OAKLAND, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, surrounded by dozens of legislative leaders, working families and rent advocates in the East Bay, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law today a series of bills to fight a key cause of our state’s housing crisis – rent gouging and evictions. Central to the package is AB 1482 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to establish a 5 percent annual rent cap, plus inflation, coupled with just-cause protections – the strongest renter protections in the nation.
“About a third of California renters pay more than half of their income to rent and are one emergency away from losing their housing,” said Governor Newsom. “One essential tool to combating this crisis is protecting renters from price-gouging and evictions. The bills signed into law today are among the strongest in the nation to protect tenants and support working families.”
Passing a strong renter protection package was a top priority for the Governor. In his first week in office and again in his State of the State address, he called on the Legislature to come to an agreement on a series of bills to protect renters from rent gouging and unfair evictions.
“We need new rules to stabilize neighborhoods and prevent evictions, without putting small landlords out of business,” said Governor Newsom in his State of the State Address. “I want the best ideas from everyone in this chamber. Here is my promise to you, get me a good package on rent stability this year and I will sign it.”
Governor Newsom kicked off his statewide rent and housing production tour in Oakland and signed several pieces of legislation into law to combat the housing and cost-of-living crisis.
Housing affordability has been a top priority for Governor Newsom. The state budget signed in June made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives – both sticks and carrots – to incentivize cities to approve new home construction. The budget also provided $20 million for legal services for renters facing eviction as well as $1 billion to help cities and counties fight homelessness.
The high cost of housing and rent has also been the focus of executive action. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land in order to find parcels to develop into affordable housing, launching partnerships with six California cities in April to develop affordable housing on that land and, last week, announcing the first Request for Proposal on state-owned land will be issued in the City of Stockton.
The Newsom Administration has also enforced state housing law – putting more than forty cities on notice that they were out of compliance with state housing requirements and in jeopardy of legal action. In August, the Governor unveiled a proposal to create a permanent fund to provide legal support to Californians facing eviction or foreclosure.
Governor Newsom will continue his rent and housing tour with stops in San Diego and Los Angeles tomorrow. He will take action on bills intended to spur housing production.
In addition to AB 1482, the Governor signed the following measures to protect tenants against discrimination and eviction:
- SB 329 by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants who rely upon housing assistance paid directly to landlords, such as a Section 8 voucher, to help them pay rent.
- SB 222 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) underscores that housing discrimination on account of military or veteran status is unlawful in California by explicitly stating so within the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In addition, by defining a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher as a source of income for purposes of FEHA, the bill prohibits landlords from discriminating against a tenant on the basis that the tenant pays part or all of the rent using a VASH voucher.
- AB 1110 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) requires landlords to give 90 days’ notice to a tenant before imposing rent increases of more than 10 percent.
- AB 1399 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) closes a loophole in the Ellis Act wherein landlords evict all the tenants from rent-stabilized units in a property, claiming they are leaving the rental market, when they have no plans for the property and are actually trying to raise rent in the stabilized units. The bill clarifies that once any unit is returned to the rental market, the entire property is considered back on the rental market.
- SB 644 by Senator Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) lowers the amount that a landlord can charge service members for a security deposit on residential rental housing.
- AB 1487 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) establishes the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, which will increase affordable housing by providing for enhanced funding and technical assistance at a regional level for new affordable housing production, affordable housing preservation, and tenant protection.