Your Membership Dues At Work! AB 1035 – A Lesson In Legislative Success
By Frank Kalcic
Assembly Bill 1035 would have imposed statewide rent control on all spaces in manufactured housing communities limiting rent increases to five percent and denying parkowners the right to raise rents to market levels when a resident vacates the property.
This legislation, the biggest threat to our industry in decades, was shelved for the year after an all-hands-on-deck lobbying effort by WMA’s Legislative Team, other industry groups, the WMA Legal Team, and parkowners around the state who took their valuable time to write into their legislators.
So, what happened? Where did the bill get its start? How did the bill get stopped in its tracks?
The short answer is that our entire industry came together under the leadership of WMA to wage an aggressive campaign to stop this bill that resulted from a parkowner who purchased a park in Torrance for tens of millions of dollars and rightfully passed through the property tax increase resulting from the sale onto residents.
The author of AB 1035, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D, Torrance) attempted to convince the Torrance City Council to adopt rent control in the city, but after the successful work of WMA’s local government team engaged local parkowners, Torrance refused to adopt a rent control ordinance. That’s when the Assemblymember decided to introduce a statewide law, despite over 75 percent of the state’s local jurisdictions having no rent control for mobilehome parks.
WMA’s Legislative Team met several times with legislators serving on the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee arguing the bill should not advance given constitutional issues, policy problems and pointing out that in a housing crisis, the Legislature should not hinder more opportunities for Californians to obtain housing in safe, attainable, and quality housing options.
WMA’s Legislative Team received word about the bill’s pending introduction, and that’s when work began at the statewide level, bringing in other industry groups like the California Mobilehome Parkowners Alliance (CMPA) and the Manufactured Housing Educational Trust (MHET) to name just a couple. Other industry partners with close relationships with legislators on the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee were also brought in to begin the lobbying effort.
The WMA Legal Team was then brought in to identify constitutional problems with AB 1035, and our Legal Advisors identified what was a silver bullet that could derail AB 1035. Our industry attorneys, Terry Dowdall and Paul Jensen, worked to craft a legal argument raised in Anaheim Mobile Estates v. State of California that was filed by the Rudderow Law Group to convince several key legislators that AB 1035, if passed, could be overturned by the courts.
In addition to bringing other groups and individuals into our direct lobbying efforts, WMA also utilized our VoterVoice program to allow our members to easily reach out to their individual legislators, urging a defeat of the measure. Nearly 300 messages were sent by WMA members to legislators serving on the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.
When the legislation was finally set for a hearing, WMA’s coordinated lobbying efforts succeeded. The author was presented with a choice: either delay action on the bill or see it fail in committee. The Assemblymember rightfully decided to shelve the bill for the year. And while the bill is technically still alive, WMA’s efforts and those of our members have stopped the worst bill facing our industry in recent history.
The key takeaway from our success is that if our industry comes together and unites, we can stop bad bills from becoming law. Despite a legislature that is overwhelmingly dominated by progressives who often dismiss the notion that private property rights are important, we were able to rally the troops and stop statewide rent control for manufactured housing communities. Credit for killing statewide rent control under AB 1035 goes to the members of WMA for stepping up and getting the job done. Without your continued support of WMA, this measure would have surely been on a fast track to the Governor for his signature.
Frank Kalcic has served on many WMA committees and is a past president on the Board of Directors. He is currently the chair of the Legislative Committee. Frank can be reached at 650.968.0773 phone; or by email at frank@efldc@com.