Beginning January 1, 2017, a common interest development association or its authorized agent must provide notice to an owner and any tenant if a pesticide is to be applied to a separate interest or common area without using a licensed pest control operator.  Under certain circumstances, notice will also be required to owners and any tenants of separate interests adjacent to the area of application of the pesticide.

This new law is adopted as part of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act as Civil Code section 4777.  Landlords and licensed pest control operators are already subject to these notice requirements which will be extended to include common interest development associations.  The primary purpose of this new law is to apply the same notice requirements to pesticide applications by unlicensed pest control operators.

The definition of what constitutes a pesticide is very broad.  “Pesticide” for purposes of this law includes any substance that is intended to be used to control, destroy, repel or mitigate any pest or organism, including antimicrobial pesticides.  Spraying a can of pesticide purchased at a local store should be treated as a pesticide application for purposes of these notice requirements.

This law has a list of information that must be included in the notice such as the pests to be controlled, the name and brand of the pesticide and the approximate date, time and frequency of the application.  The law also requires specific wording of a cautionary statement regarding pesticides that must be included in the notice.

If the pesticide application will be to a separate interest, at least 48 hours’ prior individual notice must be given to the owner and any tenant of that separate interest.  If the application will be performed by broadcast applications (spread over an area greater than two square feet) or using total release foggers or aerosol sprays, the owner and any tenant in an adjacent separate interest that could reasonably be impacted by the pesticide must also receive the notice.

If the pesticide application will be to a common area, if practicable, notice must be posted in a conspicuous place in or around the common area in which the pesticide is to be applied.  If posting notice isn’t practicable, individual notice must be given to the owner and any tenant of a separate interest that is adjacent to the common area.

After receipt of the notice, an owner or tenant can agree to an immediate pesticide application.

If the pest poses an imminent threat to health and safety, the notice may be posted after the pesticide application.

A copy of the written notice provided to any owner and tenant must be attached to the minutes of the board meeting immediately following the application of the pesticide.

As you can see, these notice requirements are very detailed and must be carefully followed.  In my opinion, the simplest and best solution for most associations is to always use licensed pest control operators to apply any pesticides.

Susan Hawks McClintic, Esq.susan-hawks-mcclintic

Sue Hawks McClintic is known for giving practical, commonsense advice without the legalese. Sue joined Epsten Grinnell & Howell, APC, in October 1990 and became a shareholder in 1999. She has supervised the firm’s transactional law department since 2008 and was named co-managing shareholder in August 2014. For more information, please visit