The NEWS

Out with the Old

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a statewide cap on rent increases, a mandatory Section 8 bill, and a few landlord-tenant bills that will change the way California’s rental housing industry will do business going forward.

Statewide Rent Cap and Just Cause Eviction — AB1482 by Assembly Member David Chiu, D-San Francisco, will place an annual 5 percent plus CPI cap on rent increases and create new standards for evictions across California. The signing of AB 1482, officially the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, marks the most significant policy change for California’s rental housing owners and tenants in a quarter century.  If an owner raises the rent above the 5 percent cap plus CPI after March 15, 2019, the owner must roll the rent back starting January 1, 2020.  No refunds, however, are mandated.  The law includes a vacancy decontrol provision, meaning the owner can raise the rent to any amount and apply it to a new tenant once the previous tenant moves out.  CAA has produced compliance materials and has published new forms to the help owners comply with the law.  Check out our compliance page at caanet.org/ab1482.

Mandatory Section 8 — SB329 by Senator Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, will make it illegal for property owners to reject a prospective tenant based solely on the applicant’s use of a Section 8 federal housing voucher. The law requires landlords to treat voucher-holders like any other applicant. “No Section 8” advertisements will also be prohibited.

Vouchers from Veterans — SB222 by Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, includes findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding the importance of housing for veterans and its priority and declares that housing discrimination on the basis of veteran or military status is against public policy. Like SB 329 above, this bill prohibits rental property owners from refusing to accept Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers.

90-Day Notice for Rent Increases — AB 1110 by Assembly Member Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, will require landlords to provide an additional month’s notice if they increase the
rent by more than 10 percent.  Owners who are not covered by AB 1482’s rent cap, by local rent control laws, or by a state or local State of Emergency Proclamation (see more about that below) will be the only owners who can increase rent above 10 percent. 

Lower Security Deposits for Military — SB644 by Senator Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, lowers the amount California landlords can collect for security deposits from military service members. The law will limit security deposits for active military to one months’ rent for unfurnished units and two months’ rent for furnished ones. 

This limited security deposit, however, does not apply to a situation in which the property is rented to a military service member and other unrelated roommates. (A service member’s spouse, parent, domestic partner, or dependent is not considered an unrelated roommate, and the lower security deposit would apply.)

A rental property owner can demand or receive security from a service member in an amount up to the legal limit of 2 months’ rent (or three months’ rent for a furnished units) if the service member has a history of poor credit or for causing damage to the rental property or its furnishings.

The Military and Veterans Code defines “service member” as a member of the militia (which means the National Guard, State Military Reserve and the Naval Militia—which constitute the active militia—and the unorganized militia) called or ordered into active state or federal or a member of an active or reserve component of the Armed Forces who is ordered into active duty pursuant to federal law.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations — Liability Insurance — SB638 by Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, changes the liability insurance requirements for a tenant who works through the property owner to install an electric vehicle charging station.  While it still allows a property owner to require liability insurance from a tenant, it caps that insurance to coverage in an amount not to exceed 10 times the annual rent changed for the dwelling. The insurance requirement does not apply, however, if the charging station is certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory that is approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor and any associated alterations to the dwelling’s electrical system are performed by a licensed electrician.

Religious Items on Doors — SB652 by Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, prohibits a rental property owner or homeowners’ association from enforcing or adopting a restrictive covenant or any other restriction that prohibits one or more religious items from being displayed or affixed on any dwelling’s entry door or frame.

A property owner can limit displays if they do any of the following:

  • Threatens the public health or safety.
  • Hinders the opening or closing of any entry door.
  • Violates any federal, state, or local law.
  • Contains graphics, language or any display that is obscene or otherwise illegal. Individually or in

combination with any other religious item displayed or affixed on any entry door or door frame that has a total size greater than 36 by 12 square inches, provided it does not exceed the size of the door.

Statewide ProclamationState of Emergency — On Sunday, October 27, 2019, Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency for the entire State of California due to weather conditions and fires. The proclamation will remain in effect for 30 days unless extended.  With limited exceptions, this means property owners throughout the state cannot increase the rent on existing and new tenants by more than 10 percent.  Check CAA’s website to learn if the proclamation has been extended.

Debra Carlton of the Califoria Apartment Association provided the above information. For more information on these laws and the forms that go along with them, go to the CAA website: www.caanet.org.

SFAA Updates
Annual SFAA Trade Show: Save March 26, 2020 for the annual SFAA trade show at the Fort Mason Center. 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 March member meeting. For more information on the tradeshow or to become a sponsor, turn to page 35 or contact vanessa@sfaa.org.

2020 SFAA Lease Update: The SFAA lease committee will be getting together soon to review and make updates to the current lease. If there are any existing or new lease items you’d like the committee to consider, email Vanessa Khaleel at vanessa@sfaa.org.

Rent Board Fee: The San Francisco Rent Board announced the updated 2019-2020 fees. From July 2019 – June 2020, the updated fee is $25.

Annual Fire Disclosures: Annually before or on January 31, building owners must provide tenants with a fire safety information disclosure, fire safety tips and training video, smoke alarm information disclosure, and a list of tenants rights organizations. The San Francisco Fire Department is ready to help building owners comply with these regulations. The necessary forms, examples of information disclosures, sample letters, detailed instrcutions, and other helpful information can be found—in multiple languages—at sf-fire.gov.

Recology Christmas Tree Collection
Place clean, unflocked trees curbside—next to your recycling bin—for pickup before 6:00 a.m. on your regular collection day. Make sure all tinsel, decorations, plastic bags, stands and lights have been removed. Cut trees taller than six feet in half.

The trees will be chipped at Recology’s San Francisco transfer station and recycling center. The wood chips will be made into ground cover for dairy farms and landscaping mulch.

You can also take your tree to the transfer station at 501 Tunnel Avenue in San Francisco.