Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Wednesday, Oct. 9 aimed at boosting homebuilding in California by capping fees, slashing the time to get new developments approved and banning local governments from imposing population and housing caps.

“We are removing some key local barriers to housing production,” Newsom said in a statement referring to Senate Bill 330, dubbed the “Housing Crisis Act of 2019.”

The bill’s author, state Sen. Nancy Skinner, added that a failure to build adequate housing “has resulted in the highest rents and homeownership costs in the nation and has deepened homelessness.”

The bill, Skinner said, “green lights … housing that already meets local zoning rules and prevents cities from enacting new regulations that might limit the housing we so desperately need.”

Newsom signed the bill at an event in Los Angeles on the second day of a three-city “rent and housing tour.” It was one of 25 housing bills signed Tuesday and Wednesday, including AB 1482, which imposes a statewide rent cap on apartment buildings that are at least 15 years old and on houses owned by corporations and investment entities known as real estate investment trusts, or REITs.

Other bills signed Tuesday include a measure requiring a 90-day notice for rent hikes greater than 10%, up from 60 days; a measure prohibiting landlords from discriminating against tenants with Section 8 vouchers or other public assistance paid to landlords; and a bill banning discrimination against military personnel and veterans.

Bills signed Wednesday include measures aimed at boosting construction of “accessory dwelling units,” or granny flats, and laws encouraging stepped-up construction of affordable housing.

SB 330, effective for five years starting Jan. 1, bans housing construction moratoriums, forbids density reductions and allows demolition of affordable and rent-controlled housing only if the demolished units are replaced.

It also includes anti-displacement provisions, requiring relocation assistance to tenants forced to move from affordable rental units and allowing them to stay in their homes until six months before construction begins.

The new law will block local governments from changing the rules on pending developments by hiking fees or changing permit requirements once a project applicant has submitted preliminary development plans.

The California Association of Realtors issued a statement calling the bill “a major step in addressing California’s housing shortage.”

“SB 330 will increase the housing supply by reducing the barriers to housing development,” the Realtor statement said.

“We must deliver relief to Californians and low-income working families burdened by ever increasing-housing costs,” added Frank Martinez, policy director of the Southern California Association of Non Profit Housing. “SB 330 will help to give more Californians safe, stable, and affordable places to live.”

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