Legislative Session Hot Bills

New Legislation Effective on January 1, 2020

There were several bills being considered by the state legislature in 2019, all of which could significantly impact those living in common interest developments. Below is a recap of the 2019 Legislative Session “hot bills” and the results.

SENATE BILL 323 

Senate Bill 323 (Wieckowski): BILL THREATENING PRIVACY IN HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION ELECTIONS REINTRODUCED ​

CAI-CLAC Position: Oppose

In 2018, the Community Association Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee 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.

SB 323 has the following effects:

  • It limits the right of an association’s membership to set qualifications for Board candidates. It would prevent non-owners 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, if a past felony convictions jeopardizes the Association’s ability to maintain or obtain fidelity bond insurance, or if they were delinquent in assessments and if other conditions were met.
  • It prohibits associations from ever suspending an owner’s right to vote.
  • It requires the inspector of elections to be an entity or individual with no previous contractual relationship with the association, which disqualifies managers, attorneys and accountants, among others.  This will be a new cost for many associations.
  • 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.

SB 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 will deter them from running from the Board (by imposing a deadline to run which is months before the election).

CAI-CLAC opposes this bill.  Despite CAI-CLAC’s grass roots efforts, the bill was approved by the State Assembly – but with 28 “no” votes and 10 abstentions. Please respond to CAI-CLAC’s call to action by asking Gov. Newsom to veto the bill hereYour voice matters! 

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) will 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.

AB 670 was approved by the legislature and signed into law on August 30, 2019. It will become effective January 1, 2020.

SENATE BILL 434 

Senate Bill 434 (Archuleta): BILL SPONSORED BY CAI-CLAC REGARDING COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION RECORDS NOW INACTIVE

CAI-CLAC Position: Support

Senate Bill 434 (Archuleta), jointly sponsored by Community Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee and the California Association of Community Managers would require managers to turn over association records within thirty days after they are notified that the association will be changing management companies. Other parties later added unnecessary amendments to the bill which would have codified a standard for association management. This bill is now inactive.

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 that 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:

  • For new construction, builders would be required to provide a full set of plans to an association before the first escrow closes.
  • 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 imminent 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. This bill has been signed into law and will be effective January 1, 2020.

SENATE BILL 754

Senate Bill 754 (Moorlach): CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS AND ELECTION BY ACCLAMATION IN UNCONTESTED COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION ELECTIONS

CAI-CLAC Postion: Oppose

Senate Bill 754 (Moorlach) has been amended to apply only to very large associations. It restricts the rights of an association with 6,000 or more members to set qualifications for candidates. It would only prevent non-owners 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, if the candidate has been convicted of a felony that jeopardizes the Association’s ability to obtain or maintain fidelity bond insurance, 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; however they apply only to associations with 5,000 or more members.   CAI-CLAC has taken an oppose position now that the bill removes members’ rights to set qualifications for those who govern their communities. 

S.B. 754 was approved by the legislature and has been presented to Gov. Newsom for signature.

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 Assemblymember 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.

 The legislature approved this bill unanimously and it is on Gov. Newsom’s desk for signature.

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. The bill has been approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Newsom.

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  worked with the author to assure that the bill allows adequate self-governance to associations. The bill did not move this year and CLAC will continue to monitor the short term rental issue.

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 took a “watch” position on S.B. 234 and 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. The legislature approved the bill and it was signed into law, effective January 1, 2020.

ASSEMBLY BILL 1516

Assembly Bill 1516 (Friedman): MORE RESTRICTIVE DEFENSIBLE SPACE REQUIREMENTS IN HIGH FIRE RISK 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 took a “watch” position and seeking more clarity as to what could be allowed in the 5-foot and 30-foot perimeters. The bill was approved by the legislature and sent to Gov. Newsom for signature.

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Last Updated: November 10, 2019