Sacramento Report

Pet Policy Gone Wild

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New “assistance animals” regulations proposed by the Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) will likely cause heartburn in the rental housing community. The attempt to bring clarity in the murky area of service and support animal needs versus fraud is fraught with ambiguity. It is understandable why rental property owners are confused about the law, existing and proposed. Unless you’re a lawyer who regularly studies these issues, it is hard to know where one assistance animal law begins and another one ends. When does “reasonable accommodation” become unreasonable? Ultimately, rental property owners are scared of being sued and, therefore, often choose to allow support animals onto their property, even when they suspect fraud is being perpetrated on them.

But owners have very important, reasonable and necessary reasons for having a no-pets policy. Animals can be dangerous, spread disease, interfere with the quiet enjoyment of others, and damage property. An owner’s right to keep animals off a property, unless to accommodate a person with a real need, therefore, must be protected. Unfortunately, current laws, including future laws under this Proposal, fail to protect owners from those fraudulently gaining access for their animals to rental properties.

Rental housing owners and managers support and understand the need for providing reasonable accommodations to those who legitimately need an emotional support animal, as these animals (or “comfort animals”) can provide a therapeutic benefit to those with a mental or psychiatric disability.

We also recognize that service and support animal fraud is rampant and easily perpetrated under our current laws and regulations. More and more individuals are pretending their pets are legitimate service or emotional support animals when, in fact, the person has no legitimate need for the animal or the animal itself is not legitimately a service or support animal. Ultimately, that is the main concern we have expressed in regard to FEHC’s Proposal: the proposed regulations do little to protect rental property owners from fraudulent requests for support animals.

Support and service animal fraud is widespread in our society. Fake assistance animals are everywhere. Multiple news reports suggest that it is more than a few bad apples that are perpetrating the fraud. Rental property owners should not be forced to accommodate people who are perpetrating fraud on them, nor should laws and regulations facilitate such fraud. Unfortunately, this Proposal does just that, because it contains few, if any, effective anti-abuse mechanisms to prevent people from gaming the system.

People requesting a reasonable accommodation for a support animal should have a legitimate disability that requires them to have a support animal. They should have a real diagnosis and prescription for a support animal by a real medical or mental health professional with expertise to give an opinion about the disability at issue and the need for a service or support animal. The disability diagnosis and need for a support animal should also be current. Any one with a real disability and a real need for a sup port animal should have this kind of documentation. Without these standards, there are no standards. Anyone could self-diagnose, tell their friends or “peer support group” they have a disability and a need for a support animal, and then use that friend or group as a source to verify their disability. Alternatively, a person who was diagnosed with a disability five years ago, and who might not currently have a disability or need for an accommodation, could use that stale prescription to game the system. We are sure that this is not the way the law is supposed to work.
We submitted, on behalf of the Association, detailed comments on the FEHC’s Assistance Animal Proposal, including a number of ways the Proposal is deficient in preventing fraud and subject to abusive conduct:

  • Diagnosis or assessment by a licensed medical or mental health professional is not required.
  • The need for a support animal is not required to be a current need.
  • The person verifying a person’s disability or need for an accommodation does not need to be a medical or mental health professional or need to have specific training or education about support animals.
  • When an owner knows about a disability but not the need for an accommodation, the owners should still be able to request reliable information describing the needed accommodation and the nexus between disability and accommodation.

A meaningful review of a requested accommodation should allow rental property owners to make reasonable requests for certain reliable documents from reliable sources that are specifically defined. The following is a list of provisions that should be contained within the regulation to prevent fraud and abuse, and to ensure that reasonable accommodations are provided to those with legitimate needs:

  • Owners should be able to require disability and need for accommodation verification documents to come from a licensed medical or mental health professional.
  • The documentation should describe the nature, severity and duration of the disability.
  • The disability, need for the accommodation, and verifying documentation should be current (i.e., not more than one year old), and on letterhead from a mental health professional.
  • The medical or mental health professionals must have expertise to give an opinion about the person’s medical condition and the need for the accommodation.
  • Owners should be able to request new verification documents if the previous “doctor’s note” was not described as permanent.
  • The person seeking the accommodation must be under the current care of the prescribing medical or mental health professional.
  • Verification from a “letter mill” should be prohibited entirely.

