opening the door for potential lawsuits. SCRHA opposed the bill along with many others and the bill was held in Assembly Appropriations Committee
AB 2386 (Bloom) – Tenancy in Common
Would have specified that regulation of the design and improvement of any multifamily property held under a tenancy in common subject to an exclusive occupancy agreement is vested in the legislative body of the local agency.
AB 2469 (Wicks) – Statewide Rental Registry
AB 2469 would have created a rental registry. This marked the 5th or 6th time she introduced such a bill and failed.
AB 2527 (QuirkSilva) – Credit Reports
AB 2527 would have prohibited a housing provider from using credit reports in tenant screening and from asking about any information that would be included in a report, such as payment history or evictions.
AB 2710 (Kalra) – First Right of Purchase
The bill would have created the “Stable Homes Act” requiring an owner who intends to sell a rented single-family or multi-family building to provide the first right to purchase the home or multi-family building to the tenants and to organizations registered with HCD.
AB 2713 (Wicks) – Rent Caps & Just Cause (“clean-up” to AB 1482)
This bill sought to further restrict the just-cause provisions of existing law as they related to owner move-in and substantial rehab.
SB 1324 (Durazo) – Debt Collection Practices: Rental Debt
Would have added “rent debt” to the debt collector requirements of existing law, perhaps subjecting housing providers to strict and complicated rules.
On the Governor’s Desk
AB 1738 (Boerner Horvath) – EV Charging Stations
AB 1738 would require mandatory building standards for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations within existing multifamily dwellings, hotels, and motels. While a direct mandate as introduced, SCRHA opposition caused the author to amend slightly to require the state to research and develop mandatory installation standards for future adoption, likely meaning costly retrofits for rental properties at some point.
AB 2559 (Ward) – Reusable Screening Reports (Update: Signed into law 9/14/22)
As introduced, the bill created a process for acceptance by a landlord of a “reusable tenant screening report.” However, the bill was unclear as to whether it was voluntary. However, the author has amended the bill making clear that AB 2559 is voluntary and encourages tenants to post the reusable screening report to an independent third party on-line. The amendments eliminate notice requirements on the part of the landlord as well.
SB 1017 (Eggman) – Domestic Violence
This would modify existing law to allow the perpetrator of domestic violence to continue to visit a dwelling unless they pose an “actual and imminent threat. These changes allow a perpetrator of domestic violence to engage in conduct that today warrants eviction of any other tenant; the perpetrator of domestic violence is protected above and far beyond other tenants in the building. Given the current challenges when it comes to evictions, even under existing law, the perpetrator could be at the property creating problems for the victim and other residents for months before the case comes before the judge. If a judgment is entered, the sheriff will have to extract just the perpetrator and the perpetrator’s possession from the property, rather than emptying the unit entirely. While well intentioned, SCRHA believes the bill will only complicate the issue at hand. Recent amendments may address some of our concerns.
SB 1477 (Wieckowski) – Enforcement of judgments: wage garnishment
SB 1477 will slash the allowable wage garnishment to 0% for $24.38/hr. or less wage earners, needlessly exempting them from any wage garnishment, and making them judgment proof. In $17/hr. minimum wage localities, $27.63/hr. wage earners would be completely exempt. This exemption is not need-based and would apply to all debtors based on individual pay, no questions asked. This exemption would apply to high-income tenants, including those tenants who did not pay the rent and who refused to apply for state assistance.
AB 2188 (Quirk) – Discrimination in employment: use of cannabis
This bill, on and after January 1, 2024, would also make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace, except for preemployment drug screening, as specified, or upon an employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids. The bill would exempt certain applicants and employees from the bill’s provisions, including employees in the building and construction trades and applicants and employees in positions requiring a federal background investigation or clearance.
AB 1949 (Low) – Employees: bereavement leave
Requires private employers with five or more employees and public sector employers to provide employees with at least 30 days of service up to five unpaid days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member. If an employer has an existing leave policy providing for less than five days of paid bereavement leave, the employee shall be entitled to no less than a total of five days of bereavement leave, consisting of the number of days of paid leave under the existing policy, and the remainder of days of leave may be, but are not required to be, unpaid.
Accessory Dwelling Units
SCRHA supported AB 916 (Salas), a bill sponsored by our statewide partner, CalRHA, as well as two other Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) bills, SB 897 (Wieckowski) and AB 2221 (Quirk Silva). The bills, now awaiting signature from the Governor, will help streamline the ADU approval process.
Renters' Tax Credit
SB 843 (Glazer) would have increased the tax credit amount for qualified renters. The bill did not make it out of the legislature this year.
Use of the Term Landlord
SCRHA supported a bill sponsored by our sister association in Orange County that seeks to address the use of the term "landlord" in state code. AB 2503 (Garcia), if signed by the Governor, will require the California Law Revision Commission to, on or before December 31, 2024, deliver to the Legislature a study regarding the establishment of consistent terminology across the California codes to describe the parties to an agreement, lease, or other contract for the rental of residential real property.
SCRHA supported several bills all designed to streamline and improve the process when the Governor makes an Emergency Declaration. The use of emergency declarations, which trigger price gouging rules, has become a common tool of California Governors over the years. Often times, the emergencies have little to no correlation to housing, yet impact the ability of housing providers to reset their rents at vacancy. Of the bills we supported, only AB 1687 from Riverside area Assembly Member Seyarto passed. If signed, during a state of emergency, the Governor may only suspend a regulatory statute in connection with the specific conditions of the emergency proclaimed. SCRHA will continue to look for opportunities to sponsor or support bills to make sure emergency declarations don't harm housing providers.