City Guidance on the Implementation of the Housing Crisis Act
Los Angeles has updated its guidance on the implementation of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (HCA). The revised interdepartmental memorandum, dated February 15, 2023, provides the most up-to-date guidance on housing development review policies and procedures. It supplements the original interdepartmental memorandum, dated January 17, 2020. Consult the Housing Development Project Applicability Matrix to determine whether a project is subject to the HCA. The Zone Information and Map Access System (ZIMAS), the City's web-based mapping software for zoning information about properties in Los Angeles, recently added a new field on the "Housing" tab that indicates if parcels are eligible under the HCA.
The HCA, enacted in 2019 as Senate Bill (SB) 330, declared a temporary housing emergency statewide in order to preserve existing affordable housing, enhance protections for occupants, and increase certainty in the development review process. The HCA has been in effect since January 1, 2020. Subsequently, on January 1, 2022, SB 8, the first major clarification of the HCA, went into effect. The general provisions of both bills are outlined below.
General Applicability and Effective Dates
The HCA, as amended by SB 8, applies to projects of the following types that are submitted to the City before January 1, 2030. The legislation lapses at the end of 2034.
- Discretionary housing projects with a final approval on or after January 1, 2020
- Ministerial housing projects with an application submitted to City Planning, or for which the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) accepts a complete building permit Plan Check application, on or after January 1, 2022
- Housing projects that submit a complete HCA Vesting Preliminary Application
To implement the HCA and Title 7 of the Government Code, as amended by SB 8, the following development review criteria apply:
Housing Unit Replacement and Occupant Protections
A Housing Development Project must obtain an SB 8 Replacement Unit Determination (RUD) letter from LAHD before submitting a complete application to City Planning, or receiving a clearance from LAHD during the permitting process if the project does not require a City Planning application. Alternatively, if the project qualifies, it may obtain and complete a No Net Loss Property Owner Declaration in lieu of the SB 8 RUD.
Most housing projects qualify to submit an optional HCA Vesting Preliminary Application, which "locks in" local planning and zoning rules at the time the complete application is submitted. These vesting rights do not apply to changes in State law or building code. Applicants must submit the complete application for vesting before filing a City Planning application or submitting a building permit Plan Check application.
To initiate a request for HCA vesting rights, submit a Housing Crisis Act Vesting Preliminary Application (CP-4062) Form and the required materials through City Planning's Online Application Portal.
Preliminary Zoning Assessment
Housing projects consisting of two or more residential units with a City Planning application for development must receive a completed Preliminary Zoning Assessment (PZA) from LADBS to determine zoning compliance. The PZA consists of an informational zoning Plan Check and requires completion of Referral Form CP-4064.
Original Interdepartmental Memo (Jan 2020)
Updated Guidance on Housing Crisis Act Implementation
Preliminary Zoning Assessment Referral Form
Housing Development Project Applicability Matrix