Our comment letter to FEHC on assistive animals high lighted all the ways in which the Proposal represents an unbalanced approach to addressing the issue of assistive animals in rental housing. We discussed the failure of the Proposal to consider the quiet enjoyment of other tenants, nuisance issues, the safety and health of other tenants, pet fraud, and the need for rental housing providers to be able to establish reasonable rules for tenants who are provided a reasonable accommodation. In short, the needs of property owners and other tenants are not properly accounted for or taken into consideration, and the Proposal should be amended to better reflect the realities of landlord tenant relationships and the respective needs of each group.

Limited Housing Supply and Costs

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Overview

Rental property owners and developers are easy targets to blame for California’s newest round of housing affordability issues and shortages. It is unfortunate because the misguided blame may lead to significantly harsher regulations over the industry in the coming years—regulations that will likely serve to perpetuate and exacerbate the problem in the long run.

California’s Housing Shortage and Affordability Problems

The problem is well documented. California does not have enough housing to meet demand. In fact, according to a recent independent report by the State’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, the State produces 100,000 fewer housing units than is needed to meet demand.1 Supply and demand economics are therefore in full force here in the State. When everyone is competing for the same limited supply of housing, costs are going to go up.

But supply and demand is not the only driving force creating affordability and shortage problems. Community resistance to housing, stringent environmental policies, lack of fiscal incentives for local governments to approve housing, limited land, lack of incentives for developers to build, burden some government regulations, long and difficult permitting process, and the high cost of building all serve to constrain new housing construction.2

And it is not just the popular and dense coastal urban areas of California that are impacted by the current shortage. As people get priced out of major cities, they begin to migrate inland; ultimately creating a supply and demand problem that in creases housing costs, rents, and prices in sub urban and other inland areas.

The shortage and affordability issues create widespread problems for all Californians, and those seeking to move here. Rents become unaffordable for more and more people. People are forced to move further away from where they work, or move out of state completely. It discourages people from living in California, which not only impacts the State’s economy, it keeps California businesses from attracting the most qualified people to work for them. Rental property owners also feel the squeeze because local governments and State lawmakers begin passing laws aimed at regulating the rental and construction industries.

What the Experts Recommend

In 2015, the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) provided recommendations to the California Legislature about how to begin addressing California’s housing issues. In sum, it told the Legislature that it needed to pass laws to help facilitate the development of market rate housing in coastal areas. The LAO followed up with a report in 2016 after certain tenant advocacy groups expressed concerns that building market rate housing will not help low-income tenants, and that the Legislature should focus on regulations that help low-income tenants, such as stronger rent controls. The LAO’s response was swift and clear:

“Many housing programs—vouchers, rent control, and inclusionary housing—attempt to make housing more affordable without increasing the overall supply of housing. This approach does very little to address the underlying cause of California’s high housing costs: a housing shortage. Any approach that does not address the state’s housing shortage faces the following problems.”3

The LOA went on to state voucher programs, rent control and inclusionary housing programs only help select few, while doing nothing in terms of addressing the real problems. Forcing rental property owners to provide below market rate does not reduce or eliminate competition, the driv ing force of supply and demand economics. More over, forcing owners and developers to provide below market rate rentals ultimately discourages development and improvement of rental property.

Government’s Reaction to the Housing Problems

So how have the State and local governments responded to the housing shortage? To begin with, in 2017, the Legislature introduced over 130 housing related bills, nearly 50 percent more than typical legislative years. Among the bills are ones that help generate funding to build affordable housing and remove obstacles to development. Then there are the ones that seek to regulate the rental property ownership and development industry.

On the supply side, a few bills are aimed at increasing funding to build affordable housing. ACA 11 (Caballero) imposes a quarter per cent sales tax to generate yearly funding for middle-income earner housing. SB 3 (Beall) is a 3-billion-dollar one-time State general obligation bond to build and rehabilitate low-income housing. SB 2 (Atkins) would impose a $75 fee on all real estate recordings (with the notable exception that the fee would not apply to a single-family home sale), which in turn would generate a regular stream of funding for affordable housing. While these bills promote development of housing, none of them increase market rate housing.

On the regulation side, there appears to be a target on the backs of rental property owners, managers and developers. Both on the State and local level, rent control is on the agenda. Despite consensus among experts that rent control does nothing to solve the State’s housing supply problems, and actually leads to the development of fewer homes, and homes remaining off the market, lawmakers continue to target rental property owners for regulation. AB 1506 (Bloom) is probably the worst bill in years.

