Legislative Session Hot Bills

We continue to update our position on several bills being considered by the state legislature this year, all of which could significantly impact those living in common interest developments. Below is what you need to know about the 2019 Legislative Session “hot bills” and where we stand.

SENATE BILL 323 

Senate Bill 323 (Wieckowski): Threatens Privacy in Homeowner Association Elections Reintroduced

Bill Position: Oppose

In 2018, the Community Association Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) fought hard to win the Governor’s veto on a bill that would have threatened homeowners’ privacy and would have made other fundamental changes to the way associations conduct their elections. On February 15, Sen. Wieckowski (D – Fremont) re-introduced the bill vetoed by Governor Brown in September 2018.

S.B. 323 has the following effects:

  • It limits the right of an association’s membership to set qualifications for candidates. It would prevent non-owners and some felons from running for the Board, and would allow associations to disqualify candidates only if they have been owners for less than one year, if a joint owner was on the Board or a candidate, or if they were delinquent in regular assessments and if other conditions were met.
  • It prohibits associations from ever suspending an owner’s right to vote.
  • It requires associations to post the requirements for running for the Board at least 30 days before the nomination deadline; and to post the list of candidates, deadline for returning ballots, time and place of the annual meeting, all 30 days before ballots were mailed.
  • It allows owners to review the signatures of all other owners on the outside mailing envelopes, and to copy voter lists, including parcel numbers. As a condition of casting a ballot, homeowners must give up their right to keep their signatures private.

S.B. 323 is supposed to increase homeowners’ participation in association elections. Instead, it will deter owners from voting by requiring them to sacrifice their privacy, and it will deter them from running from the Board by imposing a deadline to run which is months before the election.

CAI-CLAC will oppose this bill and will work hard to defeat it through the grass roots efforts that were successful in 2018.

ASSEMBLY BILL 670

Assembly Bill 670 (Friedman): Bill Would Require Community Associations to Allow Accessory Dwelling Units

CAI-CLAC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 670 (Friedman) would render void any provision in a community association’s governing documents prohibiting an “accessory dwelling unit” or “junior accessory dwelling unit” on a single family lot. As amended, the bill will allow reasonable restrictions as long as they do not effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict these units.

An “accessory dwelling unit” is a second unit on a lot, either detached or contained within the walls of the house on the lot, up to 1,200 square feet, and including cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. Accessory dwelling units may also have relaxed setback and parking requirements. A “junior accessory dwelling unit” may be up to 500 square feet and must have an outside entrance and cooking facilities, but may share bathroom facilities with the main house on the lot. CAI-CLAC is working with the author to resolve concerns about this bill.

SENATE BILL 434 

Senate Bill 434 (Archuleta): Bill Sponsored By CAI-CLAC Will Protect Community Association Records

CAI-CLAC Position: Support

S.B. 434 (Archuleta), jointly sponsored by Community Associations Institute’s (CAI) California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) and the California Association of Community Managers (CACM) will provide protection for community associations when changing management companies.

S.B. 434 has the following effects:

  • The bill will require managers to turn over association records within thirty days after they are notified that the association will be changing management companies.
  • The bill also makes clear that the records must be provided even if there is a dispute over the termination or over management fees. However, managers won’t be required to turn over information which has been destroyed because of unforeseen circumstances or a document retention policy approved by the Association Board.   

We recognize that the records maintained by a managing agent belong to the association and should be turned over promptly to new management. S.B. 434 demonstrates CAI’s support of reasonable regulations to protect and promote healthy and vibrant community associations.

SENATE BILL 326

Senate Bill 326 (Hill): Infrastructure Inspection Bill Recognizes Needs of Community Associations While Protecting the Safety of Residents

CAI-CLAC Position: Support

Senate Bill 326 (Hill) would require community associations to inspect balconies and other wooden elevated structures to assure they are safe, by establishing practical procedures which associations can follow when they perform reserve studies. The bill also eliminates barriers imposed by builders to the rights of associations to recover for improper design and construction.

In 2018, CAI-CLAC helped to defeat provisions which would have required community associations to perform invasive testing on balconies and other elevated structures every six years. This year, CAI-CLAC had the opportunity to assist Sen. Hill in crafting a process which makes sense for community associations while at the same time meeting the public policy goal of protecting residents’ safety.

S.B. 326 includes the following provisions:

  • Every nine years, condominium associations would be required to conduct a visual inspection (by an architect or structural engineer) of a statistically significant sample of elevated structures such as balconies, decks, stairways and railings. If evidence of water intrusion is found, the inspector would use their best professional judgment in deciding on any further needed investigation.
  • The inspector would write a report including the current condition of the elevated structures, their expected future life and anticipated performance, and any repair recommendations. The inspector would also notify the local code enforcement agency of any immient threat to personal safety.
  • The first inspection must be completed by January 1, 2025.
  • S.B. 326 would also provide that an association’s board may decide whether to pursue claims against a builder or developer; developer-affiliated board members can’t participate in the decision; and other approval requirements in governing documents are not enforceable.

