Legislature Passes Senator Skinner’s SB 1227 to Boost Affordable Student Housing

August 28, 2018

Sacramento, CA – Today, the California Legislature passed Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) Senate Bill 1227, aimed at making it easier to build much needed student housing. Dubbed “Housing Our Students,” SB 1227 would change state housing law to enable a builder of student housing to benefit from California’s density bonus law and comply with local inclusionary housing policies. Skinner’s bill now goes to Governor Brown for his signature.

“Too many California students are having to couch surf, commute for hours, or even live in their cars,” said Senator Skinner. “SB 1227 eases the process to build the housing our students desperately need.”

Under current state law, builders who opt to include affordable units in their residential projects are allowed to increase the total number of housing units in the project to cover the costs of the affordable units. Known as the state density bonus, this incentive allows housing developments to potentially include up to 35 percent more housing units. Many local government inclusionary ordinances also offer a density bonus to projects that include affordable housing units.

Under existing state law, it is nearly impossible to apply the density bonus to new housing that caters exclusively to students even if it includes affordable units. SB 1227 fixes these obstacles by making two changes: allowing 100 percent student serving housing projects to apply the density bonus based on the number of bedrooms or beds instead of the number of housing units and allowing students to submit financial aid documents as the documentation to qualify for affordable units.

With these changes, SB 1227 creates a path to constructing new housing for students enrolled in higher education facilities throughout California and ensures that affordable student units can be included in that housing.

“SB 1227 will encourage the construction of more housing and more affordable housing for college students up and down the state,” said Senator Skinner. “Students deserve to focus on learning instead of worrying about whether they have a place to live.”

Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.