It essentially allows all cities and counties in the State to adopt the strictest forms of rent control on all types of housing. Currently, under the Costa-Hawkins Act of 1995, newly constructed units and single-family homes are protected from rent control. Moreover, owners of controlled units are able to raise rents to market rate when a vacancy occurs.

Bloom’s bill would remove all of those protections, allowing local governments to control even vacant units (a form of rent control called “vacancy control”). Owners would be required to keep their rents artificially below markets forever.

Rent control, especially the most severe kind like vacancy control, makes building rental units cost prohibitive. Owners cannot make money off of them, so investors stop investing. Owners of current rental units eventually get out of the rental business because renting property be comes unprofitable. Ultimately, rent control increases the housing shortage problem, which then in creases competition and costs, and makes housing even more unaffordable. It also encourages legislative bodies to adopt additional restrictions on rental properties.

Assembly Member Bloom has since pulled his bill back for this year, but promised to bring it back next year with some amendments.

Several members of the Legislature that seek to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act or amend the Act to severely injure the important aspects of the Act join Assembly Member Bloom. Tenant groups are using AB 1506 as a plat form to organize and demand changes in several laws.

Inclusionary housing mandates are also back on the table. Inclusionary housing mandates force developers to build affordable housing units as part of a larger market rate development without the requirement of the government providing density bonuses or sufficient cost offsets. Without offsets, the costs associated with the “affordable units” are borne by the property owner and possibly the other tenants.

Again, the more burdensome development is, the less investors are inclined to develop. These kinds of mandates, as noted by the LAO, do nothing to address the housing shortage.

Locally, there are several communities considering adopting rent control regulations to address affordability issues. Rent control is a hot topic, promoted by well-organized tenant advocacy groups. It will continue to be discussed, and ultimately, some communities will cave. Communities that ordinarily would not have given a second thought to regulation a few years ago have recently considered rent control. Concord and Burlingame are just two of many examples that considered rent control. Other cities are “strengthening” rent control laws.

This past April, the City of Long Beach considered adopting an ordinance that would permit every tenant to use the same credit report for 90 days. One significant explanation to adopt the ordinance is the cost of credit reports is simply too expensive.

If rent control and inclusionary housing mandates have not captured your interest, the State administration, notably the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Council (DFEHC) has proposed three significant regulations that should affect every property owner and manager.

Occupancy limits have not changed in decades. If the DFEH draft regulation becomes law, owners and managers could not discriminate against tenants that want 15 occupants in a three-bedroom, nine occupants in a two-bedroom, and six occupants in a one-bedroom rental unit. Owners would no longer be permitted to advertise that a rental unit has a living room, dining room, and kitchenette because those rooms could be used as a bedroom.

The second draft regulation would sharply limit an owner’s/manager’s ability to refuse to rent to previously convicted felons. Our concerns are legitimate.

We are liable and subject to forfeiture and nuisance abatement laws for criminal activity on our property; we have the “unequivocal” right to deny registered sex offenders to “protect a person at risk or for some other reason.” We have the legal duty and moral obligation to keep tenants and property safe. And on top of all of this we would be required to understand how to consider a new legal standard… we would have to establish a legally-sufficient justification relating to criminal history information by proving that our screening standards are substantial and legitimate and nondiscriminatory without any guidance as to what those terms mean. We would even be required to understand the “nature and severity” and the appropriate amount of time that has passed since conviction and we are not given any specific guidance as to what those factors mean.

Finally, one very topical issue DFEHC is considering is adopting a regulation concerning emotional support animals. Unfortunately, the proposed regulation does not curb rampant support animal fraud. It does not adequately address verification requirements including: 1) assessment by a licensed medical or mental health professional; a prescription by a licensed professional; the need for the animal does not need to be current; and 2) the verification process does not discuss what additional information an owner can ask for and from what sources. The vagueness is concerning because of risk of asking the wrong question and the potential for a discrimination lawsuit. We are also very concerned that the draft regulations do not adequately consider the quiet enjoyment of other tenants, nuisance issues, and the safety and health of other tenants.

Rent control, price control, affordable housing mandates for new housing, tenant screening, use (or abuse) of credit reports, and occupancy limits represent just some of the major issues we are confronted with today. We hope you will join us in supporting the industry.

As one notable industry leader has said: join us at the table or you will be on the table.

