Governor signs measure closing abusive loopholes in the Ellis Act, along with other Tenant protection measures.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, October 8, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a package of tenant protection measures including AB 1399 (Bloom). This important reform will close abusive loopholes in the Ellis Act.  Bloom is also Principal Co-Author of AB 1482 (Chiu), which creates a rent cap and provides “just cause” eviction protections statewide.

“The housing crisis has left tenants increasingly vulnerable in the face of rapidly escalating housing costs,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “I applaud the Governor for signing this package of bills and giving California renters some relief in the constant fight to stay in their homes.  AB 1399 and 1482 protects these tenants and prevent the loss of affordable housing in cities across the State of California.”

The Ellis Act gives rental property owners in rent control jurisdictions the right to exit the rental housing market but also places reasonable conditions and restrictions on landlords in order to avoid unscrupulous use of the bill simply to evict tenants and re-rent one or more units for more money. These conditions include a requirement to notify tenants 120 days prior to withdrawing a unit (or 1 year for tenants who are disabled or over the age of 62. The Act also restricts when owners can re-enter the market, what price they can re-rent units at when they re-enter, and requires that all units in a building be removed simultaneously.  As the housing crisis has driven up the market rate for rental units, some landlords have increasingly subverted the intent of the Ellis Act by withdrawing individual units from the rental market, then returning them in a piecemeal manner to avoid the Ellis Act’s restrictions and to evade rent control. In the Los Angeles area alone, over 20,000 rent-stabilized units have been removed from the rental market since 2001, with tens of thousands of tenants evicted in the process.

AB 1399 prohibits this conduct by establishing that there can only be one withdrawal date for a property and by clarifying that the date on which the accommodations are deemed to have been withdrawn from the rental market is the date on which the final tenancy among all tenants are terminated. AB 1399’s reforms mandate that wrongfully evicted tenants be offered the opportunity to re-rent their former unit.

"Rents are continually increasing around the state and are unsustainable for our state’s poor, seniors and moderate-income families.  Our teachers, grocery store workers, car mechanics, and nurses - people, many of whom have lived and worked in our communities their entire lives are being priced out.  Everyone except for the very wealthy is affected. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on this package of bills that represent the most substantial tenant protections passed in decades.  Together, these new laws will help keep communities together and people in their homes. In 2016, we passed a series of bills to address the housing crisis and every author remarked that there was much work yet to be done.  Today’s bill signings represent the next iterative step in that process.  Yet, the depth of the housing crisis demands even more of us.  So, we will continue to address these important issues in the coming years,” said Assemblymember Bloom.

Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.