California bill targets vacant properties, would force fines or seizure of homes if company can’t find renters

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If they can’t rent out the property because people can’t afford it… they’ll be fined.  If it sits vacant for more than 90 days… it can be seized under “eminent domain” according to the bill.  This is insane.

California – The issue of homelessness in California is a problem in need of addressing and worthy of creating ideal solutions to remedy. But should that solution to homelessness be resolved by what some might consider to be legislated theft?

Because the recently introduced Senate Bill 1079, if enacted, could force an entity to sell their home to the city or state – at a price essentially determined by the city or state.

This is why we can’t have nice things – and by “we”, I mean a corporation or an LLC.

If a corporation or LLC that has one member that functions as a corporation owns real estate that’s been vacant for 90 days, then California can scoop up their property under this new bill.  

When digging into the bill, it essentially spells out that once a property has been vacant for 90 days, the state can enact what’s known as eminent domain.

What that means is that, regardless of the intentions the company had in mind for the property down the line, after 90 days of it being empty – a city or county can force you to sell them the house.

Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner introduced this bill in order to combat the homelessness crisis within the state. Senator Skinner said of the bill:

“My bill is designed to give local governments more tools to incentivize those corporations to actually put people in these homes and if they don’t, to enable local governments, nonprofits, affordable housing developers to buy them.”

The bill drafted by Senator Skinner seems to be coming from a good place, but is it going too far?

What SB1079 has craftily slipped into the bill that the eminent domain that the city of county enacts can force the company to sell the property at a price owner’s may not like.

According to the bill’s portion on enforcing eminent domain, it says:

“The local agency [will provide] just compensation to the owner based on the lowest assessment obtained for the property by the local agency.”

Some keywords to follow there are “local agency” and, of course, “lowest assessment”.

According to the bill, a “local agency” is the city or county in question that is forcing the sale. Then, there’s that “lowest assessment” part, meaning the city or county only needs to gather an estimate from a source that says a price that would likely only be appealing to the county or city.

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One thing to keep in mind, nowhere in the bill does it say that the company having their hand forced chooses who will assess the price of their own property. I wonder if the body that would asses the property value would also be employed by the city or county?

That’s a slippery slope that can enable stiffing companies that own property. Furthermore, that kind of law can also hinder development companies from wanting to build new properties in California.

 

 

Is housing a need for everyone? Of course it is.

However, if California introduces law that can force owners of deemed-necessities to part ways with said property at the government’s offered price – what’s next? It seems just too much of a government overreach.

While the forced selling of property is explained in the bill, another action local agencies can take against companies that own properties are fines for not having filled a rental property or home with a buyer/renter in 90 days.

You didn’t misread that; the government will fine a company because they haven’t rented or sold something in a three-month period. Forcing a company to pay money to the government because they haven’t made money yet off a property is ridiculous.  

The homeless in California are homeless not just because they just don’t have a home. It’s not house or rental costs that are the largest driving factor for being homeless – it’s not having a job.

That isn’t hyperbole, it’s a fact pointed out by the Homeless Resource Network, who conducted a study within Alabama to see what drives people to becoming homeless.

The data shows that 22 percent of the homeless population is from being unemployed. The second highest cause was substance abuse at 14 percent.  Jail and prison sentences accounted for 18 percent of all those homeless.

Eviction, which can usually occur from not being able to afford to rent or own a home any longer, only accounted for 10 percent of those homeless.

Maybe California should focus on getting the homeless population back to work, because the unemployed can’t afford any kind of reduced rent anyway if they’re not working.

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