2020 Housing Legislative Summary Highlights




During the 2020 legislative session RSG tracked 82 housing bills and 3 propositions, with 12 bills being signed into law and the 3 propositions approved for the 2020 general election.   One of the more notable bills that passed was AB 3088 (now known as Chapter 37 of the Statutes of 2020), a high profile COVID-19 related piece of legislation that prevents evictions until January 31st, 2021, providing tenants can prove economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. The bill also provides a variety of options for landlords once the moratorium has concluded to help them collect unpaid rent.

Other legislation passed into law touches upon many sectors within the housing industry including changes to density laws to prevent overcrowding in affordable areas, the easing of requirements for housing built on religious property, changes to laws governing the conversion of mobile home parks to other uses, and the authorization of eminent domain to acquire vacant housing owned by corporate entities. 

Though the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this year’s legislative session in many ways, significant new laws were still passed. RSG believes it is important for our clients and our industry to continually keep focused on legislation as it can either complicate or ease our burdens. For a list of bills that passed and propositions approved for the general elections, see below.

New Housing Bills Recently Passed

  • AB 725: Increases density limits/requirements in moderate and above moderate-income housing zones. Allows a minimum of 4 but a max of 100 in moderate zones to avoid overcrowding, and a minimum of 4 for above moderate. Chapter 193, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 1851: Makes it easier for religious organizations to use their parking lots for affordable housing projects. Prevents various local agencies from enforcing parking requirements on religious organizations building housing. Chapter 196, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 2345: Increases maximum density bonus for mixed income developments to 50% for buildings that are 33% low income housing. Chapter 197, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 2463: Prevents foreclosure on a judgement lien placed on an individual’s place of residence if the underlying judgement was based, in turn, on consumer debt. Chapter 218, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 2782: Makes changes to laws governing the conversion of mobile home parks to other uses, including: extending the notice time period for parks to give to residents before the park requests permission to change uses; requires parks to provide full market rate compensation to displaced residents unable to relocate; prohibits local authorities from approving the change in use if it results in a shortage of affordable housing in the area. Chapter 35, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 3088: Establishes a moratorium of evictions related to financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic until January 31st, 2021, subject to numerous conditions. Chapter 37, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 3182: Requires common interest developments to allow at least 25% of their owners to lease or rent out their units. Chapter 198, Statutes of 2020.

  • AB 3308: Allows school districts to restrict occupancy of affordable housing on district-owned land to teachers and school district employees. Also allows public employees to also occupy the housing constructed under this provision. Chapter 199, Statutes of 2020.

  • SB 1030: Housing Omnibus Budget Bill. Chapter 165, Statutes of 2020.

  • SB 1079: Allows cities to use eminent domain to buy corporate owned housing that has been vacant for more than 90 days, for use as affordable housing. Also would require a corporation that has owned housing that has been vacant for more than 90 days to offer the building first to community land trusts, tenant associations, and cities, prior to selling it on the open market. Cities would also be able to fine a corporation for leaving housing vacant for more than 90 days. Chapter 202, Statutes of 2020.

  • SB 1157: Requires any landlord to offer to their tenants the option of reporting their rental payments to a consumer reporting agency. Authorizes the landlords to charge a fee for the service. Chapter 204, Statutes of 2020.

  • SB 1190: Would allow tenants to terminate a lease if they or an immediate family or household member are a victim of violent crime or are crime causing emotional injury and the threat of physical injury. Chapter 205, Statutes of 2020.

New Propositions Approved for the 2020 General Election

  • Prop 15: Would allow for the reassessment of commercial and industrial properties based on their market value and not the prior point of sale. Residential properties are unaffected, creating what is known as a split roll.

  • Prop 19: Allows for the reassessment of inherited property not used as a primary residence. Also permits those 55 years and older to transfer their tax assessment 3 times. Additionally, wildfire and natural disaster victims who have lost their homes would be permitted to do the same but only once.

  • Prop 21: Permits local governments to enact rent control measures on housing units older than 15 years and repeals California’s ban on the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. In addition, Prop 21 exempts the owners of two or less residential dwelling units from any local rent control ordinance. For example, if a person owns a property in Brea and Santa Ana but only rents out the Santa Ana property, that property is exempted from any rent control ordinances passed in Santa Ana.