Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a landmark tenant protection law that ends the practice of California landlords charging twice and (in some cases three times) monthly. rent as a security deposit. California now joins eleven other states in the country to limit security deposits to just one month’s rent.
“Large security deposits create insurmountable barriers to housing affordability and accessibility for millions of Californians,” said Haney, who chairs the California Legislature’s Renters’ Caucus and authored Assembly Bill 12. change since the 1970’s. The result is that landlords lose good tenants and tenants stay in houses that are overcrowded, unsafe or far from work or school. This new law is a simple common sense change that will have a major impact on housing affordability for California families, while also balancing the need for homeowners to protect themselves against potential liability.
Fifty-three percent of California renters indicate that they can afford to pay their rent but they can’t get an apartment because they can’t afford to pay two months’ rent as a security deposit. This has pushed many families, including those with individuals making the minimum wage, to no longer need necessities such as food and utilities or to take on additional debt to be approved for housing.
“In California’s expensive rental market, expensive security deposits are often imposed on immigrants and people of color, effectively limiting access to safe and affordable housing. Via capping high security deposits, AB 12 advances a measure of equity and empowers immigrants and people of color across the state, who contribute every day to making our diverse another state to thrive, said Masih Fouladi, the Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center.
AB 12, which takes effect on July 1, 2024, will not affect small landlords. Mom and pop landlords who only own 2 properties that do not exceed 4 units are exempt. It also has no effect on potential liability—landlords can still seek damages from tenants responsible for property damage that exceeds the amount of the security deposit.