Regulatory Bills Affecting New and Existing Housing

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On April 5 your Association leadership joined with leaders of other independent California NAA affiliates to meet with their legislators in Sacramento to discuss several important bills of special interest to owners and managers of residential rental housing. The largely unspoken underlying theme, of course, is what legislative action may be taken to address the obvious and growing California “housing crisis”—too few homes for too many people with too few private or public resources to address current needs as well as a gigantic backlog of unmet need. The repeal of the redevelopment law—both cursed and praised—left a huge billion dollar hole in tax pro ceeds dedicated to construct and improve low and moderate income housing. The disappearance of that sustainable source of funding has fostered a number of proposals for replacement, some modest and others bold. It also has generated a call from some quarters for more and severe regulation of ren tal housing. It is with that backdrop that your leader ship approached this year’s Lobby Day in Sacramento.

Legislators and their staff members were very cordial in making limited time available to address these important issues both in generality and specificity. We grouped to oppose several regulatory bills affecting both new and existing housing in juxtaposition with funding measures deserving of support notwithstanding their effect on taxes—a tough sell! As one might expect, we received mixed signals on the tax issue but largely favorable reactions on bills that we opposed.

At the top of bills to oppose was AB 1506 (Bloom), which would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, a significant 22-year old housing measure that excluded from rent control single-family homes and all developments built after 1995 (or earlier if a rent control ordinance exempted new construction from a specific point in time), while giving owners of existing housing stock in rent controlled communities the right to establish initial and subsequent rental rates. That 1995 Act was approved by the Legislature to put the brakes on local governments’ overreaching and strict rent control ordinances that were spreading throughout the State and negatively impacting the economy and the housing industry. Its repeal would usher in a new wave of local ordinances adopting the strictest forms of price and rent controls. The result would be catastrophic.

Following a similar regulatory trend are measures that would require inclusionary housing for moderate, low and very low income levels in all new develop ments. These include in varying degrees of specificity and detail: AB 1505 (Bloom), AB 915 (Ting) and SB 277 (Bradford). In many respects, the in clusionary housing requirements imposed on new construction are more onerous than a typical rent control ordinance because they require deed restricted occupancies based on income for up to 55 years or more.

In total, the regulatory approach to the housing shortage by keeping rental rates artificially below market necessarily reduces the income stream for improvements, maintenance and repair of existing units while, at the same time, negatively affecting the investment and development of much needed rental housing.

Money, money, money. Where to get the funds necessary to address all of California’s many needs? State funding priorities are like shifting sands in the desert.

Thanks to Proposition 98 and the education community, K-12 education funding takes the lion’s share right off the top of each year’s state budget. Everything else scrambles for second- or third-fiddle with barely more than a half of a loaf left. At this writing, the Senate is poised to vote and send to the Assembly a multi-billion dollar transportation mea sure to “fix” degraded highways and roadways through out the State. It constitutes a huge funding boost on top of an already very expensive State Department of Transportation. Where does housing fit in?

Without question, California needs more housing.

According to a recent report from the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, California has a housing shortage—we simply are not building enough homes to keep up with the high demand. This is particularly true for low-income rental units while middle-income households are priced out of buying homes. Over regulation, high development and permitting costs and a lack of consistent public funding have contributed to California’s housing shortage.

SB 3 and ACA 11 will help address California’s housing problems.

SB 3 (Beall) would authorize issuance of bonds in the amount of $3 billion to finance various existing housing programs. Bonds add more debt and are costly one-time affairs, not long-term sustainable, but certainly satisfy a near-term need.

ACA 11 (Caballero) would impose a 0.25 percent tax on all retailers to be placed in a newly created “California Middle Class Affordable Housing and Homeless Shelter Account” in the State General Fund for the support of local and state programs that assist in the development or acquisition of housing.

We support these bills not only because their passage will lead to a much needed boon in housing development, but also because these bills focus on building homes through bond and sales tax money instead of targeting the rental housing industry for regulation such as rent control and just cause for tenancy.

The State must continue to address the housing shortage problem through investing in affordable home development and rehabilitation, rental and homeownership assistance and community development. Targeting our industry with more regulations and eliminating rental property owner rights and protections such as under the Costa-Hawkins Act and Ellis Act will serve to drive up costs, force rental property owners out of business and reduce incentives to build, maintain and invest in more badly needed housing.

