EBRHA in Sacramento: California Legislation Day
By Chris Tipton
The East Bay Rental Housing Association, along with its state affiliate, CalRHA, had a very productive Legislative Day at the Capitol last month. Legislation Day is a period in April where representatives from various fields are given the opportunity to meet and discuss proposed bills and issues directly with California state legislators and staff. Due to the pandemic, this was the first in-person Legislation Day since 2019, so there was a lot of activity in the state's capital. For EBRHA, this was such an important opportunity to sit down with state policy decision-makers, build relationships with newly elected legislators, and discuss important issues facing Rental Housing Providers.
We were in Sacramento during the hearing of bill SB 567, which EBRHA opposes, and met with Senator Steven Glazer’s office (7th District), and Senator Bill Dodd (District 3) regarding our concerns with this bill. SB 567 would have undone a heavily negotiated agreement on Just Cause eviction rules and rent caps under AB 1482. SB 567 eliminates the provision under state law (Assembly Bill 1482) related to the termination of occupancy without Just Cause and requires that Just Cause be stated in the written notice to terminate occupancy only after a renter has continuously and lawfully occupied a residential property for 12 months. Fortunately, that bill was gutted in the Judiciary Committee of all of the rent control provisions.
Another top priority bill for EBRHA was SB 466, and our team met with the bill’s author, Senator Wahab (District 10). SB 466 would repeal major protections afforded to the state’s rental housing providers under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Act of 1995 and expand local rent regulations, which were also amended. Recent amendments agreed upon in the Senate Judiciary Committee will put into effect a 28-year rolling process. That means that in 2024, the 95 date would become 96 and move forward one year each year. The 79 date would become 81 and roll forward two years each year. This would make buildings built between 1978 and 1995 that are protected under AB 1482 now subject to local Rent Control of 3% or less, which will have a very negative impact on smaller rental property providers.
AB 12 & AB 1620
While in Sacramento, we also had the opportunity to meet with Assembly Members Buffy Wicks, Lori Wilson, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Alex Lee, Tim Grayson, and their staff to discuss our concerns with AB12 and AB 1620. AB 12 prohibits a property owner from demanding a security deposit for residential property in an amount in excess of one month’s rent, regardless of whether the residential property is unfurnished or furnished. Our concern with this bill is that many owners give applicants with low or no credit history an opportunity to rent their apartment, but will ask for a larger deposit to mitigate the risk. Taking away the ability to be flexible will have a negative impact on the renting community.
The other assembly bill we discussed with legislators was AB1620. This bill would authorize local governments that have rent control to require rental property owners to give first right of refusal to renters with a permanent mobility disability to move into another rental unit located on the first floor of the building, at the same rate and terms as their current unit. As we know, not all apartments are equal. Some could have an outdoor garden, be fully renovated, or have a great view. If your building only has a few units, requiring these accommodations could have a significant financial impact.
Overall, the meetings were an important step in building relationships and educating our state legislators on the complex issues that surround rental housing. As we have painfully learned from the Eviction Moratorium in Alameda County, laws with the best intentions can have a devastating impact on rental housing. Having these relationships and being at the table with policymakers, so we can provide resources and knowledge as laws are being formed, is a crucial aspect of EBRHA’s role as the essential resource to the housing community.
The remainder of the legislative calendar for the year is as follows:
- May 19 - Last day for fiscal committee to hear and pass bills to the Floor
- June 2 - Last day for bills to pass the Floor in their house of origin
- July 14 - Last day for policy committees to meet
- August 14 - Legislature reconvenes from recess
- September 1 - Last day for fiscal committee
- September 8 - Last day to amend bills on the Floor
- September 14 - Last day for bills to pass the Floor in the second house
- October 14 - Last day for Gov to sign or veto bills
This article was published in the 2023 May Rentrospect