By John R. MacDowell, Esq.

Through the grass-roots efforts of the Community Association Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC), Governor Brown vetoed two bills that would have imposed unnecessary burdens on California’s community associations. We also had other successes in the 2018 legislature in educating legislators and their staffs about common interest developments and the impact of new laws.

The legislature did pass (and the Governor signed) bills which will affect community associations, including a bill which will allow associations to better protect their finances. Senate Bill 2912, sponsored by CAI-CLAC, provides: 1) transfers greater than $10,000 or 5% of an association’s total combined reserve and operating account deposits, whichever is lower, will require prior written approval from the board; 2) financial documents must be reviewed monthly instead of quarterly, by all Board members or by a committee of Board members, one of whom must be the treasurer (Boards do not need to meet monthly to review the financials, but the review must be ratified when the Board does meet.); 3) associations must obtain a fidelity bond in an amount at least equal to the reserves plus three months’ assessments.

Senate Bill 1016 makes changes in the requirements for electric vehicle charging stations. The owners must now agree to pay the costs associated with the installation of the charging station. The owner of the charging station is still required to maintain a liability insurance policy (but the $1,000,000 amount requirement is gone), and must now provide the association with a certificate of insurance within 14 days of approval of the application. The bill limits the award of attorneys’ fees to a prevailing homeowner requesting to have an EV charging station installed. The bill also adds provisions regarding EV-dedicated time of use meters similar to those for charging stations.

Senate Bill 261 will allow homeowners to provide consent in writing or by e-mail to receive documents from their associations via e-mail, fax or other electronic means. (Previously, the consent could only be provided “in writing.”)

The two-year 2019-2020 legislative session has already begun and lawmakers, their staffs (and CAI-CLAC) are working on legislation. We’ll let members know what is happening in Sacramento and how you can help educate legislators about community association issues. The Hot Bills Blog on our website ( will provide the status of pending bills that affect common interest developments.