AB 1569 (Caballero) - Landlord's Right to Verify Tenant's Need for Disability Accommodation Animal

Bill: This would allow for a landlord to require third-party verification of a tenant's need for an animal as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. There continues to remain no hard or fast rule that defines an emotional support animal. 

Rental Housing Provider Support: Landlords often struggle with tenant's request for animal using the emotional support animal argument. Our right to determine whether we will permit animals in our rental units is continually undermined. Although this bill lends little support to the argument tenants have to a right to an emotional support animal, it does make them go one step further to get a third-party verification of that animal. If a tenant is truly trying to just add a regular pet and has no connection to a medical professional that could attest to their emotional need for the pet, this could discourage some tenants from taking the easy route to get around your no pets policy. There has been no public support or opposition from rental housing providers or the real estate industry.

Status: The bill has been turned into a two-year bill.

(This page was last updated on 8/14//2017)

AB 1242 (Gray) - Removal of Requirement to Have Property Manager on Site for 16+ unit Buildings

Bill: Currently, state law requires that buildings with 16 or more units have an on-site manager for purposes of managing repairs and other tenant concerns. With the proliferation of technology and the recognition that there are many things that can be done remotely (and just effectively, at that) this bill would remove that requirement.

Rental Housing Provider Support: Most landlord and real estate groups support this bill. It's only fair that housing providers be offered the opportunity to increase efficiency and better budget for the cost of doing business. This can only positively impact tenants when money is freed up to be used for other improvements on the property.

Status: The bill was never heard in committee (the first step to any law being passed) and was extended to a two-year bill (meaning it will go into the 2018-19 government year) by its authors. The bill is eligible to be heard by the Senate and Assembly in January of 2018 and the author is conducting hearings during the fall recess to look at the issue in more depth.

State issues affect how you do business too.

We will update you regularly on the bills and other California state policies that impact your business. Often times there are opportunities for local rental housing providers to provide "testimony" to state legislators to let them know directly how their decisions impact your business. The Coalition regularly joins other like-minded industry organizations in appealing to our government officials in Sacramento.

AB 1505 (Bloom, Chiu & Gloria) - Overturns the Palmer Case

Bill: If you have any familiarity with the Palmer vs. City of Los Angeles case of 2009, you will know how important that case was to rental housing providers. The case stemmed from a Los Angeles landlord who was required to set aside a number of units in his new construction to be offered as "affordable housing." He argued that by doing so, the city was setting his rent which was a direct violation of Costa-Hawkins which says he has the right to set the rent at a number of his choosing. The court agreed. The City of Berkeley managed the ruling by setting mitigation fees in which a developer could decide to build the unit of affordable housing or pay a fee to be able to make it market rate housing.

This bill would clarify that local inclusionary ordinances that require affordable housing unit would not be pre-empted by Costa-Hawkins, in essence wiping out the court decision in the Palmer case.

Rental Housing Provider Support: The California Apartment Association and California Association of Realtors are neutral on this bill. Local property owner associations like EBRHA and the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles remain opposed.

Status: The bill passed in Assembly 47-24 and is now before the full Senate. 

AB 982 (Bloom & Chiu) - Requires Landlords to Give a One-Year Notice to All Tenants for Ellis Act Evictions

Bill: Would require that landlords give a one-year notice to all tenants if they plan to Ellis Act their building. Currently, one year notices are only required for a certain population of tenant (i.e. elderly).

Rental Housing Provider Support: Most landlord and real estate groups oppose this extension of notification. For some, this could drag out the process of getting into the business, an extraordinarily lengthy one, costing more money that the owner may not have.

Status: The bill was extended to a two-year bill (meaning it will go into the 2018-19 government year) but is eligble to be heard by the Senate and Assembly in January of 2018.

AB 291 (Chiu) - Prohibits Landlords from Retaliating or Discriminating Based on Immigration Status

Bill: Prohibit retaliation or discrimination of tenant based on immigration status. 

Rental Housing Provider Support: Most landlord and real estate groups are neutral. The California Apartment Association is in support. 

Status: Passed in Assembly 54-17 and is now before full Senate. It's very likely it will pass.

Repeal of Costa/Hawkins (AB 1506) - TEMPORARILY FAILED

Historical Overview: The Costa-Hawkins Rental Act of 1995 is a state law that permits two very critical items for rental housing providers. First, it limits rent control to units built before 1995 and does not permit rent control for Single Family Homes, condos or anything built after 1995. Secondly, it permits what is called a "vacancy decontrol event." Vacancy decontrol says that when a tenancy ends and a tenant vacates the landlord is permitted to set a rent to one of their choosing. C/H was put into place as a response to the strict rent control of cities like Berkeley and Santa Monica from the late 70s/onward. Prior to Costa-Hawkins implementation, rent control was applied to every rental unit and it never permitted the rent to be raised even when a tenant moved out (this is called "vacancy control.") 

Bill: Pro-tenant activists, housing advocates and pro-housing affordability Democrats have banned together to try to take down Costa-Hawkins. Quite a number of politicians used the repeal of C/H as part of their platform during the November 2016 election. In February 2017 an Assembly Bill was introduced by State Assemblymen in Santa Monica and the Bay Area to fully pull back Costa-Hawkins.  

Impact: This is the most detrimental bill proposed as it fairs for rental housing providers. It has far reaching implications on all landlords in California. For those of in rent controlled cities it could take us back to the 80s when the strict price controls resulted in 4,000 owners moving back into their rental units. This was a direct result of not being able to afford to stay in business. Low income, seniors, and African American tenants were displaced when these owners moved back in. If history repeats itself, it will be devastating. Not only will it force people out of the business it will squash the production of new rental units in California. 

Current Status: The BRHC joined forces with rental housing owners and like-minded advocates to go to Sacramento and lobby our legislators. We were successful in getting the Bill pushed off for now. Unfortunately, we know this is only be temporary stay and it is very likely this issue will be be put before the voter in 2018. Our fight is going to be long and hard but being able to raise your rent beyond the rent ceiling when a tenant vacates is critical to rental housing providers.

State Housing Policy Issues

State Senate & Assembly Bills Overview
California has one of the toughest challenges in all the U.S. when it comes to keeping up with housing needs. There is intense pressure being put on our state's resources to meet the demand. The 2017-18 Senate & Assembly Bill year has been loaded with housing proposals. Over 190 housing-related bills have been introduced. As of the summer of 2017, 6 bills have been signed and 79 are still active. The remainder died on the floor.

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Copyright 2016 Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition

Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition