California Enforces Maximum Security Deposit Equal to One Month’s Rent
California has taken a significant step to address housing affordability concerns by limiting security deposits to one month’s rent, thanks to Assembly Bill 12 signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. This legislation, proposed by Assemblymember Matt Haney of San Francisco, aims to alleviate the financial burden placed on renters who face exorbitant security deposit requirements from certain landlords.
Under the new law, landlords will no longer be permitted to charge tenants two or even three times their monthly rent as a security deposit. This practice has long been a source of frustration for renters and has been criticized for creating significant obstacles to housing affordability and accessibility.
Assemblymember Haney emphasized that massive security deposits have become insurmountable barriers for millions of Californians seeking affordable housing. He noted that despite the sharp rise in rental costs, regulations governing security deposits had remained largely unchanged since the 1970s.
The Bay Area, known for its high cost of living, has experienced particularly steep rent prices. According to data from Zillow, the median rent for all types of bedrooms and property in San Francisco is currently $3,495 per month, while San Jose and Oakland have median rents of $3,170 and $2,366, respectively. These figures underscore the challenges renters face in the region.
By capping security deposits at one month’s rent, the new law seeks to make housing more accessible and affordable for Californians, especially in areas with soaring rent prices. It is a notable step toward addressing housing affordability concerns in a state where renting has become increasingly expensive and challenging for many residents.