On Tuesday afternoon in Oakland, Governor Gavin Newsom joined members of the State Legislature, local elected officials, and tenants’ rights and housing advocates for a bill signing ceremony.  Then, on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles and San Diego, the Governor signed more housing bills.

We are thrilled to report that included among the bills signed so far this week are major pieces of legislation that emerged out of the regional CASA Compact process and were promoted by the “3Ps” Coalition during this legislative year. Here are some highlights:

AB 1482 (Chiu) establishes a statewide cap on annual rent increases at 5% plus inflation and includes just cause eviction protections. Newsom, who engaged in negotiations with the California Apartment Association (CAA) on the bill’s provisions at the end of the legislative session, touted the legislation as representing the strongest renter protections in the nation. This will be a major expansion of protections for renter across Santa Clara County. In San Jose, for example, the units currently under rent control will continue to be subject to the City’s requirements. However, units built after November 1978 and before 2005 will be impacted by the new rules. It is important to note that the bill does not impact existing rent control ordinances that may have stricter requirements.

SB 330 (Skinner), the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, for a period of five years, among other provisions, prohibits downzonings, housing moratoria, and caps on building permits. In Santa Clara County, this bill would have limited Gilroy’s recent actions to create a development moratorium, and may bring into question Morgan Hill’s system of restricting annual housing permits.

AB 1486 (Ting) strengthens the State Surplus Land Act by, among other provisions, clarifying the public agencies to which the Act applies, and revising the definitions of “surplus” and “agency use,” and list of exemptions. While jurisdictions are required to make surplus property available for affordable housing development, many communities have resisted the State’s requirements with San Jose currently being sued for claiming that its charter city status exempts officials from complying. Also, SB 6 (Beall) creates at the state level a centralized database of surplus and vacant land to help affordable housing developers identify sites more quickly.

AB 1487 (Chiu) establishes the San Francisco Bay Area Housing Finance Authority and authorizes the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to serve as the governing board of the authority and place affordable housing revenue ballot measures before the region’s voters. The legislation also authorizes the Executive Board of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to impose a commercial linkage fee on new commercial development in an amount not to exceed $10 per square foot, to fund affordable housing programs after voters have approved a broader regional ballot measure. This bill was sponsored by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) and Enterprise Community Partners – Northern California. The two groups will lead a coalition advocating for a regional affordable housing funding measure which they hope will be placed on the November 2020 ballot.

AB 68 (Ting) and SB 13 (Wieckowski) are bills to facilitate the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Among other provisions, AB 68 would disallow local requirements on ADUs for lot coverage and minimum lot size and would require a local jurisdiction to approve or deny a permit application within 60 days of receipt. SB 13 would, among other provisions, prohibit impact fees on ADUs less than 750 square feet and create an amnesty program for substandard ADUs.

AB 1483 (Grayson) requires cities, counties, and special districts to place on their web sites the current schedule of fees, exactions, and affordability requirements to be imposed on a proposed housing development. Sunshining the number and amount of fees required of development is important, as increasing fees are one reason that residential development has become so expensive in the Bay Area.

Governor Newsom also signed a bill this week which state and local advocates have pushed for for many years, SB 329 (Mitchell), which prohibits landlords from rejecting a rental application solely because the prospective tenant would use a Housing Choice Voucher or other public assistance or subsidy source to pay the rent. The County of Santa Clara and City of San Jose have recently adopted similar local ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on source of income.

Governor Newsom continues to act on bills this week and has until this Sunday to finish. Once the legislative session concludes, SV@Home will provide more detailed information about key bills on its website.

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