Public Lands for Affordable Housing Development

One of the challenges in building new affordable homes is acquiring land suitable for housing. In 2019, Governor Newsom took several actions to make state and local public lands available for affordable housing development including:

  • An executive order to make excess state land available for affordable housing (Executive Order N-06-19)
  • Connecting affordable housing developers to local surplus land and strengthening enforcement of the Surplus Lands Act (AB 1486, Ting, 2019)
  • Requiring cities and counties to inventory and report surplus and excess local public lands to include in a statewide inventory (AB 1255, Robert Rivas, 2019)

Excess State Land for Affordable Housing

On January 15, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-06-19 that ordered the California Department of General Services (DGS) and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to identify and prioritize excess state-owned property and aggressively pursue sustainable, innovative, cost-effective housing projects. Learn more .

Surplus Local Land for Affordable Housing

Assembly Bill 1486 (Ting, 2019) aims to connect developers who are interested in building more affordable homes on surplus local public land that is both available and suitable for housing development.

Beginning January 1, 2020, local agencies (cities, counties, and special districts) must send notices about available, surplus local public land to all of the following:

  • HCD
  • Any local public entity within the jurisdiction where the surplus local land is located
  • Developers who have notified HCD of their interest in developing affordable housing on surplus local public land

Beginning January 1, 2021, prior to agreeing to terms to dispose of surplus property, local agencies (cities, counties, and special districts) must send a description of notices of availability sent, and negotiations conducted, in addition to a copy of any restrictions to be recorded against the property, to HCD for review using HCD forms.

New! Surplus Land Act Technical Assistance Materials

Materials for local agencies to use when surplus land properties are being made available for purchase or lease:

  • Sample Notice of Availability of Surplus Land Cover Letter (DOC): Sample cover letter for local agencies to use to notify the following entities that surplus property is being made available and provide direction to entities interested in purchasing or leasing the land:
    • HCD
    • Any local public entity (e.g., city or special district) within the jurisdiction where the surplus local land is located.
    • Developers who have notified HCD of their interest in developing affordable housing on surplus local land view list of developers (XLS) that have notified HCD of their interest in surplus local public lands (Updated: 12/22/2020).
  • Sample Notice of Availability of Surplus Land Property Description (XLS): Sample property description form to submit with the cover letter to provide detailed characteristics of the surplus land being made available for sale or lease. If this form is not used, local agencies must still submit these points of information when notifying entities to comply with Government Code Section 54222(a).

Materials for local agencies to use when submitting a description of notices, negotiations, and recorded restrictions related to a proposed disposition (sale or lease):

  • Description of Disposition Template (XLS): When local agencies dispose of surplus land, they are required to submit a description of the disposition to HCD on this form prior to agreeing to terms for the disposition of surplus land. This form will provide the user a road map of what additional materials are required based on the nature of the disposition.
  • Sample Covenant/Restriction (DOC) – When surplus land is disposed it is often required to maintain certain levels of affordability. This sample covenant/restriction can be used to record affordability covenants pursuant to Government Code Section 54233 or 54233.5.

New! Surplus Land Act Guidelines (PDF)

1). If you are a local agency (city, county, or special district)

Send notices about available, surplus local public land by:

Email (preferred): PublicLands@hcd.ca.gov

OR

U.S. postal mail:

Deputy Director
California Department of Housing and Community Development Division of Housing Policy Development
2020 W. El Camino Avenue, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95833

Click here for a sample notice cover sheet and here for a sample notice of availability property description.

2). If you are a developer interested in purchasing or leasing surplus local land for affordable housing development

Notify HCD of your interest in receiving notices about surplus local public land — Complete HCD's Developer Interest - Local Agency Surplus Land survey . Entities interested in becoming certified as a Housing Sponsor can follow the directions on CALHFA's website .

View list of developers (XLS) that have notified HCD of their interest in surplus local public lands (Updated: 7/1/2021).

HCD has verified that the first 46 entities on this list have been certified by the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) as “housing sponsors” as defined by Health and Safety Code section 50074. (Gov't Code § 54222(a)(1).) HCD has also verified that none of the entities on this list are currently in the process of being certified as “housing sponsors” by CalHFA.

View list of notices received (XLS) (Updated: 7/21/2021)

Map of Notices Received As of 7/21/2021 by Senate and Assembly District:

Coming in 2021 — Local Surplus/Excess Land Inventories

By April 1, 2021, every California city and county will be required to have a central inventory of surplus and excess land and must report this inventory to HCD on the Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR) form. To download and learn more about this form please see the APR webpage here . HCD, in turn, will provide the information to DGS to include in a statewide inventory. This is in accordance with Assembly Bill 1255 (Robert Rivas, 2019).