30 Nov 2018

Election Results – Housing Related Measures in Santa Cruz and California

Now that the election season has passed and a majority of the votes have been counted, where do we stand with the many local and statewide housing-related ballot measures? Below we’ve summarized both Santa Cruz County and California ballot measures and proposition results, and what each means for our local market.   Note, after November 6th, there is a 30 day “canvasing” period in which vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots (including conditional voter registration provisional ballots),

8 Nov 2018

Santa Cruz Rent Control | Measure M | Where Are We Now?

Measure M and Prop 10 Were Rejected (Most Likely)   While we are all eager to hear about the results of the November 2018 elections, thousands of ballots countywide remained uncounted as of Wednesday. According to Santa Cruz County Clerk, Gail Pellerin, finalized results will be announced no later than Dec. 6.   However, early results suggest that both Measure M and Prop 10 were rejected by Santa Cruz City and California citizens respectively. Measure M

2 Nov 2018

Addressing the Housing Crisis: Reducing Granny Unit Cost

When adding onto or significantly modifying your property, you will likely be required to obtain permits. Unfortunately, the permitting process in Santa Cruz County can be costly. According to this Sentinel Article, the average county Planning Department fees for accessory dwelling units less than 640 square feet are from $11,500 to $4,200. These high costs often disincentivizes homeowners from build additional dwelling units (ADU’s).   Things are changing.   Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

19 Oct 2018

Easing Building Code Regulations in California – CA SB 1226

It just became easier to legalize unpermitted living spaces on your property.   The Problem   Do you own a home with unpermitted space? If so, make sure that you understand the risk involved:   Building codes are designed to make a structure safe. Regardless of how good your contractor is, if a tenant or visitor gets hurt in an unpermitted space, you may face serious legal consequences. When selling a home, unpermitted spaces is

9 Oct 2018

Fiscal Impact Report on Measure M

The Santa Cruz City Council commissioned an independent and impartial analysis of the Santa Cruz Rent Control and Tenant Protection Act (The Act) or Measure M. This analysis is limited in scope and only focuses on the financial and administrative impact that the "Rent Board" will have on the City of Santa Cruz should Measure M pass.   If Measure M is voted into law, a City Rent Board comprised of City residents will be created.

3 Oct 2018

Ballot Measure M – The Santa Cruz Rent Control and Tenant Protection Act

The “Santa Cruz Rent Control and Tenant Protection Act”, or Measure M, which proposes to establish long-standing rent control and just cause for eviction regulations will be on the November ballot. You can find the full text of the measure here. If you own or plan to own a rental property in the City of Santa Cruz, please take time to read this ballot initiative carefully. If passed into law, this ordinance may have a significant

2 Oct 2018

Housing Related Ballot Measures – California November 2018 Elections

A shortage of affordable housing is not just a local issue here in Santa Cruz County; people around the state are under immense pressure to find affordable housing. As a result, Californians will be voting on more ballot propositions related to housing than ever before according to Ballotpedia’s catalog of housing-related ballot measures. There will be four housing related propositions on the statewide ballot alone.   Proposition 1   On a statewide level, Proposition 1 authorize $4

2 Oct 2018

Santa Cruz County’s Ballot Measure H (2018)

A new report was recently released by the California Housing Partnership, a private nonprofit organization, shedding light on Santa Cruz County’s housing shortage. According to the report summary, Santa Cruz County needs 12,000 additional units to meet present-day demand. If added to our housing supply, these units would ensure that the lowest-income households would not spend more than 30% of their annual income on housing -- a federally recognized definition for affordability.   In November,

7 Aug 2018

Santa Cruz Rent Control and Just Cause For Eviction – The Counter Movement

Now that the Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction measure is officially on the ballot, the counter movement has begun to gather steam.   Santa Cruz Together, a grass-roots movement to stop the measure from passing, has collected $60,000 from supporters and hopes to raise up to $200,000 to fund their campaign. The California Apartment Association, nation's largest statewide trade group, has also promised to fight the ballot measure and has raised $403,000 thus

30 Jul 2018

The Commercial Cannabis Business and Santa Cruz Real Estate

With the passage of Prop 64 and Senate Bill 94*, the Medicinal And Adult-use Cannabis Regulation And Safety Act (MAUCRSA) made the sale and taxation of commercial cannabis legal in the state of California. MAUCRSA also created the general framework for the regulation of both commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California.   To legally cultivate, manufacture, and/or distribute cannabis, both a state and local license will be required. Additionally, both unincorporated and incorporated areas

15 May 2018

Repealing Costa Hawkins Act?

