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In the past two weeks the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) issued several Red Alerts, mobilizing its members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® and other REALTOR® Associations urging them to contact their state legislators to support C.A.R.’s stand on a number of housing-related bills. Here is an update on those bills:

Assembly Bill 1482 – Tenancy: Rent Caps – PASSED
This statewide rent cap proposal that would apply to most properties not covered by local rent control ordinances, including rented single-family homes and condos in cities with rent control, passed 43-28 on Wednesday night. C.A.R. was able to successfully negotiate a deal with the bill’s author on amendments that allowed C.A.R. to remove its opposition and take a neutral position.

The proposal would prohibit landlords from raising the rent each year by more than 7 percent plus the annual increase in the cost of living. The bill’s author, Assemblyman David Chiu agreed to exempt property owners with 10 or fewer single-family detached homes and set the law to expire in 2023. C.A.R. withdrew its opposition to the bill once these concessions were made. This compromise strikes a balance between preserving the rights of rental property owners while allowing the protection of at-risk tenants.

Assembly Bill 1481 – Tenancy Termination: Just Cause – FAILED
AB 1481 died on the Assembly floor last night. Both C.A.R. and the California Apartment Association opposed this bill because it would have imposed just cause eviction policies statewide and would have required a property owner to provide relocation assistance to tenants for “no-fault” evictions. AB 1481 failed to get the 41 votes it needed to pass out of the Assembly.

SB 329 — Mandatory Section 8 – PASSED
Despite all of our best efforts, SB 329, which C.A.R. is OPPOSING because it creates an effective mandate that landlords participate in Section 8, passed the Senate floor last Thursday by three votes. It now moves to the Assembly where C.A.R. will continue to OPPOSE it.

AB 1590 — C.A.R.’s Sponsored First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit – PASSED
Good news! AB 1590, C.A.R.’s sponsored first-time homebuyer tax credit bill passed the Assembly. The vote was 61-3. This bill now moves to the Senate.

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Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® joined 2,500 California REALTORS® in Sacramento on May 1 for the California Association of REALTORS® annual Legislative Day. This year’s theme, “Homeownership Matters,” was evident in the speeches of REALTOR® officials and politicians, and in discussions the REALTORS® had with their respective legislators.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the special guest speaker at the morning briefing, said California is experiencing a “crisis moment, a crisis of confidence and a crisis of affordability.”

Newsom is deeply committed to address the housing issue and he wants to build 300,000 to 400,000 units on an annual basis. “Let us not forget that we are better off when we’re all better off,” said Newsom.

State Senator Scott Wiener, author of SB 50, the Housing Development Incentives bill, told REALTORS® at a luncheon that today’s zoning laws, crafted over 50 years ago, are outdated. Wiener said his legislation is about people and people’s lives.

In their meetings with state Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assemblymembers Marc Berman and Evan Low, Silicon Valley REALTORS® asked them to support the REALTOR® position on the following bills:

Vote YES on AB 1590 (Rubio) – First-Time Low- and Moderate-Income Homebuyer Tax Credit for Disadvantaged Communities. C.A.R. is sponsoring this bill which creates a first-time homebuyer tax credit for low- and moderate-income individuals and families purchasing a home in a disadvantaged community. AB 1590 allocates $50 million for first-time homebuyers who have never owned a principal residence; who earn 120 percent or less of the area median income; and who are purchasing a home in a disadvantaged community. The tax credit would be equal to 3 percent of the purchase price of the home or $5,000, whichever is less.

Vote YES on SB 50 (Wiener) – Housing Development Incentives. C.A.R. is co-sponsoring this bill which seeks to authorize the implementation of transit-rich housing project bonuses for new urban developments, so families can afford to live within the communities in which they work. SB 50 encourages the development of mid-rise, multi-family unit, housing construction with close, walkable access to bus and rail transit. Residential developments may only obtain a “height” bonus if they meet local planning, zoning and design requirements. Local governments may approve higher-density housing, with reduced or eliminated parking requirements, provided the site is adjacent to transit or near jobs.

Vote No on SB 329 (Mitchell) – Mandatory Section 8. C.A.R. is opposing this bill which forces all residential rental property owners to participate in all government assistance and housing subsidy programs, such as the Section 8 housing program, by entering into a legally binding contract with a government agency. This bill forces all landlords into contracts whose provisions they may not be able to fulfill. C.A.R. says the bill does not fix the underlying problems with Section 8. Since housing authorities are understaffed, it can take as long as 60 days before all applications are submitted, inspections made, and contracts signed. During that time, the unit sits vacant at a substantial loss to the landlord.

All staunch proponents of housing, the legislators thanked the REALTORS® for their support and advocacy. They called on REALTORS® and others to stand up and speak louder about the need for housing “because the other side is so loud.”

Low said he has received sharp, mean-spirited backlash from those who oppose his pro-housing stance, some even demanding his recall, but he is not wavering. “Oftentimes we need to speak truth to the powerful. I feel very strongly about this. It’s important to make courageous decisions,” said Low.

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