SF Apartment : January 2018


Read Between the Legislative Lines

2018 will bring new laws affecting the rental housing industry.

Disclosure Law
Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that aims to ensure tenants know about any flood risk to residential property they are considering for rent. Under Assembly Bill 646 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), a landlord with “actual knowledge” that his or her property is in a flood-hazard area will have to disclose this information to prospective tenants. Property owners with actual knowledge include those notified by a government agency, as well as owners required to carry flood insurance for the property.

Under AB 646, the owner will have to make this disclosure in the rental agreement beginning July 1, 2018. CAA will update its rental agreement to accommodate this notification requirement. At the California Apartment Association’s request, Kalra amended the bill so that it would only apply to landlords with actual knowledge that their property is in a flood zone.

Immigration—Anti-Discrimination Law
AB 291 will crack down on rental property owners who discriminate against tenants based on immigration status. Under the law, dubbed the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, a landlord could face civil penalties if he or she attempts to influence a tenant to vacate the dwelling unit or attempts to recover possession of the dwelling unit based on the individual’s immigration status. The legislation, by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), offers protections against eviction for tenants whose landlords demand to see Social Security numbers or other validating documents after the landlord previously approved the tenant for occupancy with or without that information.

Moreover, AB 291 would provide previously approved tenants with an automatic defense against unlawful-detainer lawsuits that attribute evictions to a lack of identifying documents.

CAA agreed to support the bill after securing exceptions. The law will not interfere with a landlord’s ability to 1) request information or documentation necessary to determine or verify the financial qualifications of a prospective tenant or to determine or verify the identity of a prospective tenant or prospective occupant; 2) respond to a subpoena, warrant, or other order issued by a court; or 3) comply with any legal obligation under federal law, including but not limited to any legal obligation that provides for rent limitation or rental assistance to a qualified tenant.

Housing Production Laws
A highly anticipated package of housing bills signed by the governor in September includes key legislation sponsored by the California Apartment Association.

Important to this package are CAA-sponsored AB 678 by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra, and a companion bill, SB 167 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). These bills will help boost California’s supply of housing, which has long lagged behind job and population growth.

The legislation adds much-needed teeth to California’s Housing Accountability Act, financially penalizing local governments that arbitrarily deny housing projects in violation of state law. The Housing Accountability Act requires that local governments follow certain legal mandates before denying housing projects that comply with their general plan and zoning rules. Money generated by fines under these bills will be placed in a housing trust fund for the construction of affordable housing.

In addition to the housing-accountability bills, Governor Brown signed CAA-sponsored legislation to increase the state’s stock of micro-apartments. AB 352 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) will help prevent local governments from establishing roadblocks to “efficiency dwelling units,” which usually measure 220 square feet or less. These units can be used by some cities to provide housing for university students as well as shelter and services for homeless individuals.

Other CAA-supported bills that Governor Brown has signed to address the state’s housing crisis include the following: SB 35 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will create a streamlined approval process for housing in cities that have failed to meet their housing goals. Streamlined projects would be approved “by right,” meaning they would move forward without a drawn-out review process. SB 2 by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), will establish a permanent funding source for affordable housing through a fee of $75 to $225 on recorded documents. The bill, however, exempts residential real-estate sales. The fees are anticipated to generate about $250 million annually. SB 3 by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) will place a $4 billion statewide affordable housing bond before voters in the November 2018 election. SB 540 by Richard Roth (D-Riverside) will streamline the approval process to spur housing construction by having cities identify where housing needs to be built and adopting specific, up-front plans and conducting all necessary environmental reviews and public engagement.

Employment Laws
Under a pair of bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown, some questions will be off-limits during certain portions of the hiring process.

With AB 1008 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), it will be illegal for an employer with five or more employees to include on an employment application any question seeking disclosure of an applicant’s criminal history. The bill also will bar employers from asking an applicant about any convictions until the employer makes a conditional job offer.

With AB 168 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), employers cannot ask about a job applicant’s salary history. Moreover, the bill bans employers from relying on such information in deciding how much pay to offer a prospective hire.

Another employment-related bill signed into law by Governor Brown focuses on parental leave. Under SB 63 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), businesses with as few as 20 workers will need to offer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave. SB 63 expands such leave to small businesses. State law already requires employers of 50 workers or more to offer unpaid maternity and paternity leave.

For more information, visit www.caanet.org.

The above information was provided by Debra Carlton, Senior Vice President of the California Apartment Association.

SFAA “South of the Border Tacorama” Trade Show: Monday, February 26

Mark Monday, February 26 on your calendar for the annual SFAA tradeshow. The event will take place at the Fort Mason Conference Building, Gallery 308, from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Attendees will learn all about the latest trends, products and services in the multifamily housing industry. Consult with legal and management professionals, get to know service providers, improve your overall effectiveness at the free educational classes, and meet peers in the San Francisco rental property market. The event is free and open to the general public, so bring your friends and enjoy!

Please note that the tradeshow will replace the February member meeting. For more information on the tradeshow or to become a sponsor, contact vanessa@sfaa.org.

Recology Christmas Tree Collection

Christmas trees will be collected from January 2 to January 14. Place clean, unflocked trees curbside for pickup. Make sure all tinsel, decorations, plastic bags, stands and lights have been removed. For trees taller than six feet, cut in half.

SFAA November Member Meeting

The November 20th SFAA member meeting was held at the Jewish Community Center in Kanbar Hall. The meeting began with the SFAA Board of Directors Elections and then moved on to the monthly Legal Q & A, moderated by Dave Wasserman of Wasserman & Stern, followed by a welcome from Eric Andresen, SFAA Board President, and a legislative update by Janan New, SFAA Executive Director. The meeting was sponsored by Maria Neumann of Water Damage Recovery.

The meeting then turned over to Dillion Nguyen, MDU Competitive Specialist at XFINITY Communities. Shant J. Apekian, California Apartment Association Vice President of Public Affairs, then updated members on statewide compliance issues for rental housing owners and the legislative and political landscape in Sacramento.

For handouts, videos, resources and minutes from the member meeting and more information on the legislative updates, go to www.sfaa.org.