The California Apartment Association played a pivotal role in securing significant amendments this week to a proposed eviction ordinance in San Diego, arguing that the initial proposal was unnecessary and wouldn’t address the city’s housing crisis.
Following a seven-hour hearing, the San Diego City Council voted 8-1 in favor of the amended ordinance on Tuesday, with CAA as the only rental housing advocacy organization firmly opposing it.
CAA’s persistence led to substantial changes in the legislation, moving away from the original framework presented by Council President Sean Elo Rivera on Oct. 31, 2022. The association’s strong opposition, including nearly 10,000 letters and testimony from 130 housing providers at the council hearing, prompted key changes to the proposal.
“Your letters, phone calls, and testimony at the City Council meeting were essential to showcasing the broad-based opposition to this proposal,” said Melanie Woods, CAA’s vice president of local public affairs in San Diego.
The ordinance is set for a final vote on May 16. A central aspect of the new law would require landlords to provide tenants with two months of rent in cases of no-fault eviction, such as ending a tenancy for extensive property renovations, withdrawing a unit from the rental market, or choosing not to renew a lease after it expires. The ordinance does not change state-mandated noticing periods for ending tenancies, although landlords must also inform tenants of their rights regarding relocation assistance, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Considering CAA’s concerns, the City Council rejected most amendments requested by tenant advocacy organizations and instead opted to:
- Establish a clear timeline for single-family home rental housing providers to update lease agreements, indicating their exemption from the new law.
- Clarify that tenants cannot opt out of buyout-agreement offers indefinitely.
- Stipulate that renters offered the right to return to their previous unit must decide within a specific timeframe.
- Delayed the required filing of termination notices with the city until at least 30 days after the notice submission portal is established, which is not expected to occur until mid-2024.
- Committed to considering, in the near future, limiting enhanced relocation assistance to income eligible households.
Despite these amendments, CAA maintains that the ordinance is unnecessary and won’t alleviate San Diego’s housing crisis. The organization commends council members Jennifer Campbell, Stephen Whitburn, Marni von Wilpert, and Raul Campillo for voicing significant concerns about unintended consequences and ensuring the inclusion of these amendments. CAA also acknowledges Mayor Todd Gloria’s leadership in uniting stakeholders to find common ground and align San Diego’s law with the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
CAA will develop educational materials to help housing providers comply with the new regulations, which are likely going to take effect in mid-June 2023.