In July of last year, an L.A. developer won a suit against Los Angeles, effectively allowing him to proceed with a rental project without adhering to L.A.'s 15 percent affordable requirement. The reasoning: L.A.'s inclusionary housing requirement violated the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which according to the court's opinion "allows residential landlords to set the initial rent levels at the commencement of tenancy" — as opposed to the city, say, setting some number of apartments at below-market rate levels. Boom: suddenly about 170 California jurisdictions, including San Francisco, are taking another look at their own such ordinances, which would surely be taken to court if not changed to work with the ruling.
Although it's unclear exactly how the city plans to get around this particularly huge hiccup in affordable rentals, the Chron reports that the Board of Supes will introduce legislation on Tuesday "related to (the) ruling." Meanwhile, a real estate attorney down in L.A. tells the paper that "it's pretty clear that the state law was not intended to end affordable-housing programs." In other words, rather than kill affordable rentals in California outright and forever, the path to light for the longstanding policy seems to be to just add an amendment to Costa-Hawkins that would let through affordable-housing ordinances. If that doesn't happen, we're looking at something of a rental game-changer.
· Affordable housing ruling a setback to cities [SFGate]
· No Affordable Housing at Downtown's Piero II [Curbd LA]