14 September 2011
Some issues never go away. Take, for example, rent control—a term that should be recognized for what it is: price control of privately-owned rental housing.
Just a few months ago, we were instrumental in killing SB 184 (Leno). This bill would guarantee that local governments could enact and enforce residential rent control on newly-constructed rental units and price controls on newly-constructed ownership dwellings.
The bill was packaged as an "inclusionary housing" bill. It also would have prohibited property owners from pursuing lawful, legal remedies against any city or county for violating price restraints on privately owned housing.
The author has promised to bring the bill up for another vote on the Senate floor in January 2012. He claims he is closer than ever to securing the number of votes necessary to send the bill to the Assembly. This is a bill that the Apartment Association is strongly opposed to and will not compromise on. Rent control is a core issue for the Association.
Just a month ago, housing advocates tried to insert amendments into AB 710 (Skinner), a bill that proposes to limit local government parking standards on new housing developments within transit oriented development zones. The amendments would have imposed mandatory price controls on new rental housing within these districts and would have made it extremely difficult for landlords to go out of business consistent with the "Ellis Act."
We were the ONLY association to express strong opposition to the housing advocate's proposals. While the amendmentswere not successful, we can expect constant attempts to amend legislation that would assure price regulation of housing we own or manage
ADA Claims Right to Cure Violations
A couple of months ago, SB 783 (Dutton) failed before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a bill that would have required prelitigation procedural requirements upon the filing of a claim under the state's civil rights and equal access laws, including violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The bill, supported by AACSC, represented a reasonable response to a surge in frivolous claims of non-compliance with legal access requirements. We argued that there is a greater public benefit that is achieved through corrective physical action than claimed monetary punishment.
SB 783 would have required the aggrieved party, prior to the filing of any claim, to serve a notice on the owner of the property detailing the specific federal or state law of which the property is argued to be in violation, the identity of the person harmed by the violation, the possible violations that have been identified, stating the facts constituting the violation and the rights of the owner to respond.
Senator Dutton's bill would have granted the property owner 30 days from the date of the notice to respond by expressly stating that improvements will be made to bring the property in compliance with the laws. The owner would have another 120 days from the date the response is received by the aggrieved party to complete those improvements, challenge the validity of the alleged violation, and state that the alleged violations have been corrected and attach evidence that verifies the improvements.
If the violations are corrected within the 120-day period, an award of damages would be prohibited.
Victims of Domestic Violence Bill Signed Into Law
AACSC was the only apartment association to support AB 588 (V. Manuel Perez), a bill that the Governor recently signed into law. Existing law allows a tenant to terminate his or her lease within 60- days of a restraining order, emergency protective order, or written report by a peace officer alleging that the tenant, or household member, is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This bill extends that protection by allowing those tenants to provide a notice to terminate tenancy in a lease agreement with 180 days or an order or report.
Our Association has strongly supported Interval House, a Los Angeles and Orange County crisis shelter for victims of domestic violence. We have learned aggressors do not necessarily stop acts of violence based on restraining orders, emergency protective orders or written reports by peace officers. We have long been aware that victims face violent abusers many weeks after the issuance of court orders or police reports. Accordingly, Perez's bill should provide additional and needed protection for survivors of domestic violence.