On October 18, 2019 I appeared on KSCO Radio in Santa Cruz as a guest on the Mike Young Radio Hour. Mike is a REALTOR I have known virtually my entire career in real estate. He has a weekly radio show and he usually has another Santa Cruz REALTOR, Dennis Casey, as his wingman. For the October 18 2019 airing, I was invited on as a guest to discuss the recently-enacted California AB1482 legislation, which establishes rent control state wide in California. We touched on a few other topics of interest to followers of Santa Cruz and California real estate as well – so if you want to learn more about AB1482 and rent control, please listen to the audio of the radio show below.
The good folks at the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) have sounded the alarm bell. They are urging all California REALTORS to call their state representatives and tell them to VOTE NO ON AB 1482. They have also asked that we REALTORS ask our clients to do the same. I recorded a quick episode of Seb Frey TV so you can all see just how easy it is to call your Senate and Assembly representatives. Contact Info for some Local Politicians State Senator Bill Monning: (916) 651-4017State Senator Anna Caballero: (916) 651-4012State Senator Bob Wieckowski: (916) 651-4010State Senator Jim Beall: (916) 651-4015State Senator Jerry Hill: (916) 651-4013Assemblyman Mark Stone: (916) 319-2029 Issue Background Under current law, unless a local government has enacted rent control, there is no statewide cap on rent. Additionally, current law allows landlords to end a tenancy without cause when a lease expires. That is to say, when a tenant’s lease is up, the landlord can ask them to move out, for the only reason that it’s because the contract has ended. As introduced, AB 1481 and AB 1482 – previously combined into one bill, AB 1482 – would have established a rent cap of 5% plus regional CPI, as well as “just cause” evictions after 6 months of tenancy, through 2030 on all rental properties; required relocation assistance up to 3 months when a tenant is evicted under specified conditions (that is, the landlord pays the tenant to move out); and included insufficient vacancy decontrol language. C.A.R. had negotiated with our government to soften 1482 into … Read More
Information in this report was provided courtesy of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS. On Tuesday, January 8th 2019 – a night which will live in infamy – the Santa Cruz City Council defied voters who recently rejected control and Just Cause Evictions when they soundly rejected Measure M by 61% to 39%. They did this by passing a first reading of an “emergency” just cause evictions ordinance. Councilman Brown made the motion, Krohn seconded, and Cummings and Glover voted yes. Watkins, Meyers, and Mathews voted No. The term of the draft Just Cause Eviction Ordinance was extended to one year. A few changes to the draft ordinance were made from the dais: If the owner lives on the same property, it is exempt from JCE. Good temporary news for those with ADUs or duplexes. Partner was legally defined as registered domestic partner. However renters can still move in other family members without owner permission, beyond the number on a lease, and up to the federal occupancy limit. The relocation ordinance passed a second reading with hardly any discussion at 11:50PM. Rent increases are limited to 5% in one year and 7% over two years. Higher increases, that cause renters to move, trigger relocation fees of two months actual rent. This passed unanimously. The Council states that this is not technically rent control and that it can therefore be applied to all rental property including single-family homes and condos (and so not be in violation of Costa Hawkins, the repeat of which was rejected statewide … Read More
Are you concerned about the movement to bring rent control to the city of Santa Cruz? The folks working to establish rent control in the city have met the required number of signatures to put the measure on the ballot this coming November, so the rent control question will soon be put to the vote. While there are many advocates for rent control, the opposite is true as well. A local group, Santa Cruz Together, is a leading grass-roots effort against what they see as a misguided effort to improve housing affordability which will ultimately result in lower affordability, higher rent, and lower quality housing for all. Santa Cruz Together is a group comprised of over 600 local small property owners (many of them landlords) and “banana slugs.” Many of these landlords oppose rent control not because it won’t allow them to raise rent, but rather, because they fear it will mean they’ll have to exit the rental business entirely because they won’t want the hassles of dealing with increased bureaucracy, tenant laws, and “just cause evictions” which make it very problematic to stop renting to tenants, even after a lease as expired. Many landlords say they’ll simply remove their rental properties from the market, which will decrease the rental pool and ultimately work to raise rental prices. Their web site provides a wealth of information on the topic of rent control, and shares some sobering statistics, such as: In rent controlled Santa Monica, 25% of rental units were withdrawn In rent controlled San Francisco 30% of … Read More
