BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A new bill by state lawmakers could put a limit on how much landlords can charge renters for security deposits. It is called Assembly Bill 12, and State Representative Matt Haney came up with it.
It has been approved by the California Assembly and is now up for a vote in the Senate. If it passes, landlords won’t be able to ask for more than one month’s rent as a security fee from their tenants.
Lawmakers say that this will make it easier and cheaper for renters to get a place to live. Eyewitness News wanted to know what area landlords and people who work to improve housing thought about AB 12.
Arturo Rodriguez, who works for the Central Valley Empowerment Alliance, helps Kern County families who need cheap housing.
He went to the meetings of the Delano City Council in March, where people asked the council members to pass rent control laws. Rodriguez said that AB 12 will make stable homes more affordable for families in the middle class.
“This will keep working class families from having to move,” said Rodriguez. “I don’t think most people can pay $6,000 to move into an apartment right now.
Rodriguez also said that rent prices in Delano make it hard for farmworkers to pay their bills. Their working season isn’t long enough for them to save up the money they need for a security fee.
He thinks that this bill will help those who need it the most, especially in farming areas.
Local real estate agents and landlords don’t agree with AB 12. They say they need the protection deposit.
Under current law, landlords can ask for a security deposit of up to two months’ rent for an unfurnished apartment and three months’ rent for a furnished flat.
ASU Commercial’s Marc Thurston said that this bill could have the opposite effect. It could make it harder for renters who are having trouble to find a place to live because landlords will find new ways to get rid of people they think are high risk.
If they took away this option, it could hurt the state and make it harder for people who are thought to be a higher risk to get a unit, said Thurston.
Housing supporters say that this bill doesn’t stop a landlord from asking for a deposit or going to court to get money for damages. They say it’s needed so that working-class families can get housing that’s easy to get to.