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California State Rent Registry: 5 Important Facts [2021]

What’s happening with California rent control laws.

The “Public Landlord-Tenant Registry” bill (AB-1188) establishes a California state rent registry. It’s part of a broader scope of rent control law on the horizon. While California rent control can be a hot button topic, at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, we work to help San Francisco landlords and tenants understand what’s happening at the Legislature so they can navigate the realities of California’s rental housing landscape. 

In this article, we take a closer look at AB-1188 and what it means to California landlords and tenants.

1. A California state rent registry adds to statewide rent control laws.

California lawmakers passed statewide rent control (AB-1482) in 2019. Consequently, the new law capped rent increases at 5% (plus inflation) and made it more difficult to evict tenants. AB-1188 would add new laws for landlords with five or more units. 

2. Rent registries are not new to California.

Several cities in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles already maintain rent registries to enforce rent control laws.

To that end, rent registries help track building code standards, ensure quality housing for tenants, and enforce rent control laws. Policy makers use the data to determine trends and rental housing supply needs.  

In a nutshell, AB-1188 requires all cities in California to create an online rent registry. This would establish a comprehensive source of data across the state. 

3. Landlords would have new requirements with a California state rent registry.

AB-1188 requires owners of rental properties with five or more units to register their properties on a public online portal.

Owners provide specific information such as rent amounts, utilities included, occupancy dates, and landlord contact information. As a result, private information becomes publicly available.

Landlords must pay a registration fee and stay compliant. Penalties could be steep for failing to properly register a property, or collecting rent on an unregistered unit.

4.  A California state rent registry affects tenants.

A public rent registry would disclose renters’ private information, such as how much rent they pay. For this reason, tenants may have privacy concerns with AB-1188.

On the other hand, a rent registry helps enforce rent control, protects tenants from substandard living conditions and ensures landlords provide quality housing.

5. A workable landlord-tenant relationship is essential.

To summarize, if AB-1188 becomes law, landlords will have greater pressure in balancing operating expenses with government requirements. As this plays out, disputes may arise between landlords and tenants, especially when it comes to repairs and upgrades. For that reason, understanding mutual responsibilities will be essential.

Because we understand both sides of landlord-tenant law, we strive to provide helpful information for both landlords and tenants. Our goal is to create workable solutions for both parties in the event of a dispute.

Closing thoughts

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill at the end of the month.

Read the complete text of AB-1188 here.

We make it our business to clarify California real estate law and optimize the landlord-tenant relationship. As San Francisco’s dedicated landlord-tenant attorneys, we can explain how AB-1188 affects you. Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners has resolved landlord-tenant disputes and real estate issues for over 30 years. To schedule a consultation, please call 415-956-6488.

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