The Housing Accountability Act (HAA), first passed in 1982, prohibits a city from denying or reducing the size of housing developments that are compliant with its zoning code and other objective standards. SB 167 (2017), strengthens the HAA to ensure cities and counties do not unfairly hinder the development of legally compliant housing projects.
Although the HAA has been law for over three decades, many cities have disregarded the law by rejecting code-compliant projects on subjective standards. SB 167 clarified the definition of “objective standards” and increases the amount of evidence a jurisdiction must show to legally reject an application. Under these amendments, local governments can only apply standards in effect when the development application was deemed complete.
SB 167 also clarifies that a jurisdiction must pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees if the court finds they violated the HAA. Additionally, if an uncompliant local government does not comply with the HAA within 60 days of the court order, they will be fined a minimum of $10,000 per housing unit.
Author: Nancy Skinner (D, AD 15)
SB 167 was signed by the governor on 9/29/2017
Senate Floor (9/15/2017) 28 Yes / 9 No
Assembly Floor (9/14/2017): 59 Yes / 18 No