What is a Housing Element?

Since 1969, housing elements have been mandatory portions of local general plans in California because providing housing for all Californians is considered by the state legislature to be of vital statewide importance. A housing element provides an analysis of a community’s housing needs for all income levels, and strategies to respond to provide for those housing needs. It is a key part of the City’s overall General Plan. State law establishes that each city accommodates its fair share of affordable housing as an approach to distributing housing needs throughout the state. State housing element law also recognizes that in order for the private sector to address housing needs and demand, local governments must adopt land use plans and implementing regulations that provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development by the private sector.

Rules regarding housing elements are found in California Government Code Sections 65580-65589. Unlike the other mandatory general plan elements, a housing element is required to be updated every eight years. It is also subject to detailed statutory requirements and mandatory review and approval by a state agency – the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

Current Housing Element

The Stanton City Council adopted the current Housing Element on October 8, 2013. Through policies, procedures, and incentives, it provides an action plan for maintaining and expanding the housing supply in the City of Stanton. The California State Legislature identifies a primary housing goal for the state as ensuring every resident has a decent home and suitable living environment. The City’s adopted Housing Element is for the period July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2021. (Click here to view the 2014-2021 Housing Element)

Role of Housing Authority

Pursuant to Senate Bill 341 (effective January 1, 2014), the City of Stanton Housing Authority, as the Housing Successor Agency, is required to report specified housing financial and activity information in one of the following ways:

  • By including with the Annual Progress Report (APR) submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), which reports progress in implementing the Housing Element (Government Code Section 65400); or
  • As an addendum to the APR sent separately from the APR due April 1st each year.

What Happens if a Jurisdiction Does Not Adopt a Housing Element or the Element Does Not Comply with State Law?

If the California Department of Housing and Community Development determines that a housing element fails to substantially comply with the state’s housing element law, there are potentially serious consequences that extend beyond the realm of residential land use planning. When a jurisdiction’s housing element is found to be out of compliance, its general plan is at risk of being deemed inadequate, and therefore invalid. If a jurisdiction is sued over an inadequate general plan, the court may impose requirements for land use decisions until the jurisdiction brings its general plan, including its housing element, into compliance with state law.

A housing element is considered out of compliance with state law if one of the following applies:

  • It has not been revised and updated by the statutory deadline; or
  • Its contents do not substantially comply with the statutory requirements. If a housing element is certified, there is a presumption that it is adequate, and a plaintiff must present an argument showing that it is in fact inadequate.

Over the years, California has steadily increased the penalties for not having a legally compliant housing element and this trend is expected to continue.

For more information, please email the Community and Economic Development Team at CommunityDevelopment@ci.stanton.ca.us or call us at (714) 379-9222.