02 February 2011
A bill that will be introduced by the tenant lobby this year will be to reverse part of Palmer/Sixth Street Properties, L.P., et al., v City of Los Angeles. The ruling held that the City of Los Angeles’ affordable housing requirements on new residential rentals conflict with state law on rent control limitations (commonly referred to the Costa Hawkins Act) and other state laws. Cities and counties will join the tenant rights groups in legislation that will roll back laws beneficial to our industry. This could affect the singlefamily home exemption from rent control, permitting fees, the new construction exemption from rent control laws, transfer fees, anti speculation fees on owners who sell properties frequently, and more.
A bill that has been re-introduced this year is AB 19 (Fong), a bill that is sponsored by the Sierra Club and should garner the support of water districts throughout the state. It proposed to ban landlords from charging for water and sewer fees if the property has a master water meter. Last year we killed the identical bill before the Senate Appropriations Committee. This is a precedent setting bill, which could have broad implications to existing properties that have master water meters. This will not be the only water bill adversely affecting property owners even though the legislature has, through the past few years, approved legislation requiring:
All cities and counties to have a water landscape efficiency ordinance.
Most residential, commercial and industrial property owners to retrofit interior plumbing to fixtures that use less water.
Once again Assembly Tony Mendoza has re-introduced a bill (AB 22) that proposes to prohibit a landlord or manager from obtaining a credit report on most job applicants, including job seekers who apply for jobs requiring rent collection and processing rental applications.
Cities and counties who are disparate for a permanent source of income for affordable housing will join forces with low-income housing advocates to sponsor a bill that will propose a documentary transfer fee on real property transfers of $75 per document and may propose to require that landlords pay interest on security deposits to a new state housing trust fund.
Of course legislation relating to the foreclosure crises will continue to be pushed by legislative leaders. It is unavoidable that further sanctions will be proposed. One of the pieces of this complex puzzle will be to continue to advance new bills protecting residential tenants from being evicted and new disclosure requirements.
We also expect the re-introduction of a bill that was killed in the Senate last year that would have prohibited a landlord from obtaining a criminal background check on job applicants. This is particularly important in light of recent judicial rulings, longstanding law, and the need to carefully and legally comply with the law when reviewing job applicant’s qualifications.
Of course we must expect challenges to the costs and levels of governmental services in light of the passage of Proposition 22 and 26, mandate of the electorate, and Governor Brown’s planned budget.
We should also see bills affecting the eviction process, sex offender domicile and registry requirements, affordable housing requirements, disclosure and remedies of bed bugs and so much more.