California Legislation to Cut Rents and Other Bills

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While most of us are sheltering in place, a few bills of significance in California are going through the legislative process.

SB 1410 is legislation that could impact the African American community across California.

Senate Bill 1410 – Helping Californians in Crisis Keep Roofs Over Their Heads

Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) introduced SB 1410 that would provide temporary financial assistance to California renters. The state will step in and make direct payments to landlords for as much as 80% of unpaid rent for tenants across the state — that’s if their nonpayment is “attributable to the pandemic.”

If passed, SB 1410 would charge the California Dept. of Housing and Community Development with administering the program, and it will cover up to seven months of unpaid rental payments.

“COVID-19 has immensely affected our economy, put pressure on both tenants and property owners to fulfill their payment obligations, and has exacerbated the need to keep people housed during an existing housing crisis,” said Gonzalez of her bill, which is co-sponsored by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).

Under the proposal, landlords allowed to participate would have to agree to a few conditions. They could not make any rent increases for a specified period; not tack any fees to money due for past rents; not pursue any remaining rent owed for the months the program covers.

The California Apartment Association, which represents rental property owners all across the state, is sponsoring the legislation. For now, the group has asked its affiliates to work out payment arrangements with tenants who fall behind on their rents.

SB 1410 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Housing. Hearings are scheduled for May 26 and May 27.

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