Bills Defeated by SDCAA
AB 396 (Jones-Sawyer) - The bill would have prohibited landlords from using criminal background checks when screening prospective tenants. While we killed the bill in 2015, it had the potential to resurrect itself as a two-year bill. Fortunately, it stayed dead.
AB 723 (Rendon) - SDCAA opposed AB 723 requiring that a rental agreement for a single-family rental or apartment unit to include a written disclosure stating the property owner’s responsibility to replace all noncompliant plumbing fixtures with water-conserving plumbing fixtures and whether they had done so. When the bill was gutted and amended during the conclusion of the 2015 legislative year, SDCAA engaged with the author (who subsequently became speaker) explaining our opposition. After several conversations, Assembly Member Rendon agreed to hold the bill in 2015. It was eventually amended to address other issues.
AB 2282 (Calderon) - SDCAA opposed this bill requiring single-family rental homeowners to register their units with the State Department of Business Oversight. As a result of SDCAA lobbying efforts, and others, the bill was amended to require publicly traded companies that own more than 100 single family homes to register with the State Department of Business Oversight. The bill failed passage and was placed on the Assembly inactive file.
AB 2502 (Mullin) - SDCAA opposed this inclusionary zoning bill, and it was one of the bills discussed during our legislative day meetings. The bill attempted to give authority to local government to mandate that a percentage of a new rental development be designated as affordable for low-income individuals and families. It proposed to overturn provisions of Costa Hawkins that were preserved through the Appellate Court decision in Palmer vs. City of Los Angeles. SDCAA, and others, opposed the bill in the Assembly where it failed passage.
SB 1053 (Leno) - SDCAA opposed this bill requiring landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers. This was one of the bills discussed during our legislative day meetings, and with the Pro Tem of the Senate during our meeting with him that day as well. SDCAA vigorously opposed this bill in the Senate where it failed passage.
SB 1267 (Allen) - SDCAA opposed this bill that would have required rental property owners, who elected to go out of the rental housing business, to provide a one-year notice to families with school-age children who had lived in the rental home for at least one year prior to the notice of termination. The bill died in Senate Transportation and Housing.
SB 8 (Hertzberg) - This bill proposed to expand the state’s retail sales tax to “services,” that would have included property management, accounting firms, legal, landscaping, painting, etc. However, should the Democrats achieve a 2/3 majority in both houses in November 2016, this may be revisited.
SB 608 & SB 876 (Liu) - SDCAA opposed the bills that would have granted rights to homeless individuals to rest in “public places,” which included sidewalks in front of private buildings. The bills were held by the Legislature.
SCA 5 (Hancock) - SDCAA opposed this measure to amend the state constitution to allow for regular reassessments of commercial and industrial property to their fair market value, starting with the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Bills significantly amended as a result of SDCAA
AB 551 (Nazarian) - SDCAA was opposed unless amended when this bill was first introduced and through much of its lifecycle. As a result of the final amendments, SDCAA changed to a Neutral position. The bill proposes to put in place disclosure requirements about the prevention and reporting of bedbugs. Prohibits landlords from renting units in which they know bedbugs exist and prohibits landlords from retaliating against tenants who report the pests. Prior to going neutral, AB 551 required landlords to notify all tenants of the presence of bed bugs in a unit whether or not they were directly affected. Also included the term “knew, or should have known,” in the section of the bill the prohibited the rental of units with bed bugs. As a result of SDCAA opposition, the term was removed and the language changed to “prohibits landlords from renting units in which they know bedbugs exist.” This was a long, hard fought battle, ending in a positive way for SDCAA. As of this writing, the bill is on the Governor’s desk.
SB 7 (Wolk) - SDCAA was opposed unless amended. As amended SDCAA was Neutral. SB 7 requires the installation of submeters in multi-unit rental housing units built after Jan. 1, 2018, and that residents receive accurate information about the volume and cost of their water use. The bill clarifies how multifamily property owners can charge tenants for water use, and it allows for late fees and eviction when tenants don’t pay their bills. The bill does not affect existing properties without submeters where tenants are billed separately through ratio-allocation utility systems (RUBS). SDCAA worked tirelessly to have the bill amended so it would be workable for property owners. It took some doing, but we eventually got to that place. The bill also exempts the City of San Diego from the effects of the legislation as they already have a local water submetering ordinance in place. As of this writing, the bill is on the Governor’s desk.
Flawed Masking Bill Becomes Law
AB 2819 (Chiu) - The San Diego County Apartment Association strongly opposed this bill. Under California’s unlawful detainer (UD) “masking” law,” UD court filings are hidden from public view for 60-days following the initial court filing, and then are unmasked. If during this period the tenant prevails, the filing is permanently masked.
AB 2819 will permanently mask all UD actions, unless the rental property owner obtains a judgment in court within 60-days. The bill unfairly places on property owners ALL costs, burdens, and responsibilities for ensuring public notice of tenant defaults.
AB 2819 will unfairly keep a majority of all UD actions hidden from public view. Most property owners who get possession of their properties before a UD proceeding concludes do not go back to court for a judgment. There is no incentive to do so. They’ve already lost months of rent, and they’ve paid court and attorney fees to file the UD action. The last thing they should be required to do is pay more court and attorney fees to get a judgment. Because judgments will not be sought, thousands upon thousands of rent default records will remain hidden from public view.
Requiring property owners to obtain a judgment in order to unmask a UD proceeding only serves to promote more delays and frivolous claims. UDs are supposed to be expeditious proceedings, and one of the few policies that encourage resolution is the masking law. Because proceedings become unmasked at the 60-day mark, parties are encouraged to settle or complete trial within that period. This bill removes the incentive to settle quickly, while encouraging the practice of lodging baseless and meritless claims to further delay proceedings.
Property owners have the right to know whether a prospective tenant is a serial rent defaulter or vexatious litigant. AB 2819 unfairly keeps rental property owners in the dark and from knowing the truth about prospective tenants. We sent a letter and met with the Governor’s staff on this bill. SDCAA also sent Legislative Calls-to-Action asking members to request a Veto. Thank you to all those that called or wrote. Unfortunately, we received word late on Tuesday, September 13 that Governor Brown signed the bill. SDCAA will work to advise members on the implications of this law.
SDCAA supported several bills this year as well, several of which passed and are expected to become law. These included bills to make it easier to develop second units and improve the usefulness of the Density Bonus program. While some other supported bills, such as those to fix abuses in the unlawful detainer process did not make it through the legislature, we remain positive that we can pursue legislation in the coming years that will make it easier for you to do business. The Legislature will return in December for a brief organizational session (elect Speaker, to swear-in the members, etc.). They will then return in January to begin the first year of a new two-year session.