SB 50, the controversial proposal in the California legislature that would have rolled back zoning requirements in urban areas around transit, fell three votes short of the 21 needed to advance to the State Assembly.
Senate Bill 50 was aimed at scaling back local zoning rules that limit the density of housing near transit lines and job centers. There are reports that the bill could return for reconsideration. But the clock is ticking for Sen. Scott Wiener to collect votes. Under the Legislature’s rules, the bill would need to clear the Senate by last Friday in order to advance to the Assembly.
Speaking on the Senate floor , Wiener argued that restrictions on the scale of new buildings imposed by cities and counties in the last 50 years have exacerbated the state’s affordable housing shortage and smog-producing urban sprawl.
“We have a policy in California that it’s not a priority to have enough housing for those who need it,” said Wiener. “Restrictive zoning puts a hard cap on our ability to get out of this housing crisis.”
Allowing developers to construct larger apartment buildings in areas already well-served by transit, argued Wiener, would also give more people alternatives to driving.
In its current form, SB 50 would reduce minimum parking requirements and density restrictions applied to housing developments near train stations, bus stops with frequent service, and areas with a high number of jobs. Cities would also have to allow up to four units on lots now exclusively reserved for single-family homes.
Local governments would have until 2023 to come up with their own plans to add more housing units and decrease transportation emissions—or abide by the rules laid out in the bill.
Impact for Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, where the bill could impact zoning rules for nearly half the city’s land, the City Council voted unanimously last year to oppose SB 50. Echoing criticisms from affordable housing advocates, local leaders argued that the bill did not do enough to address the needs of low-income renters who would likely be unable to afford newly built apartments without affordability requirements.
The bill has since been amended, and Wiener said the previous week that affordability requirements would be added in the coming months. He also emphasized that the bill includes demolition protections to avoid renter displacement—and that Los Angeles would be effectively exempted from many of SB 50’s provisions due to existing incentives for affordable housing development near transit.
“We’re not all the way on this bill, but we’ll get there,” he said.
Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said promises of future affordability measures and anti-gentrification stipulations already added weren’t enough to address the concerns of both renters and homeowners in areas impacted by redlining and other segregationist policies.
“Single-family homeowners are not a monolithic group,” said Mitchell, pointing out that many of the South LA residents she represents own their homes. “We have single-family homeowners that are holding on by their fingernails.”
Wiener spokesperson Catie Stewart says the senator hasn’t “figured out next steps yet” but is “committed to addressing the housing crisis.”
Newsom Signs Bills Affecting Housing
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law last week meant to address the housing/homeless crisis. AB 1482 caps rent increases in multi-family structures, SB 330 other limits public hearings on developments. READ MORE
C.A.R. Red Alert – Restrictive Rent Caps
UPDATE – Sept. 10, 2019: Senate Passes 1482
The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk; he has said he will sign it.
Assembly Passes AB 1482
Now Assemblymember David Chiu, author of AB 1482, essentially combined two with newly amended bill text:
This bill would, with certain exceptions, prohibit an owner of residential property from terminating the lease of a tenant that has occupied the property for at least 12 months without just cause, as defined.
The bill would require, for certain just cause terminations that are curable, that the owner give a notice of violation and an opportunity to cure the violation prior to issuing the notice of termination. The bill would require, for no-fault just cause terminations, as specified, that the owner assist certain tenants to relocate, regardless of the tenant’s income, by providing a direct payment of one month’s rent to the tenant, as specified. […] The bill would repeal these provisions as of January 1, 2023.
In this case, a “just cause” means failure to pay rent, “substantial breach of a material term of the rental agreement, […] refusal, by the tenant to sign a new lease that is identical to the previous lease, after the previous lease expired,” illegal conduct, damage to the unit, and similar complaints, according to Curbed.
C.A.R. OPPOSES UNLESS AMENDED
C.A.R. has been negotiating in good faith with the bills’ authors in an attempt to make reasonable amendments to both bills, thus removing C.A.R.’s opposition. As of now, those negotiations have stalled. As a result, C.A.R. OPPOSES both AB 1482 (Chiu), which creates a very restrictive statewide rent cap, and AB 1481 (Grayson and Bonta), which establishes statewide “just cause” evictions.
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Urge Your Senator to Oppose Legislation that Forces Landlords to Participate in Section 8!
C.A.R. OPPOSES SB 329 (Mitchell) because it effectively forces ALL residential rental property owners to participate in the voluntary Section 8 housing program by entering into a legally binding contract with a government agency – the provisions of which may be extremely difficult to fulfill. SB 329 will be considered as soon as TODAY on the Senate Floor.
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CVAR is urging members to do their part to fight upcoming legislation that could devastate the California real estate industry.
The work that RAF and RPAC do includes raising and spending money to educate and elect candidates who understand and support issues that are important to our industry. We know that REALTORS® can make a difference. Each year CVAR sends REALTOR® members who support RAF to Sacramento to Legislative Day, sponsored by C.A.R., to meet and educate our legislators about issues impacting real estate.
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