California Proposes New Rental Housing and Employment Legislation

As September comes to an end, it’s time for the California Governor, Jerry Brown, to make some decisions on legislation. As bills pass over his desk, let’s take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline and what’s been approved.

This bill requires each city or county to meet the minimum housing production goal (as is written in their general development plan) in order to be eligible to receive a portion of the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program’s remaining funds. This bill, co-sponsored by the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors, was approved by the Governor on September 5th.

Landlords will now have to wait longer before starting the eviction process. Supported by Assemblyman David Chiu (D – San Francisco), the eviction notice wait time would exclude judicial holidays (including Saturday and Sunday). These provisions will become operative on September 1, 2019.

Protection for Tenant’s and property owner’s right to call law enforcement or emergency assistance on behalf of a victim of abuse, crime or an individual emergency that the caller believes needs law enforcement or emergency assistance to prevent or deescalate. AB 2413 would also prohibit landlords from retaliating against victims or their households for contacting law enforcement or emergency assistance (in this context). Current law (in relation to an unlawful detainer) allows the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or elder/dependent adult abuse to attach a documented copy of a restraining, protection order, or report by a peace officer. This law would also allow the victim to provide a statement from a qualified 3rd party.

PENDING: Preventing Sexual Harassment

In the wake of the #MeToo movement (a campaign that works to bring light to sexual assault and harassment), focus has shifted towards correcting and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. The main focus of many of these bills is requiring training about harassment to be provided to all companies that have 5 or more employees. In the current political climate within California, it is expected that many of these will pass. These bills are:

Numerous changes to the California Fair Housing Act (FEHA), including at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all employees for Californian employers with more than 5 employees. It would also prohibit employers from allowing employees from signing a release of FEHA claims in exchange for a raise or bonus.

Like SB1300, this bill requires employers with 5+ employees to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all employees. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) would also be required to publish a two-hour training course for employers.

Californian employers (with 50+ employees) would be required to retain records of sexual harassment complaints for 10 years under this bill.

This bill would amend the California Labor Code to provide additional protections for victims of sexual harassment and would prohibit an employer from firing, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee due to their status as a victim of sexual harassment.

Presented by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D – Palo Alto), this bill would create an exemption for multifamily residential housing projects from CEQA. Certain conditions must be met in order to qualify for this exemption, but this bill would help to solve some of the demands of the housing crisis by removing some of the hurdles for apartment construction.

Perhaps good news for college students, this bill would open the gates for more student housing. Density bonuses will be provided if all the units in the development will be used by full-time students (enrolled in an accredited university) and if the developer agrees that at least 20% of that rental housing will be used for low-income students. Sponsored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D – Berkeley), this would potentially provide affordable housing for students who need a place near campus.

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Comments (2)

  1. Reply

    CA. lawmakers seem to be making still more laws favoring tenants over property owners rights. Sadly CA. is quickly becoming the land of tenants, not owners. CA. is continually placing more restrictions on businesses, further eroding our business base heading to more business friendly states with lower taxes and more favorable business climates. I find it unbelievable the CEQA doesn’t mind polluting our cities and towns with more dense housing while becoming insanely hostile towards businesses, thereby causing job loss. The way to creating more affordable housing is by reducing the time and money required for the permit process, etc. Sacramento and local governments continue to restrict the supply of housing through more price controls, more taxes and fees, more costly and time consuming labor and environmental regulations,more zoning restrictions and then wonder why prices continue to rise more that the rest of the country and why we have such a severe housing affordability crisis.

    • Reply

      I agree. There’s definitely been a huge shift towards tenant-friendly legislation over the past five years, and while I understand the frustration of tenants over the affordable housing crisis, the amount of rental housing legislation that’s proposed each legislative session is a bit excessive. Curious to see if our next governor will be as pro-tenant as Gov. Brown is.

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