Our industry representatives did an outstanding job presenting compelling reasons to oppose AB 1506 and AB 1505 (Bloom), AB 915 (Ting) and SB 277 (Bradford) and support SB 3 (Beall) and ACA 11 (Caballero).

Floodgates

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About the same time that floodgates and emergency spillways were attempting to corral an abundance of water at the Oroville Dam and the Don Pedro Reservoir, the Capitol was inundated with a flood of a different kind—legislative proposals introduced en mass to beat the self-imposed deadline for bill introductions. Imagine, over 850 bills of all different stripes in the last day alone. What a way to celebrate a Presidents’ Day weekend!

Your legislative team has identified for close scrutiny and ongoing monitoring about 150 bills of the roughly 2,600 bills introduced this year. As usual, some of these bills have a direct effect on the ownership and management of residential rental property while others are more inclusive in scope. This column will report from time to time, in brief or in depth, on the more significant bills affecting the apartment industry. We start the discussion here with several of the most outrageous bills noted to date.

AB 1506 (Bloom)
would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, a decade-in-the-making measure to place restrictions on local government’s ability to enforce overly restrictive rent control ordinances. The Act was designed to curb the excesses of early Berkeley and Santa Monica styled rent control ordinances, exempted all new construction and single-family homes, among other provisions. Its repeal would devastate the housing industry because it would allow local governments to adopt restrictive and punitive forms of rent control.

AB 1505 (Bloom) would authorize local ordinances to require, as a condition of development of residential rental housing units, that the development include a certain percentage of units affordable to, and occupied by, households that do not exceed the income limits for moderate income, lower income, very low income, or extremely low income households as specified by certain cited sections of the Health and Safety Code.

AB 982 (Bloom) would amend the Ellis Act, regulating the permissible limits on local governments’ authority to regulate the ability of a rental property owner to go out of business, to require a minimum one-year notice to all residents as opposed to seniors and the disabled who must receive a notice at least one year in advance of the landlord going out of business.

AB 1585 (Bloom)
would establish in each local jurisdiction a new layer of regional zoning approval for certain affordable housing projects that meet specified standards relating to local housing needs and fast track a comprehensive permit approval process that includes public hearings and appeal to the State Department of Housing and Community Development.

SB 277 (Bradford), similar to AB 1505 (Bloom), would authorize local governments to require inclusionary housing affordability standards for all new developments. AB 915 (Ting) and AB 932 (Ting) also relate to similar local government housing affordability mandates in all new developments.

AB 199 (Chu) would require all private residential projects built on private property pursuant to an agreement with the State or a political subdivision to meet the requirements of projects that are defined as “public works” under existing law, thus imposing payment of prevailing wages or PLA agreements on these private projects.

AB 1667 (Friedman) would require urban water suppliers to install separate dedicated landscape water meters on all existing service connections for industrial, commercial and residential property, requiring massive retrofit replumbing, with varied completion dates depending upon the nature of the structural improvement on the property and the square footage of irrigated landscapes.

AB 291 (Chiu) contains several separate and detailed provisions relating to various prohibitions in the landlord-tenant relationship regarding the known or perceived immigration or citizenship status of a tenant or occupant. Among other provisions, it would create a tenant’s cause of action for damages in the amount of six times the monthly rent for unauthorized disclosure of such information and provide affirmative defenses in UD cases.

AB 1242 (Grayson)
would require an owner or agent of residential rental property having 16 or more units to reside at the property or within five miles of the property. It also would require written disclosure to every tenant by February 1, 2018, the name, telephone number and email address of the property owner or agent.

Much more about these significant bills of interest will be discussed in greater detail as they progress through the committee process in this legislative session. Turning attention to other bills of interest, we note in passing that our jointly sponsored bill on immigration described in February’s column, AB 299 (Calderon), conflicts in several meaningful ways with AB 291 (Chiu) mentioned above. Some other measures in no particular order of attention include the following.

AB 62 (Wood) would require all public housing agencies to implement a policy by July 30, 2018, to prohibit the smoking of tobacco products in all public housing living units, interior areas, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of the units except in designated smoking areas.

AB 1569 (Caballero) would provide a detailed process to be followed by landlords and tenants for dealing with ADA accommodation of animals on the rental property where the disability or the disability related need for the animal is not apparent. It provides a step-by-step interactive procedure to validate important criteria.

SB 2 (Atkins) would create a separate fund in the State Treasury for support of affordable housing development by imposition of a $75 fee on the recording of every real estate instrument, paper or notice required or permitted to be recorded, not to exceed a total of $225 per single transaction.

