Legislative insiders have called 2023 one of the most consequential legislative years for housing, with dozens of impactful bills making it through the process and to the Governor’s desk. The Governor has until October 14 to sign or veto the bills, or they become law without his signature. See what housing bills made it and what didn’t.
Production Bills Dominate the Session
While some bills that address tenants and lower-income homeowners moved forward, bills that focused on improving the approval process for new housing production dominated the session. The following key bills have already been signed into law by the Governor or are on the Governor’s desk.
To see LeSar’s comprehensive list of important housing bills and their statuses from this legislative session, email [email protected] for a copy!
Bills already signed into law:
- SB 20 (Rubio, D-Los Angeles) – which authorizes two or more local agencies to enter into a joint powers agreement to create a regional housing trust fund for people experiencing homelessness and lower-income families.
- SB 406 (Cortese, D-San Jose) – which eliminates duplicative review for affordable housing projects by extending an existing law that exempts State-financed affordable housing developments from CEQA review to include financing provided by local agencies, provided that the project undergoes a CEQA review by another public agency. The project itself would still be subject to CEQA.
- SB 469 (Allen, D-Redondo Beach)—which states that Article 34 of the State Constitution, a law that subjects affordable housing developments to a vote of the people, does not apply to housing developments receiving funding from any State housing program administered by HCD, CalHFA or BCSH, or any housing projects receiving State or federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Only projects that receive all of their funding from local sources would still be subject to Article 34 approval requirements.
- SB 567 (Durazo, D-Los Angeles)—which strengthens eviction protections for renters that close loopholes in the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (TPA) that had enabled landlords to circumvent the State’s rent cap. The bill also strengthens enforcement mechanisms, including giving the Attorney General and local governments the authority to sue landlords for wrongful evictions and illegal rent increases. The new law goes into effect on April 1, 2024.
- AB 1307 (Wicks, D-Oakland) – which reverses a recent court decision in the City of Berkeley’s People’s Park case by clarifying that the sound of residents’ voices shouldn’t be considered an environmental impact under CEQA. This is an urgency measure, so it went into effect upon the Governor’s signature.
Bills on the Governor’s desk awaiting action:
- SB 4 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – which enables the by-right development of affordable housing on land owned by churches and nonprofit colleges, opening up more than 170,000 acres of land for new affordable homes.
- SB 423 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – which extends and expands Senate Bill 35, a bill that has streamlined the approval process for more than 18,000 homes since it was passed in 2017. SB 35 was set to expire in December 2025.
- AB 480 (Ting, D-San Francisco) – which would make clarifying changes to State Surplus Lands Law to close enforcement loopholes, streamline and standardize the declaration and public noticing processes, and other technical fixes.
- AB 1449 (Alvarez, D-San Diego) – which exempts 100% affordable housing funded through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as long as rigorous labor standards and specified environmental requirements are met. Now, nearly all new affordable developments will have a streamlined approval process.
- AB 1633 (Ting, D-San Francisco) – which would strengthen the Housing Accountability Act and make it harder for jurisdictions to abuse CEQA to block new housing developments.