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May Legislative Update

15/05/2020

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Needless to say, a lot has happened in the last few months. SCRHA spent the first month or so of the COVID-19 emergency lobbying on eviction moratoriums, seeking property tax relief, and advocating for direct rental assistance, amongst other actions to help the industry during unprecedented times. A wealth of resources, including eviction moratorium rules, are available on the SCRHA COVID-19 Resource page. Visit www.socalrha.org.

As state and local governments begin to focus on re-opening  businesses, they have also gotten back to work, albeit with slightly different rules. The State Assembly returned to the Capitol on May 4th. Many assembly members have amended previous bills to address rental housing. The Assembly Housing Committee  will hear dozens of bills on May 20. The State Senate returns May 11. This is important as AB 828 (Ting), the bill that currently proposes to allow 25% rent reductions for COVID-related hardships, is in the Senate and  could  be heard very soon.

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Here are some other bills we are closely tracking:

  • SB 1410 {Lena Gonzalez) - COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program: This bill seeks to establish the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Households would be eligible if they demonstrate an inability to pay rent due between April 1, 2020, and October 31, 2020 as a result of COVID-19. The Department of Housing and Community Development would develop a process to confirm inability to pay rent and to obtain the owner's consent to The bill would require each payment to an owner under the program to equal at least 80% of the amount of rent owed by the household to the owner. No more than 7 months of rent would be covered. Owners who participate would be prohibited from increasing the rent between the date the owner consents to participate in the program and December 31, 2020. Late fees would also be prohibited. The bill would only be implemented if funding is made available via the budget.
  • AB 2271 {Gabriel) -Appointed legal counsel in unlawful detainer cases: Under the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act, some jurisdictions, like San Diego, require legal counsel be appointed to represent low-income parties in unlawful detainers. This bill would require the programs to provide services without regard to citizenship or immigration status. The Judicial Council would also be required to collect information relating to unlawful detainers, like the number of unlawful detainer cases filed each month by zip code and the outcome of each case, and make that information available to the public.
  • AB 2406 {Wicks) - Rental registry online portal: Buffy Wicks is back with her attempt to require rental owners to report data to the state. This bill would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to enter into a contract with a contractor to create and administer a rental registry online portal, which would be designed to receive specified information from landlords that own or operate 5 or more rental units. landlords, under penalty of perjury, to provide a variety of information regarding the location of rental property, its ownership, and its occupancy, among other things. The bill would prohibit a landlord from issuing various notices to increase the rent or terminate a tenancy unless the landlord has submitted a form on the rental registry online portal.

Son of Prop. 10/Rent Control

Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has again spent the time and money to bankroll a measure that will repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. You will recall the industry spent a great deal of time and resources to defeat a similar measure in 2018, Proposition 10. Despite a resounding rejection then by California voters, we will again see a rent control ballot measure this November.

Prop 13/Split-Roll

California voters will be deciding on a split roll approach to property taxes this November. While the measure, if approved, would primarily impact commercial and industrial properties, it is expected to have a significant impact on California businesses. Additionally, many, including SCRHA, see this as a precursor to removing the Proposition 13 tax protections for residential properties.