In late 2020, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the creation of a “Housing Strike Force” within the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce state housing laws by beginning to put teeth into often-ignored laws that restrict local authority over new housing development.

The City of Encinitas is the latest city to be on the receiving end of a letter from the Attorney General. In particular, on March 24, 2022, the Attorney General wrote a letter to Encinitas concluding that the City’s November 2021 disapproval of a 277-unit apartment project violated state law, encouraging the City to consider and approve the project, and noting that if the City fails to do so the state is prepared to take immediate steps to hold the City accountable. The Attorney General explained that the City’s action violated the Housing Accountability Act and Density Bonus Law, as well the City’s obligations under state law intended to affirmatively further fair housing.