Assembly Bill Would Expand the Authority of the Attorney General

Natalie Donlin-Zappella, Legislative Director

Assemblymember Matt Haney (San Francisco) has introduced Assembly Bill 1485 to expand the State’s role in enforcing compliance with housing laws.

In recent years the legislature has adopted a host of laws that provide both the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Office of the Attorney General (AG) with powers to enforce compliance with laws including the Housing Accountability Act, the Surplus Law Act, and Housing Element Law. While these laws have provided some authority to ensure compliance, there are limitations that AB 1485 seeks to address.

While both HCD and the AG can bring direct enforcement action against local governments, if the AG wants to represent the State’s interest in lawsuits filed by third parties, it must petition the court to intervene, adding several months to the litigation process. The AG specifically highlighted a situation in the City of Anaheim where it sought to intervene in a case where the City had denied a permit for a project that sought to convert an existing residential structure to a transitional home for formerly homeless women. Months later the AG had not yet received a response from the judge regarding the State’s desire to intervene. AB 1485 would give HCD and the AG the unconditional right to intervene in these lawsuits.