September 2021 Update
SB 9 passed in the Assembly and Senate with bipartisan support. That bill which will allow for specified homeowners to do lot splits and build up to 2 units on that new lot will now move to the Governor’s desk. The Governor has until October 10th to sign.
Per the direction of the Board of Directors, C.A.R. originally had a support if amended position on the bill. C.A.R. stated they would only support it if there was a 3 year owner occupant provision for a person who wishes to do a lot split. That amendment and another amendment which increased a local government’s ability to stop such development if it would have specified adverse consequences for health, safety or the physical environment were added while the bill was in the Assembly. As a result of those amendments being included, C.A.R. moved to a Support position on the bill. C.A.R.’s amendment, meant in part to ensure that the person developing such units had a vested interest in the community, was a significant factor in attracting the support of certain Assemblymembers.
Reminder to vote! Recall election takes place on September 14th. The recall contains two questions please respond to both parts of the question with whichever choice you may have!
Wildfire Insurance Consumer Alert
On August 19th, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a mandatory one-year moratorium (from July 16, 2021) on insurance companies from non-renewing or cancelling residential property insurance policies within the specified areas due to the Governor’s July 16 emergency declaration. This action helps more than 25,000 policyholders who have been affected by the devastating Lava Fire and the Beckwourth Complex Fire in the counties of Siskiyou, Plumas, and Lassen. That includes more than 20,000 consumers who were already covered under last year’s moratorium, effectively extending their protection for several more months. See if your zip code is included here. Additionally, in another release, wildfire evacuees could be eligible for expenses under their current insurance policy. Residents across California who have been ordered to evacuate due to wildfires may have homeowner or renter insurance to help with evacuation and relocation costs under Additional Living Expenses coverage, known as ALE. ALE coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses. For more see their release here.
A HOUSING MARKET UPDATE
Even as the pandemic persists and economic uncertainty rises, the housing market, although normalizing, is remaining remarkably resilient with little evidence of an impending foreclosure crisis. Home sales have fallen from 15-year highs and the number of new mortgage applications have been sliding for nearly 4 months. However, the market is just returning to pre-crisis levels where excess demand and too little inventory are at “regular” rather than extraordinary levels. Many challenges remain ahead, but for now, rates remain low and buyers may even be getting slightly more bullish on housing. Read More
SB 9 - (Atkins) Subdivisions: Tentative Maps
August 2021 Update
C.A.R. had maintained a “support if amended” position on SB 9 (Atkins) which provides for expedited approval for lot splits under specified conditions. C.A.R.’s requested amendments are now included in the bill and C.A.R. has, therefore, moved to a support position. The amendments requested by C.A.R. limit access to the streamlined lot split process created by SB 9 to owner occupants. Additional amendments in the most recent version of the bill also increase the ability of local governments to disallow a lot split if the alteration would negatively impact health and safety or the physical environment.
The amendments to the bill are designed to address gentrification concerns and assure that opportunities resulting from the streamlined approval process remain with the homeowner and not with large scale developers. Additionally, because homeowner’s have to remain on the parcel they have a personal vested interest in maintaining the integrity, look, and feel of the community within which they live.
Furthermore, the recent amendments allow local government control over developments that could have adverse community impacts.
SB 9 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week and is now pending a vote on the Assembly Floor.
The Assembly and Senate Appropriations committees will hold their Suspense File hearings on Thursday, August 26. As a reminder, all bills that have costs of over $150,000 annually are placed on the Suspense File. This is a way for the Senate and Assembly leadership and Appropriations Chairs to evaluate all bills together, understand the collective impact they would have on the State Budget, and weigh policy priorities. They then decide in a subsequent Suspense File hearing which bills to allow to move forward, which to turn into two-year bills, and which to hold in committee (bill effectively dies).
SB 9 (Atkins) Subdivisions: Tentative Maps
Existing law permits 3 units per parcel (single-family home, ADU and junior ADU) in a residential neighborhood. Beginning January 1, 2022, SB 9 (Atkins) establishes a streamlined “urban lot split” approval process for single family residential lots. SB 9 (Atkins) limits new parcels created by an “urban lot split” to a MAXIMUM of 2 units (limit includes ADUs), totaling 4 units per parcel. SB 9 (Atkins) ONLY permits a parcel to be divided one time and prohibits owners from dividing an adjoined parcel or a parcel that was previously split and requires lots to be split 60/40, with a minimum lot size of 1,200 sq. ft. Parcels are NOT eligible for a streamlined “urban lot split” if the: 1) Parcel is historic property; 2) Split would displace a tenant OR was rented to a tenant within 3 year of an owner’s application; 3) Owner performed an Ellis Act eviction within the last 15 years; 4) Lot split requires the demolition OR alteration to a home subject to rent OR price controls OR is a deed restricted rental unit; or, 5) Parcel is not located in an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. SB 9 (Atkins) was recently amended, per C.A.R.’s request, to MANDATE local governments impose a 3-year owner-occupancy requirement for “urban lot splits”. Additional amendments permit local government to deny ANY streamlined approval that would have an adverse impact on public health, safety, or the physical environment, if there is no way mitigate or avoid the adverse impact. Recent amendments moved C.A.R. to a support position.