The California Apartment Association and its members have derailed some of the worst rental housing proposals of the year, including the “Stay in Business Forever Act,” the “Public Landlord-Tenant Registry” and a tax for the “privilege” of providing rental homes.

With these victories, California’s Ellis Act will remain intact, preserving a rental property owner’s right to exit the rental housing business in a timely fashion. Rental property owners will be spared having to register their properties with the state and share private information on a public, online database. And rental owners will not be charged an excise tax for the privilege of providing homes to working families.

“CAA thanks its members for making thousands of phone calls and sending letters to lawmakers urging their rejection of these harmful proposals,” said Tom Bannon, chief executive officer of CAA. “Your efforts made the difference in swiftly stopping some of the worst rental housing legislation of 2021 — bills that would have discouraged continued private investment in needed rental housing for working-class families”

AB 854: The “Stay in Business Forever Act,” which takes aim at California’s Ellis Act, had been scheduled for a hearing today by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee but was pulled from consideration by the author, Assemblyman Alex Lee, D-San Jose.

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Assemblyman Alex Lee

The proposal is now a two-year bill, meaning it won’t be heard again in 2021 but can be resurrected in 2022.

Lee’s proposal would prohibit rental housing providers from using the Ellis Act to terminate tenancies and exit the rental market until all owners of the property have held their ownership interest for five years or more. It also would prohibit owners from attempting to ever remove a second building from the market.

“This law forces you to stay in business forever, prohibits you from moving into the building with your family, and prevents conversion of units into ownership housing like condominiums or tenancies in common,” CAA told its members in a mobilization email.

AB 1188: “Public Landlord-Tenant Registry” bill also was scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee today, however, the authors, Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, and Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, pulled the item in order to make major amendments, changing the direction of the bill. It’s expected to be heard later this month.

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Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks

As written, AB 1188 would require cities and counties to create and administer a rental registry and online portal designed to receive specified information from landlords who own or operate five or more rental dwellings.

The bill would have required landlords to provide a variety of information regarding the location of rental property, its ownership, and its occupancy, among other things. It also would prohibit a landlord from issuing various notices to increase the rent or terminate a tenancy unless the landlord has submitted information through the online portal.

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Assemblyman Ash Kalra

“This registry would be open to the public and expose sensitive information about the property owner, their residents, and their rent levels. The information would have been available to the general public, to other tenants, activists, and the government,” CAA’s mobilization message drove home the fact that these bills will not create new housing or make housing more affordable.

Assemblyman Mike Gipson

AB 1199: This bill by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Los Angeles, would impose an annual excise tax on a person or entity owning 10 or more multifamily or single-family rental properties. The tax rate would be based on the gross receipts of the rental income, an amount not defined. Gipson has pulled AB 1199 from consideration for the rest of the year. Now a two-year bill, his legislation could be brought back in 2022.