Senate Bill 1103

Senate Bill 1103 Aims to Impose Detrimental Commercial Lease Mandates

A controversial bill making its way through the California state legislature has property owners and business groups sounding the alarm. Senate Bill 1103, if passed, would introduce sweeping commercial lease mandates that could drastically undermine the rights of property owners and disrupt the state’s real estate landscape.

The California Business Properties Association (CBPA) is at the forefront of opposition to SB 1103, citing numerous concerns about its potential negative impacts. While the bill aims to protect small businesses and nonprofits, the CBPA argues that its one-size-fits-all approach fails to account for the complexities of commercial real estate transactions.

Key Concerns Regarding Senate Bill 1103

1. Neglecting Commercial Real Estate Complexities

SB 1103 fails to recognize the fundamental differences between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-individual (B2I) transactions in real estate. The bill’s provisions could harm the flexibility and mutual benefits that are vital for the success of commercial leases, which are typically negotiated between sophisticated parties.

2. Creating Competitive Disparities

By allowing businesses with fewer than 25 employees to benefit from provisions in SB 1103, the bill inadvertently grants them an unfair advantage over larger competitors. This disruption of fair competition could lead to market distortions that ultimately harm the state’s economic ecosystem.

3. Jeopardizing Small Business Viability

The one-size-fits-all approach of capping security deposits at one month’s rent fails to account for the varied and significant risks involved in commercial leasing. This could deter property owners from leasing to new or financially unproven businesses, stifling entrepreneurial growth.

4. Introducing Vague and Burdensome Regulations

The amendments brought by SB 1103 introduce complex, unclear mandates that significantly increase the regulatory burden on small to mid-sized property owners. This can lead to higher operational costs and legal complexities, discouraging investments and maintenance of properties.

5. Undermining Established Law and Economic Stability

SB 1103 contradicts existing California Civil Code Sections (1954.25 – 1954.31) that explicitly prohibit public entities from enacting or enforcing commercial rent control, which has been recognized as detrimental to economic stability and growth.

Other Worrying Legislation: ACA 13 and Proposition 47

ACA 13: Limiting the Initiative Process

In addition to SB 1103, the Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 13 aims to limit the initiative process by shifting power away from voters and to the Legislature. This poses a direct threat to Proposition 13, a landmark law that limits property tax increases, and weakens voters’ rights to protect their properties from increased taxes.

ACA 13 seeks to uphold recent court decisions that have eroded tax vote thresholds, potentially leading to higher taxes on properties. This amendment represents a concerning erosion of voter rights and could have far-reaching consequences for property owners across the state.

Proposition 47: Decriminalizing Theft and Emboldening Criminals

Passed in 2014, Proposition 47 has made it difficult for law enforcement and prosecutors to effectively address thefts below $950, essentially decriminalizing such offenses. This has serious implications for retailers and property owners, as criminals are emboldened knowing they are unlikely to face significant consequences for their actions.

Recent data from various sources, including the California Public Policy Institute and the California State Assembly Select Committee on Retail Theft, have highlighted the stark rise in shoplifting and other forms of retail crime across the state. This surge has been attributed, in part, to the lenient penalties imposed by Proposition 47, which has created a sense of impunity among criminals.

Retailers, law enforcement officials, and local leaders have been sounding the alarm about the detrimental effects of retail crime on communities and businesses. Some store owners have even been forced to shut down due to the overwhelming impact of theft on their operations.

Proposition 47 urgently requires reform or repeal to ensure that criminals are held accountable for their thefts and that the retail industry, which contributes significantly to the state’s economy, can thrive without being plagued by criminal activity.

The Rise of Organized Retail Crime

In addition to the challenges posed by weak laws and a lack of enforcement, California is also grappling with the rise of organized retail crime. These sophisticated criminal networks are responsible for a significant portion of the retail theft occurring across the state.

According to a report by the California Highway Patrol, organized retail crime rings have been operating in the state for years, engaging in large-scale theft and the subsequent resale of stolen merchandise. These criminal organizations often employ teams of “boosters” who steal merchandise from stores, which is then fenced and sold on online marketplaces or through underground channels.

The Tactics of Organized Retail Crime Rings

Organized retail crime rings employ a variety of tactics to carry out their operations, including:

  • Smash-and-Grab Robberies: Groups of individuals coordinating to rush into a store, overwhelm employees, and quickly steal as much merchandise as possible before fleeing the scene.
  • Organized Boosting: Employing teams of shoplifters who systematically target specific stores or merchandise, often using tools like booster bags and foil-lined bags to bypass security systems.
  • Cargo Theft: Hijacking trucks or breaking into distribution centers to steal large quantities of merchandise in a single operation.
  • Refund Fraud: Returning stolen merchandise for store credit or cash refunds, often using fake receipts or exploiting lenient return policies.

These criminal organizations have become increasingly sophisticated, using technology and coordinated strategies to maximize their profits and evade law enforcement.

The Impact on Businesses and Communities

The rise of organized retail crime has had a devastating impact on businesses and communities across California. In addition to the financial losses incurred by retailers, these criminal activities have also contributed to a sense of insecurity and a perceived decline in public safety.

Retailers have been forced to implement costly security measures, such as hiring additional security personnel and installing advanced surveillance systems, to combat the threat of organized retail crime. These added expenses ultimately get passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Moreover, the prevalence of smash-and-grab robberies and other forms of organized retail crime has created an atmosphere of fear and disruption in many communities, deterring customers from visiting affected areas and impacting the overall quality of life.

Senate Bill 1103

Calls for Stronger Action and Collaboration

In response to the escalating crisis of retail crime, there have been calls for stronger action and increased collaboration among law enforcement agencies, retailers, and policymakers.

Law enforcement officials have emphasized the need for dedicated task forces and specialized units to combat organized retail crime rings. These units would be equipped with the resources and expertise necessary to investigate and dismantle these criminal networks.

Retailers have also called for greater cooperation and information-sharing among themselves and with law enforcement. By pooling data and intelligence on known criminal organizations and their methods, retailers can better prepare and respond to potential threats.

Additionally, there have been calls for tougher legislation and stricter enforcement measures to hold criminals accountable and deter future offenses. This could include increasing penalties for organized retail crime, as well as implementing measures to prevent the resale of stolen merchandise online and through other channels.

Ultimately, addressing the issue of retail crime in California will require a multifaceted approach involving stakeholders from various sectors. Only through a concerted effort can the state hope to regain control and restore a sense of security for businesses and communities alike.


The proposed legislation and laws discussed in this article represent a concerning trend of eroding property rights, undermining economic stability, and emboldening criminal behavior in California. Property owners, businesses, and concerned citizens alike must take action to protect their interests and ensure a fair and secure environment for commercial real estate transactions and economic growth.

To combat the detrimental effects of these measures, it is crucial to engage with local representatives, join advocacy groups like the CBPA, and stay informed about the latest developments. By making your voice heard and supporting initiatives that uphold property rights and public safety, you can play a vital role in shaping a more prosperous and stable future for California.

For more information on how to get involved or to seek expert guidance on navigating the complexities of commercial real estate in the face of these challenges, contact Mike Tolj, a seasoned professional with over 18 years of experience in representing business owners and landlords. With his swift and efficient approach to deal-making and unwavering commitment to client satisfaction, Mike Tolj can help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of California’s commercial real estate industry.

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