SB 3 (Beall) would authorize the issuance of $3 Billion in bonds to be used for financing various existing housing programs as well as infill infrastructure financing and matching grant programs.

ACA 4 (Aguiar-Curry) would lower from 2/3 to 55 percent the vote required to authorize general obligation bonds to fund the con struction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure or affordable housing projects, if the proposition proposing that bond includes specified accountability requirements.

Stay tuned for updates on all of these and other bills of interest.

New Legistlative Challenges in Property Management

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It’s a new year, and with it comes many changes and new legislative challenges for the Association. We expect some remarkably bad bills we helped defeat in previous years to return this year. The list includes a proposed mandate that property managers accept Section 8 tenants. In addition to new legislative measures, a number of proposed State regulations affecting property management are expected to be voted on this year. During this time the impact of a new federal administration will unquestionably affect a broad spectrum of residents of our State.

Here’s a sample of what’s coming up this legislative year:

Democratic Super-majority: The results of the November 2016 election in California provided the Democrats with a super-majority in both houses of the Legislature. That means at least two-thirds of the 40 Senators and 80 Assembly Members are registered Democrats. That’s enough for them to approve tax increases, suspend legislative rules, pass urgency legislation, move constitutional amendments to the ballot, and overturn the Governor’s vetoes without any support from Republicans.

While the super-majority theoretically gives the Democrats vast powers to enact legislation of their liking, there may be a sufficient number of moderate and pro-business Democrats to provide a counterbalance on a limited number of issues in the progressive agenda. Still, it will be an uphill battle fending off the various anti-property management bills coming this year. It is evident this year more than ever: Association members must be proactive in calling their respective legislators to voice their concerns about the impact of legislative proposals on their business.

Section 8 Housing Bill: Last year’s awful Section 8 housing bill is coming back in 2017. As you may recall, the bill would force all residential rental property owners to participate in the Section 8 housing program. One of the adverse impacts of this proposal is to compel rental property owners to accept all Section 8 government-mandated lease terms and regulations—the manual of which is approximately 400 pages long. In the guise of pre venting discrimination based on “source of income,” the bill creates a special class of residents with more rights and fewer responsibilities than other resi dents. The significant administrative bur dens imposed on property owners who participate in the Section 8 program drive up costs and increase vacancies.

The Section 8 program is a voluntary federal program and should remain voluntary as intended under federal law. The bill unfortunately transforms this voluntary federal program into a mandatory one for thousands of California property owners, many of whom have legitimate business reasons for not wanting to participate in the program.

Price Control Bill: For the third legislative session in a row, a housing price control bill will be introduced. Commonly referred to as “inclusionary housing,” the price control mandates prohibit owners from setting the initial and subsequent rates on a percentage of their units. The bill will also seek to overturn Palmer/Sixth Street Properties L.P. v. City of Los Angeles, the case which upheld the Costa Hawkins Act exemption of newly constructed rental units from price controls. California’s much publicized “housing crisis” is beginning to be recognized (finally!) as caused by local and state government policies that stifle private capital investment.

Immigration Bill: The Association will be cosponsoring an immigration-related housing bill this legislative session. The bill would prohibit all government entities in all California jurisdictions from requiring rental property owners and managers from compiling, disclosing, reporting, providing or otherwise taking any action based on the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant or prospective tenant. The bill would also restate existing law that prohibits rental property owners from independently performing any of these acts.

The bill is an extension to a 2007 bill that was sponsored by the Apartment Association, California Southern Cities and the Apartment Association of Orange County which barred cities and counties from requiring owners to take action against tenants based on their citizenship. That bill came about in response to anti-immigration ordinances that were being introduced and adopted by local governments throughout the country. One such ordinance enacted by California’s own City of Escondido sought to ban rental property owners from renting to undocumented immigrants. Another ordinance, out of Hazeleton, Pennsylvania, sought to make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to live and work in the city. The ordinances required anyone renting housing to obtain an occupancy permit for which only those lawfully present in the United States were eligible. The ordinances also prohibited property owners from renting to unauthorized immigrants and city businesses from hiring them. The 2017 bill will ensure all rental property owners and tenants are protected from these types of discriminatory policies.

We expect the introduction of over 140 bills this year that will affect property managers and owners. In future articles, we will feature other legislative measures that should be of great interest.

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