California Bills That Should Impact Affordable Housing For the Better

By Mary Duan

On Sept. 29, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 2 — the Building Homes and Jobs Act — authored by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, that will create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

SB 2 creates a new funding source for affordable homes through a $75 fee on the recording of certain types of real estate documents (excluding sales of residential and commercial property). For transactions that involve the recording of multiple documents, the fee is capped at $225. It’s estimated that the bill will generate roughly $250 million each year and create 57,000 jobs over five years.

Of the revenue generated between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018, half will go toward reducing homelessness throughout California and half will go directly to local governments to update community plans in order to improve neighborhood quality of life and spur housing growth in locations where it makes the most sense.

On Sept. 29, Brown also signed Assembly Bill 1505 — the Inclusionary Zoning Act — authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, that would authorize a city or county to adopt ordinances to require, as a condition of development of residential rental homes, that the development include a certain percentage of units affordable to, and occupied by, moderate-income, lower income, very low income, or extremely low income households.

This bill also authorizes the Department of Housing and Community Development, within 10 years of the adoption or amendment of an ordinance by a county or city after Sept. 15, that requires as a condition of the development of residential rental units that more than 15 percent of the total number of units rented in the development be affordable to, and occupied by, households at 80 percent or less of the area median income, and to review that ordinance if the county or city meets specified conditions. The bill authorizes the department to request (and requires that the county or city provide), evidence that the ordinance does not unduly constrain the production of housing by submitting an economic feasibility study that meets specified standards. If the department finds that economic feasibility study does not meet these standards, or if the county or city fails to submit the study within 180 days, the bill would require the county or city to limit any requirement to provide rental units in a development affordable to households at 80 percent or less of the area median income to no more than 15 percent of the total number of units in the development.

Sources: Housing California, California Legislature

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Mary Duan

About Mary Duan

Mary Duan is a Salinas-based journalist and a co-founder of Voices of Monterey Bay. She likes (in no particular order) puppies, the beach and the California Public Records Act.