2017 was undoubtedly a busy year for multifamily legislation. With bills like California’s immigrant housing protections and the City of Seattle’s ban on criminal records within background reports, you’ll start to feel the effects of these passed bills this year. Take a look at pending and future multifamily housing legislation that could affect properties across the U.S. in 2018, and be aware of legislative trends that surfaced last year. One prominent bill in one state could very easily turn up in another state down the road.
Congress’s H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” passed on November 16th and it is now up to the Senate to vote on this bill. According to the New York Times, Republican party leaders are hoping to bring it to the Senate floor by this Friday. While the rental housing industry has been relatively optimistic about this bill, provisions (like the removal of private activity bonds within the low-income housing tax credit) raise concerns.
If you weren’t aware of rent control legislation, now is the time to be active. Bills proposing rent control (as well as restrictions on eviction and criminal records) have become an alarming trend within the multifamily housing industry. Just last week, I went with other CIC™ tenant screening experts to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of the National Consumer Reporting Association. Our big concern is that without access to eviction or criminal records, property owners and managers like you will not have the information to determine if a rental applicant is a risk or not. While plenty of owners combat potential risk by raising the rent or fees, if rent control measures pass, that option will no longer be accessible.
Unfortunately, states like California, Oregon, Illinois, and Maine have already been targeted by rent control activists – and it seems like this is only the beginning. Take a look to see what multifamily legislation has passed and failed this November, and what bills will likely be reviewed in the Spring of 2018.
Governor Brown has recently signed a “ban the box” employment bill into law. AB 1008 further restricts California employers’ abilities to use criminal records when making an employment decision. This not only affects your employment process and job application, but this amendment also affects your denial process (if based on the applicant’s criminal history).
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch ruled that Colorado’s sex offender registry law was unconstitutional early this September, citing the Eighth Amendment’s “cruel and unusual punishment”, as it impeded on offender’s ability to find work or housing after completing probation and parole. While this ruling has no immediate effect, even on the three sex offenders who wanted to remove their information from the registry, if the case is appealed and upheld by the federal 10th Circuit (which includes courts in Colorado, Kansas, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Oklahoma), then it would be binding.
With the deadline close, Gov. Brown has finally signed the bulk of the proposed California multifamily housing legislation. While none of the newly passed legislation will affect your tenant screening, you might want to review your rental application and leasing documents. Take a look at the multifamily housing legislation we’ve had our eye on below!
A California housing immigration bill, AB 291, passed the senate on September 6, 2017 and is currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. This bill would prohibit landlords and property managers from inquiring into the immigration or citizenship status of a rental applicant or tenant, and from providing that information to law enforcement. While it is uncertain whether or not the Governor will sign this California housing immigration bill, it is extremely likely that he will. Moving forward, you should reevaluate your policies if this bill is enacted.
The time has come for our quarterly legislation update! With this September’s multifamily legislation carrying bills that threaten rent control, relocation fees, and game changers regarding eviction records, there are quite a few bills you should be following. As we’ve seen with rent control and ban-the-box legislation this past year, it is easy for a bill in one state to become a popular trend for other states. Take a look below at what September has in store for multifamily legislation.
On August 23rd, 2017 Ed Murray, the Mayor of the City of Seattle, signed into law an ordinance restricting the use of criminal background information for resident screening. Aiming to lower the barriers to housing for applicants who have ‘served their time’, the law holds the same sentiment as the city’s Fair Chance Employment ordinance, but puts the burden on the multifamily industry this time. This law will become effective 30 days after it is expected to be signed, on September 23rd, 2017.
California lawmakers reconvened yesterday, on August 21st, from their summer recess and began to tackle hundreds of pending housing legislation. Since the beginning of 2017, legislation targeting affordable housing, creating rental controls, and enforcing “just cause” evictions have been the trend. As both the House and the Senate begin to vote on important California housing legislation, now would be a good time to review what’s at stake with a few of these bills.