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Assemblymember Haney Introduces Bill to Stop Skyrocketing Security Deposits

AB 12 will create a one month's rent cap on security deposits statewide

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

Sacramento – Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) has introduced legislation to stop the practice of California landlords charging two times (and in some cases three times) the monthly rent as a security deposit. If AB 12 passes California will be the twelfth state in the country to limit security deposits to only one month's rent. 

“When renters can’t afford deposits they often have to borrow from predatory lenders, go into debt, or just stay put,” said Haney who chairs the Assembly Renter Caucus. “Landlords lose out on good tenants and tenants stay in apartments that are too crowded or have unsafe living conditions. Creating a rental deposit cap is a simple change that will have an enormous impact on housing affordability for families in California.” 

The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $5,000. That means that a tenant could be asked to pay up to $15,000 to move into an apartment. Security deposits are capped at one month’s rent in red and blue states across the country with states as varied as New York, Kansas, Hawaii, and Alabama. 

While inflation has increased the cost of repairs for wear and tear on apartments, it remains far below the increase in the costs of security deposits due to skyrocketing rents. For example rent has increased by over 65% in the City of Los Angeles in the last decade while the cost of repairs has risen by far less. AB 12 will also have no effect on potential liability--landlords will still be able to seek damages from tenants who are responsible for harm to the property that exceeds the amount of the security deposit.

Alexis Ewing is a speech therapist for San Francisco Unified School District. After a decade in her previous apartment she’s finally been able to move into a new home in the city. “The security deposit is absolutely what kept me in my old unit for way too long,” Ewing said. “I’ve been able to afford higher rent for a while now, but saving up the 10,000 dollars in move-in costs took me years. That's a down payment on a house in the rest of the country.”

“This bill will remove a huge barrier to housing access and affordability,” said Haney. “Our state can’t just continue to do things like we always have. We need to make common sense, immediate changes to make things easier for the people of California during this housing crisis.”