Gov. Brown Signs His Last Californian Rental Housing Laws

With the California governor race between Gavin Newsom (D) and John H. Cox (R) months away, Governor Jerry Brown has been busy these past few weeks sign his last rental housing laws into effect before he retires in January. Ranging from new balcony inspection requirements to a handful of eviction changes, be mindful of these 12 passed rental housing bills as you move forward.

Landlords will now have to wait longer before starting the eviction process. The eviction notice wait time excludes judicial holidays (including Saturday and Sunday). These provisions will become operative on September 1, 2019.

Existing law allows rental properties in the City of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and Sacramento to file for an action on an unlawful detainer to abate the nuisance caused by illegal conduct involving unlawful weapons or ammunition. This law was going to sunset on January 1, 2019, but now that AB 2930 has passed, the sunset date has been extended to January 1, 2024 and additional unlawful detainer provisions have been added.

Buildings with 3 or more multifamily dwelling units are required to have an inspection of exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements (including decks and balconies) to reveal any conditions that pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the tenants. These inspections must be completed by January 1, 2025, with subsequent inspections required every 6 years (some exceptions available). A copy of the completed inspection report would be required to remain in the owner’s records for 2 inspection cycles.

Each city or county is now required to meet their 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 protects the 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. Landlords are prohibited from retaliating against victims or their households for contacting law enforcement or emergency assistance (in this context).

Existing law relating to unlawful detainers allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or elder/dependent adult abuse can attach a documented copy of a restraining, protection order, or report by a peace officer. This law now allows victims to use a qualified 3rd party statement as well.

Some multifamily residential housing projects are now exempt from CEQA regulations. Certain conditions must be met in order to qualify for this exemption.

A person, business, or other entity that increases the monthly rental price of an existing or prospective tenant by more than 10% during a declaration of emergency can now incur a misdemeanor. It is also a misdemeanor to evict a tenant after the proclamation of a state of an emergency for the purpose of renting the property out. A state-mandated local program will be established in the future to monitor and manage this new crime.

In zones where multifamily and mixed uses are permitted, supporting housing is now permitted. Supporting housing is low income housing that has no limit on the length of stay, and caters to those with disabilities, including mental illness, HIV or AIDS, substance abuse or other chronic health conditions.

Perhaps good news for college students, this bill opens the gates for more student housing. Developments can achieve a density bonus if all the units are used by full-time students (enrolled in an accredited university) and if at least 20% of that rental housing is used by low-income students.

The Homeless Coordinating Council will now oversee and administer grant programs for homeless young people and families, funded from funds appropriated by the Legislature, federal funds, special fund money, and gifts and donations. No more than 40% of the total funds granted in a year will be used to establish, expand, or operate shelter programs, with the rest dedicated to direct homeless aid.

This creates the Orange County Housing Finance Trust for the purpose of funding housing for low income and homeless persons.

Inconsistent zoning standards (after July 1, 2022) that are within ½ a mile of any existing or planned Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART) station will change to local zoning. This will allow more affordable residential housing units to be built closer to BART stations.

Do you Agree or Disagree on any of the bills Gov. Brown has Passed?

Let us know in the comments!

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