31 August 2003
This was the most difficult legislative year we have ever faced. A small sampling of what we faced includes: potential statewide rent control (AB 1256); mandatory inclusionary zoning on new and rehabilitated units (SB 178); criminal penalties against owners who assert their rights (AB 1059); shorter periods to process security deposits or lose the right to deduct for repairs (SB 90); loss of the right to collect rent based upon minor housing code violations (AB 647); smoking laws that would turn owners into tobacco cops (AB 210); and legislation that would have made it impossible to screen tenants who had been evicted from other units and would have allowed tenants to pay rent even after failing to comply with a three day notice all the way up to the point of judgment (SB 345). To make matters worse, we were confronted by a very liberal Legislature and recall politics that caused the Governor to shift to the left, leaving us with very little hope that bad bills would be vetoed.
Had these bills passed as they were introduced, the impact on owners would have been measurable in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.
We are pleased to report that we came out of the year in very good shape. Every bill we faced was negotiated to our satisfaction. Given what could have happened, this year, we spun straw into gold. (See Legislative Reports in the magazine for more detail.)
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2004
As we enter into 2004, we now have an ally in the Governor’s office. Arnold Schwarzenegger has pledged to make California business friendly and we intend to make sure that he knows that operating rental property is one of California’s most important businesses. But, it would be a huge mistake to rely on this alone. We still face strong threats from the liberal elements in the Assembly and Senate that seek to promote social justice at the expense of property owners.
Several legislators still want rent and eviction control all over the state. They still want to transfer equity from you to tenants and if they cannot get it directly, they will subject you to death by a thousand regulatory bites.
As we have stated many times in the past, owner participation in the association is crucial to our success. We cannot protect your interests unless we have your full support. That includes your membership and your active participation in writing emails, red alerts, and being the front line troops that help us tell the real story of what it takes to provide housing to California’s tenants.
With your help,we can continue to beat them back. Let’s move the agenda back to the middle and make this a truly housing friendly state.