AUDIO: State Senator Lena Gonzalez Likens SB 1482 -- Annual Rent Cap + "Just Cause" Eviction Req'ts + Landlord Payment Of Tenant Relocation Sum -- To Long Beach Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance That Council Enacted (6-3) In June (On Her Motion)
|(July 11, 2019, 4:10 a.m.) -- Less than a month after she was sworn into office and given a seat on the the state Senate Judiciary Committee, state Senator Lena Gonzalez (D, LB-southeast L.A. County) told the Committee that "much of" SB 1482 -- a bill that would limit annual rent increases (for residential properties over 10 years old) to 7% plus the percentage change in cost of living or 10% (whichever is lower) and would require landlords to have specified "just cause" for evicting tenants and would require landlords to pay tenants one month's rent for "no fault" just-cause terminations -- "looks exactly like" the Long Beach Tenant Relocation Ordinance (approved June 11 on a 6-3 vote on Gonzalez's motion at her final LB Council meeting.).
Immediately after Judiciary Committee chair Hannah Beth Jackson (D, Santa Barbara-Ventura) spoke in support of the bill, Senator Gonzalez spoke and told the Committee:
...As someone who represents, you know, a large city like Long Beach, who right before I left the Council brought forward a Relocation Assistance ordinance to protect the residents that were in the downtown Long Beach area because we did have a lot of fee increases in rents because of new development, and much of this bill looks exactly like the bill that was passed in Long Beach, which I appreciate, but even with more narrow restrictions. And after looking at this bill, I mean, similar to what Senator Jackson mentioned, a three year sunset, no at-fault inclusions, exemption on new construction and essentially owners can increase their rents by $1,200 over five years, which is significant, so, it's still allowable with this bill. So with that said I will be supporting this today...
Senator Gonzalez added:
The only thing I hate about this bill is that often times it gets divisive, and it doesn't have to be. It actually protects renters and also landlords to many extents, so thank you very much.
[Scroll down for further.]
The Long Beach Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance actually differs from SB 1482 in a number of significant ways. LB's Ordinance didn't include a rent increase cap and it didn't include "just cause" requirements for eviction. In those respects, SB 1482 goes further than what a LB Council majority, with Mayor Garcia's support, approved. At the same time, SB 1482 exempts residential properties owned by "a real person...who owns and leases no more than 10 units" while LB's Tenant Relocation Ordinance only exempts single, duplex, triplex and some four-plex residential properties. SB 1482 requires landlords to pay certain exiting tenants one months rent while LB's ordinance requires payment of two months rent. (For LBREPORT.com coverage of the politically polarizing LB Council action here, here, and here)..
At the time, a number of LB property owners decried the LB Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance as amounting to de facto "rent control" and "just cause eviction" by another name..but if AB 1482 becomes law, LB and CA will have the real thing on "just cause eviction" plus a government-imposed limit on annual rent increases.
AB 1482 as amended would add the following to CA Civil Code Section 1946.2 in pertinent parts:
1946.2. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, an owner of residential real property, in which the tenant has occupied the residential real property for 12 months or more, with or without a written lease, shall not terminate the lease without just cause, which shall be stated in the written notice to terminate tenancy set forth in Section 1946.1.
For AB 1482's full text as most recently amended June 28 and advanced by the state Senate Judiciary Committee on July 9, click here.
In late May, AB 1482 narrowly passed the Assembly (needed 41 votes, received 43) only after its author agreed to allow property owners a larger annual rent increase than the bill initially proposed (annual 7% rent increase plus inflation [the latter currently a little over 2% statewide] with no "just cause" eviction provision (On the Assembly vote, LB area Assemblyman O'Donnell was recorded as "no vote recorded.") A companion measure, AB 1481 that would have required "just cause" for tenant evictions didn't advance from the Assembly and was considered dead for the year. But in a quiet June 28 maneuver, AB 1482's author inserted a "just cause" provision (text above) and tenant relocation payment into AB 1482 in the state Senate.
By its terms, AB 1482 would apply to all rent increases on or after March 15, 2019. It also exempts local ordinances that impose a more restrictive rent increase cap than the bill.
Following an April 23 Assembly committee vote that advanced AB 1482 as a rent cap [without its just cause and tenant relocation provisions], Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the following statement:
[Gov. Newsom statement] "The California Dream is in peril if our state doesn't act to address the housing affordability crisis. The cost of housing -- both for homeowners and renters -- is the defining quality-of-life concern for people across this state. Housing costs and rising rents threaten to erode our state's long-term prosperity. Families shouldn't be forced to live hours from where they work. Vulnerable residents -- seniors, families with small children and people on a fixed income -- shouldn't have to live in constant fear of eviction. And people across this state shouldn't be forced to spend their whole paycheck to keep a roof overhead. But that's increasingly the case throughout California. I am grateful that members of the Assembly voted today to continue moving forward on one piece of the housing affordability solution -- creating a renter protection package. I look forward to continuing this important conversation as proposals move through the legislative process.
It's currently unclear if Gov. Newsom supports the "just cause eviction" and tenant relocation amendments added to AB 1482. If the bill clears the state Senate with those amendments, and clears the Assembly in a concurrence on the state Senate amendments, Gov. Newsom could sign the bill into law or veto it.
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