The final week of California’s legislative session was certainly an eventful one. There were a number of housing-related bills on the docket, most notably Senate Bill 1120 and Assembly Bill 3088.
For those in need of a refresher, SB 1120 proposed allowing up to four units to be built on a parcel of land currently zoned for a single-family home, while AB 3088 sought to pause evictions statewide until January 31, 2021.
SB 1120 endured a dramatic downfall as the Assembly voted to pass the measure at 11:57 pm, which did not provide enough time for it to be sent back to the Senate for final approval. The Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance the bill on June 24th, but the legislative process dictates that it must return to the legislative body of origin for another vote if it has been amended.
Although the bill ultimately failed, Democratic lawmakers have vowed to propose similar pro-density legislation in 2021.
AB 3088 passed through both the Senate and Assembly — with two hours to spare — before landing on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for his signature. Under the new law, tenants who faced COVID-19 related hardships between March 4th and August 31, 2020 and have provided proper documentation cannot be evicted until February 1, 2021.
Those who face hardships between September 1, 2020 and January 31st, 2021 will be required to pay 25 percent of their monthly rental payments during this period to avoid eviction, and landlords will be permitted to file small claims lawsuits against their tenants starting March 1, 2021. Tenants will still have to pay back any missed payments, but owed rent cannot be justified as a means for eviction until February 1, 2021.
“California is stepping up to protect those most at-risk because of COVID-related nonpayment, but it’s just a bridge to a more permanent solution once the federal government finally recognizes its role in stabilizing the housing market,” said Governor Newsom in a press release.
The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights’ anti-foreclosure protections have also been extended to small landlords owning up to four units. Local ordinances will be permitted to remain in place until they expire (although they cannot be renewed), so long as they do not undermine the new state law.