CAI-CLAC supports S.B. 326 and its practical solutions.

SENATE BILL 754

Senate Bill 754 (Moorlach): Candidate Qualifications and Election By Acclamation in Uncontested Community Association Elections

CAI-CLAC Position: Support

has now been amended to restrict the rights of an Association’s members to set qualifications for candidates, and includes the same restrictions listed in Senate Bill 323. It would only prevent non-owners and some felons from running for the Board, and would allow associations to disqualify candidates only if they have been owners for less than one year, if a joint owner was on the Board or a candidate, or if they were delinquent in regular assessments and if other conditions were met. As introduced, the bill was intended to allow candidates for community association boards to be elected by acclamation, without counting the ballots, if the number of candidates does not exceed the number of open seats when nominations are closed. It still has these common sense provisions, but CAI-CLAC is reconsidering its position now that the bill removes members’ rights to set qualifications for those who govern their communities.

ASSEMBLY BILL 885

Assembly Bill 885 (Irwin): Tax Relief for Disaster Victims

CAI-CLAC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 885, authored by CAI-CLAC’s 2018 legislator of the year Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, would allow victims of disasters to repair or rebuild their homes without increasing the assessed value for property tax purposes, as long as the size or the full cash value of the rebuilt home does not exceed 120% of its size or full cash value prior to the disaster. The bill would allow disaster victims to upgrade and modernize as they rebuild without risking a jump in property taxes. CAI-CLAC supports A.B. 885.

SENATE BILL 652

Senate Bill 652 (Allen): Religious Items Would Be Allowed on Doors and Door Frames in Community Associations

CAI-CLAC Position: Working with Author

Senate Bill 652 (Allen) would require community associations to allow residents to place religious items on doors and door frames of residences, if the items meet certain size and other criteria and are based on a sincerely held religious belief. CAI-CLAC worked with the author to ensure that associations can ask residents to remove the items as needed to allow routine maintenance.

ASSEMBLY BILL 1731

Assembly Bill 1731 (Boerner Horvath): Limits on Short Term Rentals in the Coastal Zone

CAI-CLAC Position: Working with Author

Assembly Bill 1731 (Boerner Horvath), which would limit short term rentals of less than 30 days in the coastal zone, was amended to apply only to San Diego County. The limits would be as follows: If the owner lives onsite, short term rentals are allowed without restriction; however, if the owner does not live onsite, the unit may only be used as a short term rental for 30 days in any one year. The bill also requires an evaluation and report by January 1, 2026. The bill does not supersede stricter limits in the governing documents of community associations. CAI-CLAC will work with the author to assure that the bill allows adequate self-governance to associations.

SENATE BILL 234

Senate Bill 234 (Skinner): Bill Would Allow Number of Children in Family Day Care to Increase

CAI-CLAC Position: Watching Legislation

Currently, small family day care facilities, defined as facilities that provide day care for eight or fewer children, are deemed a residential use. Therefore, community associations cannot prohibit them. Senate Bill 234 (Skinner) would increase the number of children from eight to fourteen. CAI-CLAC has taken a “watch” position on S.B. 234 and has communicated with the author about the impact of the bill on community associations. Associations could still apply general rules and restrictions to child care uses.

ASSEMBLY BILL 1516

Assembly Bill 1516 (Friedman): More Restrictive Defensible Space Requirements in High Fire Areas

CAI-CLAC Position: Watching Legislation

Assembly Bill 1516 (Friedman) would add to the current requirement that owners of occupied structures in designated high fire risk areas maintain a defensible space of at least 100 feet on all sides of the structure. The bill would require a non-combustible zone for five feet around the structure, and would allow more intensive fuel reduction in the area between five and 30 feet from the structure. The bill would affect community associations and owners in high fire risk areas, so CAI-CLAC is taking a “watch” position and seeking more clarity as to what could be allowed in the 5-foot and 30-foot perimeters.

RESPOND TO A CALL-TO-ACTION

We need your help to STOP SB 323. We’ve updated our pre-drafted advocacy letter above to go directly to your senator asking them to Vote NO on SB 323. Simply enter your contact information and send. Thank you for your continued support to contact your representative or other key legislators, as we need. Your voice matters!

Follow us on CAI-CLAC’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for real-time updates. You can also sign up for our weekly eBlasts here.

Last Updated: May 13, 2019