Currrent as of February 4, 2022
Assembly Bill No. 16
Introduced by Assembly Member Chiu
An act to add Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 50495) to Part 2 of Division 31 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to tenancies.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
AB 16, as amended, Chiu. Tenancies: COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Act of 2021.
Existing law, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, establishes certain procedural requirements and limitations on evictions for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 rental debt, as defined. The act prohibits a tenant that delivers a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress from being deemed in default with regard to the COVID-19 rental debt, as specified. Existing law defines COVID-19 rental debt as unpaid rent or any other unpaid financial obligation of a tenant that came due between March 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021. Existing law repeals the act on February 1, 2025.
This bill would establish the Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Program. The bill would authorize the Director of Housing and Community Development to direct an existing office or program within the Department of Housing and Community Development to implement the program. The bill would establish in the State Treasury the COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Fund, and, upon appropriation by the Legislature, distribute all moneys in the fund to the department to carry out the purposes of the program. The bill would require the program be implemented only to the extent that funding is made available through the Budget Act. The bill would specify that it is the intent of the Legislature to prioritize the use of available federal funds before using General Fund moneys for the program.
Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: yes Local Program: no
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) On March 4, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 have brought about widespread economic and societal disruption, placing the state in unprecedented circumstances.
(b) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on August 31, 2020, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Assembly Bill 3088 (Chapter 37 of the Statutes of 2020) which created the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (hereafter “the Act”). While the Act provided much-needed temporary protections for renters and property owners, the economic repercussions of the pandemic and the necessary public health response on tenants, small landlords, and affordable housing providers may last for years to come, and have disproportionately impacted people and communities of color, exacerbating California’s racial justice challenges.
(c) The pandemic, its disproportionate effects, and responses to it have also laid bare and exacerbated structural issues related to the planning, development, and disposition of housing that threaten to impede our state’s recovery and leave some groups behind.
(d) Whereas in response to the COVID-19 emergency, some local governments have dedicated funds to rental assistance and debt relief for tenants and property owners, a coordinated statewide program does not yet exist.
(e) In order to ensure a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is therefore necessary to invest public funds to stabilize renters, small landlords, and affordable housing providers. Such funds must be accompanied by policies that address the factors displacing tenants from their homes and communities, which create additional risk of exposure, threaten public health, and threaten to delay recovery if not addressed. A failure to do so could threaten the state’s ability to curb transmission of COVID-19 while also creating long-term consequences for the financial stability of all parties.
(f) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature and the State of California to establish through statute a framework for distributing financial support to ensure long-term stability for renters, small landlords, and affordable housing providers, protect tenants from displacement during the ongoing public health crisis, and ensure an equitable, broadly shared recovery.
Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 50495) is added to Part 2 of Division 31 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:
CHAPTER 2.9. COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Program
This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Act of 2021.
(a) There is hereby established the COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Program, which shall be administered pursuant to this chapter.
(b) The director may direct an existing office or program within the department to implement this chapter.
(c) Any guidelines or policies that the department adopts to implement this chapter shall not be subject to the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
For purposes of this chapter:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Housing and Community Development.
(b) “Director” means the Director of Housing and Community Development.
(c) “Program” means the COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Program created by this chapter.
(a) There is hereby created in the State Treasury the COVID-19 Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Fund. Upon appropriation by the Legislature, all moneys in the fund shall be distributed to the department to carry out the purposes of this chapter. Any repayments, interest, or new appropriations shall be deposited in the fund, notwithstanding Section 16305.7 of the Government Code. Moneys in the fund shall not be subject to transfer to any other fund pursuant to any provision of Part 2 (commencing with Section 16300) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code, except to the Surplus Money Investment Fund.
(b) The program shall be implemented to the extent funding is made available through the Budget Act. It is the intent of the Legislature to prioritize the use of available federal funds before using General Fund moneys.