The Costa Hawkins Act (Costa-Hawkins) allows cities to implement local rent control laws, but within specific parameters: housing constructed after 1995, single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses are exempt from local rent control regulations. Additionally, Costa-Hawkins allows rental property owners to establish their own rates at the time of a change in tenancy.   A proposed ballot initiative entitled the “Affordable Housing Act for the California November 2018 Ballot” was submitted to the California Attorney General’s

15 May 2018

UPDATE: Enough Signature for the Ballot – Rent Control and Just Cause For Eviction Initiatives

If you’ve been reading our newsletter, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the  rent control and just cause for eviction ballot initiative (Renter Protection Ballot Initiative) which has been circulating through the city. The Movement for Housing Justice has submitted 10,791 signatures to the City of Santa Cruz, well above the required number of signatures needed qualify the initiative for the November polls. The group is now awaiting the results of a 30 day signature validation process.

23 Mar 2018

Sewer Lateral Ordinances in Santa Cruz County – Point of Sale Inspection Requirement

  The private sewer service lateral (also known as a private lateral) is a pipe that takes an individual building’s wastewater to the public sewer main in the street. These private laterals are owned by the building owner and are essential for directing wastewater away from nearby structures such as other homes.   Did you know that unincorporated-Santa Cruz County, Capitola City, and soon to be Santa Cruz City all have point-of-sale requirement under certain

20 Feb 2018

Rent Freeze in Effect in Santa Cruz City, Rent Control On the Ballot

On Tuesday, February 13th, the Santa Cruz City Council passed temporary rent freeze and a just cause for eviction ordinances for certain rental properties within the city limits (see exceptions below). This sudden action was in response to community-member complaints that, given the impending threat of a rent-control moratorium (City of Santa Cruz Rent Control and Tenant Protection Act) on the November ballot, landlords have an incentive to raise rents and evict tenants to guard

13 Feb 2018

Rent Control In Santa Cruz – The Counterpoint

  Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) proposed legislation on January 11th to repeal Costa-Hawkins, which would have allowed local governments to implement new rent control policies. The bill failed.   But this is not the end of the rent-control battle. The California Local Rent Control Initiative, which would expand local government's authority to adopt rent control and repeal the Costa-Hawkin's Rental Housing Act may be on this year's November ballot. Locally, the Sentinel reports that

10 Feb 2018

New Proposed Ordinances are Bad for Business

The following was announced by the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors: On February 13, 2018 the City Council of Santa Cruz will be holding two public hearings that you should be aware of. At 2 pm there is a public hearing discussing the potential passing of a relocation assistance ordinance. If passed, this ordnance would make landlords liable to tenants for relocation assistance upon eviction or rent increase. Landlords would also be subject to

24 Jan 2018

Changes to Look out For in the 2018 Real Estate Market

We recently wrote about predictions for the 2018 housing market. This article is an extension of our previous post, and covers two important legislative battles that are gaining momentum.   Rent Control: Rent control legislation proposals are popping up on a state and local level. According to this article, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) will be proposing legislation on January 11th to repeal Costa-Hawkins, which would allow local governments to implement new rent control policies. Additionally,

30 Nov 2017

Cannabis Cultivation and Santa Cruz Real Estate

  CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATED VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE The passage of Prop 64 allows for the sale and taxation of commercial cannabis in the state of California. This development may have both negative and positive consequences for local Real Estate Markets. Commercial real estate owners in areas where cannabis cultivation and the sale of marijuana are legal may see a significant increase in real estate values and lease-rates. For example, in Denver, cannabis

27 Sep 2017

Santa Cruz City Eliminates Lot Size Requirements for Granny Units (in Pre-existing Sturctures)

Previously, you needed a 4,500 square foot lot, or larger, to build an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), also commonly known as a granny unit. Now, any legally built unit within the existing footprint of your home can be turned into an ADU under new state law. This applies to new projects and conversions, so long as the unit is within the pre-existing structure and is build legally (meaning it was permitted and build to code).

28 Jun 2017

Changing Vacation Rental Laws in Santa Cruz City

This just in: this Thursday, June 29th, at 7:00 p.m. the Santa Cruz City Planning Commission will consider new rules to govern short-term vacation rentals (included Airbnb and VRBO properties). The Planning Commission is taking a long, hard look at the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz City. Their decisions will have a direct impact on propertyowner’s ability to take part in the vacation rental program in the City.   The City Planning Commission elected

3 Nov 2016

The Corridors – Santa Cruz Zoning Changes

  The City of Santa Cruz is in process of researching and asking for public feedback on the idea of changing the zoning code along four corridors within the city of Santa Cruz. As shown in the  map below, these corridors include Mission Street (Highway 1), Soquel Avenue, Water Street, and Ocean Street, each identified as a road that carries the heaviest cross-town traffic and provides access to a variety of amenities. Changes in the zoning