TechEquity Supports a Statewide Rental Registry

May 13, 2020

We’re co-sponsoring AB 2406 which will create a registry that collects price and eviction data for rental units across the state. This data currently doesn’t exist making it harder for public officials to make data-driven decisions that will prevent homelessness and displacement.

The rental registry is also a critical tool to enforce tenant protection laws, provides rich data for researchers, and assist nonprofits who preserve affordable housing.

We have submitted a letter of support to the California Assembly which you can read below.

Dear Assemblymember Wicks,

On behalf of TechEquity Collaborative and our members, I am writing to express our strong support for AB 2406 which will establish a rental registry to provide the state with better data on where and how rent increases and evictions are happening.

TechEquity Collaborative is a membership organization representing thousands of tech workers in California who think the tech-driven economy can and should work for everyone. We recognize that the fast growth of our industry has contributed to conditions that are pushing out longtime and vulnerable communities. We have a responsibility to use our voice to advocate for policy that will enable everyone who wants to live in California to access stable housing. 

As tech workers, we also understand the importance of having reliable data to inform decision-making. Over the past few years, as we have begun to engage in housing advocacy work, we have found the policy conversation around tenant protections to be taking place in the absence of real data about the extent of the problem.

The truth is, no one really knows how much rents are increasing across the state or how many people are forced out of their homes by evictions. The rent data that does exist, from places like the American Community Survey and Zillow, are insufficient in many ways. They are proprietary, expensive, aren’t comprehensive, and tend to report top-line data such as averages. Currently, eviction data is derived from court records when landlords file unlawful detainer lawsuits, but many evictions take place without legal filings. In order to make smart housing policy, we need granular, transparent, comprehensive data about rental prices and evictions that can only be gathered by requiring landlords to submit them directly to the state.

A rental registry will also aid efforts to enforce California’s new tenant protection laws. The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) limits rent increases for most tenants in the state. To enforce this rent cap, it is essential that the state and tenant advocates have access to a reliable, granular database of what renters are required to pay each month. A rental registry will greatly ease the task of monitoring the newly regulated rents across millions of tenancies in the state. A rental registry will also facilitate the anti-displacement measures in the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (SB 330). That law bans the demolition of affordable and rent-controlled housing without replacement of that housing or financial support to find new housing as well as requiring the former tenants to have the first right to new housing built at that site at the previous rent. The registry would help identify which units are protected by this law, the financial support necessary for affected tenants, and confirmation of the proper rent should affected tenants return to the new housing. Enforcement of both of these laws will be much easier and more effective with a statewide rental registry.

We know that the situation for California renters is dire, but without comprehensive data, it’s hard for policymakers to understand who is most vulnerable and which policy interventions will be most effective. We need to direct resources efficiently and create policies that provide relief to California renters. We also need to enforce the new protections we establish for California tenants. In order to understand the real extent of the problem and protect our renters we need a reliable, comprehensive, and transparent rental registry—that’s what AB 2406 will provide. We are proud to support AB 2406.