Bills of 2023 | Newsom signs bills strengthening renters’ rights

A for-rent sign hanging in front of an apartment complex in Tower District in Fresno on July 27, 2023. Photo by Larry Valenzuela, CalMatters/Catchlight Local Fellow
A for-rent sign hanging in front of an apartment complex in Tower District in Fresno on July 27, 2023. Photo by Larry Valenzuela, CalMatters/Catchlight Local Fellow
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Editor’s note: As 2023 draws to a close, The Signal is presenting CalMatters’ wrap-up stories on some of the key bills that reached the governor’s desk at the close of the 2023 legislative session. Here’s the CalMatters summary of a pair of bills intended to boost renters’ rights.   

By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde 

CalMatters Writer  

Assembly Bill 12, by San Francisco Democratic Assemblymember Matt Haney, limits the amount that landlords can require in security deposits to one month’s rent, rather than the previous two months’ rent. The bill aims to make securing housing more attainable for California renters, who often have to save up thousands of dollars to rent a home.   

AB 1418, by Inglewood Democratic Assemblymember Tina McKinnor, prohibits cities and counties from enacting “crime-free” housing programs and nuisance ordinances that require landlords to evict people when a household member is a convicted felon.  

Who Supports the Bills   

Supporters of AB 12 include tenant advocacy groups and union leaders, such as Tenants Together and the California Labor Federation. They say that working Californians are struggling to keep up with the high cost of living, and that high security deposits are exacerbating the homelessness crisis.   

Supporters of AB 1418 include housing rights groups and criminal justice groups, including the National Housing Law Project and Root & Rebound. They say the bill will put an end to a practice that disproportionately impacts Black and Latino households and makes it more difficult for them to find and remain in affordable housing.   

Who Is Opposed  

Opponents of AB 12 include associations representing landlords, developers and business interests, including the California Apartment Association and the California Rental Housing Association. They say without being able to collect enough in security deposits to cover potential damages, more rental property providers may decide to leave the market and further diminish the housing supply.   

There was no opposition listed for AB 1418.  

Why They Matter 

Housing is a top priority for Californians and legislators as homelessness continues to grow. These bills would allow California renters to more easily find housing or to stay in their homes.  

These bills also are evidence that renters’ influence in the state Capitol is growing in the ongoing battle with landlords and real estate interests.    

Governor’s Call 

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Oct. 8 he signed AB 1418. He announced Oct. 11 he signed AB 12. 

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