New California laws taking effect in 2020 tackle housing affordability, renters’ rights

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SACRAMENTO (KRON) — The new year will make way for a new way of doing business for California property managers. 

A handful of new laws taking effect in 2020 aim to protect renters as the state tries to tackle its housing and affordability issues. 

The biggest impact is likely to come from California’s new anti-rent gouging ban. 

“We have seen too many stories of 20%, 50%, 100% rent increases that have resulted in pushing people out of their homes, out of the state, out onto the streets,” said Assm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco.)

California’s new anti-rent gouging ban caps rent increases at 5% plus the cost of living increase for buildings that are older than 15 years old. 

The California Apartment Association says it’s rare for those property managers to increase rent beyond that.

“In California there’s about 6 million rental units, I would say you’re looking at less than 2% of the landlords that have had to go back and roll rents back,” said Tom Bannon, CEO of the California Apartment Association. 

Other new laws taking effect in 2020 include prohibiting blanket ban policies to refuse Section 8 applicants, increased notification time for some rent increases, and requiring landlords to establish just cause to evict a tenant. 

“We have to watch the rest of the laws in California because if they’re too stringent, then investors won’t invest in the industry and there won’t be enough housing,” Bannon said. 

To try to increase housing production, the California housing crisis act goes into effect next week. 

To speed up construction within the next five years, it requires cities and counties to scale back on restrictions and processes that typically slow down development.

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