By Alexa Mae Asperin Published December 28, 2023
LOS ANGELES – Earlier this year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an extensive housing package consisting of more than 50 bills specifically addressing the state’s housing crisis. Bills include the expedition of new housing construction, protecting tenants, and keeping housing affordable.
“It’s simple math – California needs to build more housing and ensure the housing we have is affordable. In partnership with the Legislature, we have advanced billions of dollars to that end. These 56 bills build on that work, supporting tenants and ensuring cities are held accountable to plan for and permit their fair share of housing,” Newsom said when he signed the bills back in October.
Here is a roundup of the laws impacting both homeowners and renters effective Jan. 1, 2024:
SB 4 removes barriers on churches, religious organizations and non-profit colleges to build affordable housing on their land. The bill also guarantees “by-right” approval of new homes, as long as they are consistent with all objective building standards and comply with existing environmental protections.
SB 267 limits a landlord’s use of credit reports when screening prospective tenants with Section 8 housing vouchers or other government rent subsidies. It only allows the use of credit reports when a voucher or other government rent subsidy is present if the landlord offers the applicant a chance to show other evidence of their ability to pay the rent.
E-scooters and bikes
SB 712 allows tenants to store e-bikes, e-scooters, and other battery-powered micromobility devices indoors, but with some exceptions based on factors such as battery type, whether the tenant has insurance, and whether the landlord can provide storage outside the unit.
Fire hazard disclosures
Under AB 1280, the seller of a home in a designated high-fire area built before 2010 must disclose to the buyer conditions that make the home vulnerable to wildfires. The seller must provide documentation stating that the property complies with local laws of defensible spaces or local vegetation management laws.
Flipped houses disclosures
Under AB 968, anyone who purchases a home and flips it within an 18-month period must disclose all repairs and renovations made to the property during that time. The name of each contractor who performed the work and whether a permit was obtained for each renovation also must be disclosed.
Assembly Bill 12 limits the amount landlords can require in security deposits to just one month’s rent in addition to the first month’s rent. California landlords also cannot discriminate on the basis of an applicant’s source of income, which means they must consider Section 8 applicants.
Assembly Bill 1418 prohibits cities and counties from enacting “crime-free” housing programs and nuisance ordinances that require landlords to evict or refuse to rent to those with prior criminal convictions.
Assembly Bill 1620 allows local jurisdictions to require landlords whose units don’t have elevators to allow physically disabled tenants to move into similar units on a ground floor and keep the same rent rate and lease terms.