The California Apartment Association is renewing its opposition to a bill headed to the state Senate that would cut the maximum security deposit landlords can charge to a single month’s rent.

Assemblyman Matt Haney

AB 12 by Assemblyman Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, passed the Assembly floor on Monday, May 22. The bill stipulates that security deposits for both furnished and unfurnished units would be limited to one month’s rent. This contrasts sharply with existing law, which allows landlords to charge up to two months’ rent for an unfurnished unit and three months’ rent for a furnished one.

“Further limiting a property owner’s ability to financially cover property damage or unpaid rent is an unfair imposition for rental housing providers,” said Debra Carlton, executive vice president of state public affairs at CAA, in this opposition letter.

Carlton cited the constraints of current law that limit a landlord’s access to prospective tenants’ rental history as adding to the risk. The implications of AB 12 could be particularly challenging for smaller landlords and those who rent out single-family homes. These property owners need to rely on a security deposit to offset potential damages or unpaid rent.

Carlton emphasized that the Association understands the challenges tenants face in providing a security deposit but maintained that AB 12 is not the solution.

“Owning, operating, and maintaining rental housing is also extremely expensive,” she said, pointing to optional bonds and tenant insurance as more balanced alternatives.

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