By Chris Wysocki, WMA State Legislative Advocate

This was certainly a challenging year for the manufactured housing communities industry.

With remote lobbying, COVID-19 and a legislature that was generally not sympathetic to those who invest their own private capital into creating affordable housing for hundreds of thousands of Californians, WMA’s team worked hard to defend the ability of parkowners to continue providing safe and reliable homes for residents across the state.

While the last day of session saw the passage of several bad bills (AB 2782 and AB 3088 to name a couple), we were able to keep the vote margins relatively thin.

Andrew Govenar and I held scores of meetings with staff and legislators about these bills over the past several months and our entire team – including our Executive Director Sheila Dey, our regional representatives (Doug Johnson, Julie Paule and Jarryd Gonzales) and our volunteer legal advisors, Terry Dowdall and Paul Jensen to name a few – worked to educate members with accurate and factual information.

And while the results of the last night of session were disappointing, they were not necessarily surprising given the political dynamics of California.

AB 2782 (Stone, D-Santa Cruz) passed with 42 votes in the Assembly, this is the bill that was amended with the SB 999 (Umberg, D-Orange County) language, which was defeated in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. 

This “Jail Break” bill set a precedent in the Assembly by allowing a bill killed in policy committee to be inserted into another bill that bypassed the committee process to be passed on the Floor with a bare minimum of votes.  WMA and our allies (CMPA, the California Association of Realtors, and the Security Investment Company) worked this bill tirelessly, and that is a large reason the bill passed with a bare majority instead of a supermajority.  The park closure portion of this bill, while largely watered down, still has problems including requiring in-place value and other changes.

AB 2782 has already been signed by the Governor, Chapter 35, but it should face significant legal challenges in the Courts due to Constitutional issues involving the interference of private contracts along with other issues.

AB 3088 (Chiu, D-San Francisco) passed the Assembly with 56 votes, this is the bill that prevents evictions for non-payment of rent until 2021.  This measure was supported and co crafted by Governor Newsom.

AB 3088 has also been signed by the Governor and we will be reviewing the language and providing updates to our membership as we continue to work on figuring out how to comply with the legislation.

While the end of session was a difficult one, we need to remember that we were able to accomplish victories along the way.

SB 915 (Leyva, D-Chino) passed the Assembly with 41 votes, this is the bill that would have given renters up to 12 months to pay back rent and avoid evictions even if health and safety violations are the reason for evictions. We were able to hold it on call, by the time they secured the votes, it delayed enough time for the Senate not to be able to act in time.This measure failed because it was not acted on by the Senate before midnight yesterday.  

This measure would have substantially conflicted with AB 3088, but it is irrelevant now, since the bill was not acted upon in time under the Constitutional deadline.

Additionally, the work of our members helped defeat AB 2845 (Limon, D-Santa Barbara) that would have prevented attorney fees from being awarded to parkowners involved in frivolous lawsuits against them.

Our members engaged on AB 2895 (Quirk-Silva, D-Orange County) that would have imposed a statewide rent control cap on mobilehome parks, and we were able to defeat this measure.

With the help of our members, we were able to defeat AB 2690 (Low, D-San Jose) that would have repealed the exemption on rent control for new construction.

This has been an unprecedented year for WMA as we faced numerous battles targeting our industry that provides affordable housing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people in California.

While the last night of session was rough, our fight is not yet done.  In the coming year, we will continue to advocate for the interests of our members and work to preserve an industry that provides housing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of families in California.

Instead of reading of this information in the newspapers or on the Internet, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know the results of the end of session mayhem.  The good news in all of this is that the Legislature is now gone for the year.

Thank you for your support, and please feel free to contact me at (916) 448-7002 with any questions or e-mail me at chris@wma.org.


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