Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, kicked off the legislative year by introducing Assembly Bill 1820, a bill designed to demystify housing developer fees and provide information needed to ensure affordable housing is delivered as quickly as possible without surprise costs, according to a news release from the assemblywoman’s office.
Introducing this as her first bill demonstrates Schiavo’s commitment to removing barriers and getting affordable housing online as quickly as possible, one of her “3 H’s” of policy focus — housing, homelessness and health care, the release said.
“Affordable housing developers already operate on razor-thin margins, and knowing what fees they’ll need to pay ahead of time provides a level of certainty and will reduce the number of projects that fall short of funding,” Schiavo said in the release. “I’m grateful that Speaker (Robert) Rivas highlighted the need to address fees for housing development at the start of this legislative year, and I’m excited to introduce AB 1820 to help address one of the roadblocks to creating more housing people can afford.”
Affordable housing developers often face a lack of transparency when local agencies don’t provide the costs for local permitting fees up front, the release said. Currently, developers submit an initial permit to their local jurisdiction for approval, but fees that cities and counties impose are disclosed only after each phase of the project moves forward.
In some cases, these fees can account for up to 18% of the cost of the project, making affordable housing construction that much more costly and sometimes leading to delays, or stalling of projects, while additional funding has to be secured, the release said.
Current law requires cities and counties to clearly post fees online. To date, many local jurisdictions have not complied with the mandate, make fees difficult to find on their websites, or provide incomplete and unreliable information.
AB 1820 would allow developers to request a fee and exaction statement estimate from their local jurisdiction. This request would allow developers to have a better financial picture of the cost of a development before committing to building the project, which would ensure affordable housing developments are brought online quickly and to completion, the release said.