Protection, Production & Preservation: MTC Takes Action on Housing Bills
The 2019 California legislative cycle is in full swing, and MTC has taken positions on a number of bills that could substantially affect the Bay Area housing landscape if passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Newsom this year.
Since 2017, MTC has convened government officials, industry leaders and equity advocates to discuss regional solutions to our current housing crisis. The effort began under the name CASA, The Committee to House the Bay Area, in mid-2017, and evolved this year into a Housing Legislative Working Group convened by MTC and ABAG. Three elected officials from each of the Bay Area’s nine counties participated in five meetings of the working group, which reviewed each of the bills on which MTC and ABAG ultimately took action.
The three key goals that emerged from CASA discussion are protection of tenants, production of more housing, and preservation of existing affordable housing throughout the region. By mid-June, 2019 MTC had taken positions on 12 active bills, with each falling under at least one of these categories.
MTC supported two bills focused on protection of tenants. AB 1481 (Grayson) proposed enactment of a just-cause eviction policy statewide that would require landlords to provide written notice as to the cause of an eviction. AB 1482 (Chiu) proposes an annual rent cap of no more than 7 percent, plus an adjustment for cost of living, to prevent extreme rent increases, thereby protecting vulnerable low-income residents. Unfortunately, AB 1481 did not pass the Assembly by the May 31 deadline for bills to pass their house of origin. To ensure passage, AB 1482 was substantially amended to exempt many more units and set a three-year time limit on the law.
MTC has taken a position on eight currently active bills that aim to increase housing production statewide. The Commission voted to support AB 68 (Ting), SB 6 (Beall), and AB 1485 (Wicks). These bills deal respectively with accessory dwelling units (ADUs), a statewide surplus land inventory, and streamlined production of moderate-income units.
A “Support and Seek Amendments” position was taken on both AB 69 (Ting), which sets small home building standards, and AB 1483 (Grayson), which seeks greater transparency in housing data.
MTC took a “Support if Amended” position on SB 13 (Wieckowski) and AB 1486 (Ting). SB 13 deals with fee waivers, owner occupancy, replacement parking, and amnesty in relation to ADUs. AB 1486 would revise current state laws related to making surplus public land available for affordable housing development.
Also, the Commission voted to “Seek Amendments” on SB 330 (Skinner), a multifaceted, ambitious, and wide-reaching bill that that aims to accelerate housing development, provide housing project proponents more certainty and reduce displacement of existing residents from buildings not meeting the state’s rigorous building standards (other than those related to life safety).
Preservation and Funding Bills
AB 1487 (Chiu) would establish the Housing Alliance for the Bay Area (HABA), a new authority that could place funding measures on the ballot for affordable housing and tenant protection. The Commission voted to “Seek Amendments” on the bill.
Finally, AB 11 (Chiu) encourages redevelopment in the direction of affordable housing by allowing cities and counties to form “affordable housing infrastructure agencies” that could use tax-increment financing for housing and other needs. MTC voted to “Support and Seek Amendments” to this bill. This bill was made a two-year bill, meaning it will be eligible to be taken up next January.
Look out for blog posts on The Bay Link—MTC and ABAG’s joint blog—for more in-depth analysis on these individual bills, including MTC’s recommended amendments, in the coming months.