One bill proposes rent control, although details are lacking

The first set of bills have been introduced at the state Capitol, and as expected, there is no shortage of housing bills, including a proposal to “stabilize rents.”

Although the bills were unveiled this month, no action on the proposals will occur until 2019.

The California Apartment Association’s Legislative Committee will do a full review of the bills after the holidays. In the meantime, here is an overview:

Rent control

AB 36 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, aims to enact legislation to stabilize rental prices. No details are yet included in this rent control bill. In 2017, Bloom carried AB 1506, a bill that would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and brought radical rent control back to California.

Criminal background

AB 53 by Assemblymen Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles and Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, like past proposals, would prohibit the owner of a rental housing accommodation from inquiring about, or requiring an applicant for rental housing accommodation to disclose, a criminal record during the initial application assessment phase, as defined, unless otherwise required by state or federal law. The bill would permit an owner of a rental housing accommodation, after the successful completion of the initial application assessment phase, to request a criminal background check of the applicant and consider an applicant’s criminal record in deciding whether to rent or lease to the applicant.

Tenant Assistance

SB 18 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would appropriate an unspecified sum from California’s general fund to provide statewide competitive grants for rental assistance under the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program. The bill would also establish the Homelessness Prevention and Legal Aid Fund and require money in the fund to be used, upon appropriation, to provide legal aid to tenants facing eviction or displacement. This bill also would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop and publish on its website a guide to all state laws pertaining to landlords and the landlord-tenant relationship.

Planning and zoning: housing development

SB 6 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, aims to encourage housing production throughout the state by streamlining approval processes, identifying sufficient and adequate sites for housing construction, and penalizing local governments for planning policies that restrict housing production.

SB 50 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would provide incentives for developers who agree to provide housing in “job-rich housing projects or a transit-rich areas.” The bill would require that a residential development receive waivers from maximum controls on density and automobile parking requirements greater than 0.5 parking spots per unit, up to three additional incentives or concessions under the Density Bonus Law and specified additional waivers if the residential development is located within a 1/2-mile or 1/4-mile radius of a major transit stop.


AB 11 by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would create the Community Redevelopment Law of 2019 and would authorize a city or county, or two or more cities acting jointly, to propose the formation of an affordable housing and infrastructure agency.

SB 15 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, aims to enact legislation relating to redevelopment.


AB 14 by Assemblywoman Luz D-Rivas, San Fernando, would appropriate an unspecified sum from California’s general fund for housing homeless youths and homeless families.

SB 48 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, aims to create a “right to shelter” for unhoused residents throughout the state, including ensuring that every person living on California’s streets has the ability to promptly secure shelter that is safe and supportive.

Second units

AB 68 & 69  by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, would make it easier to create second units on existing parcels.

SB 13 by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, aims to reduce impact fees and other existing barriers for homeowners seeking to create accessory dwelling units to help increase residential housing within their neighborhoods.

Public housing

SCA 1 by Sens. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would repeal the provisions of the California Constitution that prohibit the development, construction, or acquisition of a low-rent housing project by any state public body until a majority of the qualified electors of the city,town, or county have approved the project.