WEST HOLLYWOOD—The California State Assembly approved bill AB 1399 on Thursday, September 5, which was presented by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica). The bill is headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, where it is expected to be signed into law.
Bill AB 1399 adds guidelines for the Ellis Act to prevent its misuse by establishing one date for the withdrawal of a property. The date of withdrawal will be the day of final tenancy for occupants. This new bill was introduced a year after similar bill AB 2364 failed to meet assembly approval.
The Ellis Act, which was passed in 1985, allows landlords to evict residential tenants with the intention of leaving the rental housing market. Landlords were required to follow strict guidelines if they desired to leave the market. Under the Ellis Act, landlords must notify tenants 120 days prior to the withdrawal of a unit. Tenants who are 62 or older and disabled individuals are required to have a one year notification prior to the removal of a unit. It provides strict restrictions as to when property owners can re-enter the market if they have the desire to do so.
The Ellis Act was an initial reaction to the passage of rent control in several Southern California communities where many small landlords were struggling under restrictive caps.
The current rise in housing market rates due to the housing crisis has led some property owners to evict tenants living in rent controlled units. Many landlords would withdraw rental units and bring them back into the market gradually to avoid the Ellis Act’s restrictions and rent control standards.
Bloom estimates that in the city of Los Angeles more than 20,000 rent stabilized units have been removed from the housing market since 2001. Ten of thousands have been evicted during the process.
Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th District and previously served as the mayor of Santa Monica. Cities in his district include Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Topanga, and West Hollywood. AB 1399 is supported by the city of West Hollywood which has a history of supporting affordable housing options.