I recently attended an all-member meeting of the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors. We have these meetings once or twice a year, to discuss what’s new and changing in the real estate eco system. The headline issue at this meeting was the new rent control measures now in effect in Santa Cruz. Chief among these is what’s known as just cause evictions. This page is based off a series of notes I made from the presentation at that meeting, given by local Santa Cruz Real Estate attorney Terry Rein. A little background: Santa Cruz Ordinance 2018-04 is an emergency interim ordinance put in place to establish “just cause evictions” while citizens of the city gather signatures and funds to put the issue of rent control up for a vote in the November election. The measure on the November ballot will include provisions very similar to what we have in this interim ordinance. You can download a copy of the full text of the Santa Cruz Rent Control Act of 2018 here. Before we got any further, It goes without saying that although these are my notes from a presentation given by a local real estate attorney, what follows is not legal advice. Notes on Just Cause Evictions When you’re looking landlord/tenant law you have to know first what the current state of affairs is. Historically, a landlord could pick any tenants they chose, as long as they didn’t violate fair housing laws. In a lease, a landlord could require that the property would only be … Read More
In case you haven’t heard, the city of Santa Cruz is marching towards establishing rent control. Recently, the Santa Cruz City Council voted to adopt two new “emergency” ordinances: a rent freeze, and a new requirement for “just cause evictions.” These ordinances were put in place to freeze current rents while efforts are underway to get the required signatures to put a city-wide rent control ordinance on the ballot for the November election. Many landlords in the city of Santa Cruz have questions about how the rent freeze and just cause evictions ordinances will be implemented. To help answer those questions, legal counsel for the city of Santa Cruz has published a FAQ, which can be downloaded here. There is little debate that rents in Santa Cruz are exorbitant, and that relief is needed. However, there is strong evidence that rent control is not the best way to address the problem, and in fact will create a whole new series of problems for beleaguered tenants in the city – like fewer available rental units and higher rental rates. The problems presented by the initiative can be seen by recent shared observations, by analytical economic analysis, and by carefully conducted academic studies. For example, a study published in November 2017 by researches at Stanford University examined the effects of rent control in San Francisco, and their paper can be downloaded here. The study contains a lot of mathematical formulae, but the text is easy enough to understand and the graphs they provide are eye-opening. Their research shows … Read More
We in California are in the midst of an extreme housing crisis. One way this shows up is as exorbitant prices to both buy and rent homes throughout the state. I’m fine with high prices, so long as they’re affordable. Unfortunately, they’re not: home affordability in our area is absolutely terrible. It’s about 15% to 18%, which means only 15% to 18% of households can afford to purchase a median-priced home. And that affordability figure is calculated using an assumption buyers have 20% for the down payment, which many would-be buyers do not. Rental housing isn’t much better, so we have a lot of people living in unsafe, expensive, or overcrowded homes. You’ve probably noticed the tent cities popping up under freeway overpasses and bridges everywhere. It’s shocking to see, considering we live in an area and time of almost unimaginable wealth. It’s a stark and unavoidable sign of how severe the issue is. Fortunately, California legislators are doing something about it at last. Recently, San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner introduced SB-827, which would radically alter planning and zoning laws in California. It would require high-density housing within close proximity to transit stops and corridors. This is a radical step, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Please support Senator Weiner and SB-827. Call your own state representatives and let them know you support more housing for California. On the other hand, there are efforts afoot to increase rent control throughout California. I know this may feel like a good idea to some of you, and … Read More
And now, today, here’s the scoop: [From Prop. 99 passes; Prop. 98 defeated – Los Angeles Times ] Californians on Tuesday rejected a state ballot measure that would have phased out rent control and barred government agencies from taking homes, businesses and farms for private development. … I mean, I assumed it was evil money-grubbing corporations and whatnot behind Prop 98 – but over the course of the “campaign” I learned that the Howard Jarvis Tax Payer’s Association was backing this one. … But we can all relax now – the good people of California saw through the sham that was Prop 98 and voted YES for Prop 99. We can keep the rent control in our mobile home parks – which is good if you are a mobile home owner, because had Prop 99 passed, your mobile home would have instantly been much more difficult to sell, since a good chunk of what you’re selling is really a rent controlled lease.