9 Oct 2019

New Condo Rules Making it Easier to Buy

If you are thinking of buying a condo or townhouse with an FHA loan product, we’ve got some good news for you: the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just made it easier to buy a condo using their Federal Housing Agency (FHA) low down-payment loans.  The first thing to note is that, in order to buy a condo or townhouse using an FHA loan product, your unit will need to get “approval” from

17 Sep 2019

AB 1482: Statewide Rent Control and Just Cause For Eviction in California

AB 1482, a state-wide bill that will enforce rent-increase limits and just cause for eviction laws throughout California is about to land on Governor Newsom’s desk. The governor has said that he plans to sign the bill. This means we can expect a state-wide rent cap and just cause for eviction rules to become law in the coming weeks. The bill is set to expire in 10 years, and so it will remain in effect

2 Aug 2019

Santa Cruz City Task Force, Rent Control, Just Cause for Eviction – Where We are Now?

If you’ve been following the Santa Cruz City Council legislative process, there’s no doubt that you’re curious where the Council stands today on Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction legislation, the Rental Housing Task Force, the Housing Blueprint, and other legislative measures that have been proposed and accepted or rejected along the way. In this article we’ll give a broad overview of the City’s legislative actions related to these housing-related topics and discuss where

16 Jul 2019

Statewide Rent Cap and Just Cause for Eviction Proposed

Rent control and just cause for eviction laws have been proposed on both a statewide and local level over the past year. One bill is inching towards implementing state-wide rent control and just cause for eviction - AB 1482. However, unlike past bills, this one has numerous provisions in place to temper the negative impacts that rent control and just cause for eviction often have on property-owners. For example, the changes made by the bill

26 Jun 2019

Section 8 Vouchers – A New Bill With Big Implications

A new, proposed California Senate bill will prohibit landlords from discriminating against those with Section 8 vouchers. In this article we’ll explain what the bill proposes and explore different perspectives of those who will be impacted by it.  What Is the Section 8 Voucher Program? The Section 8 voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford housing in the private market. In Santa

8 Feb 2019

An Update: Rental Housing Task Force, Just Cause for Eviction and Large Rent Increase Laws in Santa Cruz City

Are there rent control or just cause for eviction laws in the City of Santa Cruz? In this short post, we discuss the succession of events related to rent control and just cause for eviction laws in the City of Santa Cruz after the November elections. We answer the question above and help you understand what is being proposed, and where the City Government is in the legislative process. As a reminder, voters rejected Measure

10 Jan 2019

Summary of “An Interim Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Santa Cruz Requiring Just Cause For Tenant Evictions Within The City”

On Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 the Santa Cruz City Council, voted to push an “interim” Just Cause for Eviction ordinance to the next round of voting. However, during the second meeting held on January 23rd, the City Council voted to postpone moving forward with the ordinance due to a large amount of community feedback (over 1000 letters) opposing the measure. Having originally voted "yes" on the ordinance, vice Mayor Justin Cummings proposed tabling the initiative

7 Jan 2019

Major Downtown Housing Project Moves Forward

In the wake of a passionate election season in which affordable housing was one of the major topics of debate, a large housing project was just approved in the City of Santa Cruz. The Pacific Front project is a 205-rental unit housing project which includes ground-floor commercial space and two floors of parking garage. Have you ever heard of Measure O? Under this measure, developers of housing projects must make a certain percentage of their

17 Dec 2018

Solar Panels Required on New Homes in California – What it Means

California just became the first state to require all new construction, starting in 2020, to be solar powered. The new standards apply to new residential single-family buildings and multifamily buildings up to three stories high. The solar power can either be supplied by a new structure’s own set of solar panels, or buy a shared solar-power system serving a group of homes. The formalization of this mandate into the CA Building Code has elicited mixed

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),

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 disincentives homeowners from build accessory dwelling units (ADU’s). Things are changing. Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors have approved

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,

6 Sep 2018

Trump Tariffs and New Home Prices

Trump’s tax tariffs on lumber, steel and aluminum may increase the cost of new housing.   In November of 2017, the US set final total tariffs for most Canadian softwood lumber producers at 20.8%. According to Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow, this caused the price of lumber to jump nearly 15% and added $6,000 to $10,000 to the cost of a newly built median-priced single family home. By contrast, the the National Association of

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

13 Jun 2018

Prop 13 Extension on November Ballot

Before Prop 13, there were no limits on increases for the property-tax rate. Some properties were reassessed 50% to 100% in just one year and their owners’ property tax bills increased accordingly.   Under Proposition 13 tax reform, property tax value was rolled back and frozen at the 1976 assessed value level. Property tax increases on any given property were limited to no more than 2% per year as long as the property was not

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 Signatures 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.

27 Feb 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Benefits for Real Estate Investors and Land Lords

A reduction in incentives for homeownership results in strong demand in the rental market. This fact, and a new deduction on taxable income of pass-through companies suggests that landlords and other real estate investors stand to benefit from the new law.

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,

19 Jan 2018

The Final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Real Estate

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been signed into law. There were some big "wins" in the final bill from the perspective of homebuyers, owners, and real estate investors. However, the bill removes important incentives for homeownership and may have an adverse impact in some markets. According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices will grow at a slower pace of 1-3% nationally. Unfortunately, some local markets in high cost, higher tax areas

7 Dec 2017

How the Proposed Tax Reform Can Affect Your Real Estate

  On Thursday, November 9th, Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee released an outline of their version of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act". Just one week earlier, the Republicans' congressional House Ways and Means Committee released the original version. Both pose a threat to homeownership as we know it today. Here is a short summary of how both may affect your real estate.   Mortgage Interest Deduction The house bill will keep the mortgage

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