With this month’s deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign and veto bills in the proverbial rear-view mirror, CAA has compiled the following summaries of rental housing-related laws set to take effect Jan. 1, 2016:
Community Revitalization Authority
Assembly Bill 2 (D-Alejo)
AB 2 allows specified “disadvantaged” areas of California to create a new entity called a Community Revitalization Investment Authority. The purpose of the CRIA is to improve conditions with the intent to increase employment opportunities, reduce high-crime rates, repair deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure, clean up Brownfields and build affordable housing.
Density Bonuses and Parking Spaces
Assembly Bill 744 (D-Chau)
AB 744 allows a developer who is requesting a density bonus and including affordable units in the development to request that the city or county eliminate the minimum parking requirements for the development.
Assembly Bill 447 (R-Maienschein)
AB 447 prohibits insurers from discriminating against rental property owners who offer housing for tenants with Section 8 vouchers or other low-income programs.
Discrimination: Immigration Status
Senate Bill 600 (D-Pan)
SB 600 amends the Unruh Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “citizenship,” “immigration status,” and “primary language.” Under this bill, a landlord who asks a prospective tenant to verify his/her immigration status will not constitute a violation of this law. CAA requested, and the author added, language to the bill to clarify that landlords are not required to provide documents in a language other than English unless the landlord negotiates contracts in another language (as already required by existing law).
Assembly Bill 1506 (D-Hernandez) –– AB 1506 curbs some lawsuits under the Labor Code’s Private Attorney General Act by providing a 33-day opportunity to cure some minor, technical PAGA violations.
Assembly Bill 418 (D-Chiu)
AB 418 reduces the time limit for a tenant (who is a victim of domestic violence) to give a notice of intent to vacate to the landlord from 30 days to 14 days. The bill originally required the landlord to return the security deposit in 14 days as well, but that language was eliminated from the bill at CAA’s request.
Senate Bill 328 (D-Hueso)
SB 328 requires a landlord or the landlord’s agent who applies pesticides at the property to provide the affected tenants with a written notice prior to the application.
Senate Bill 655 (D-Mitchell)
As initially introduced, SB 655 would have added mold to the conditions that make housing substandard. The bill was amended at CAA’s request. It now provides that a landlord has no obligation to repair a dilapidation relating to visible mold until the owner has received notice of the mold problem. The bill also holds the tenant responsible for mold that is caused by the tenant’s poor housekeeping. Under the bill, a property cannot be declared substandard unless a code enforcement officer makes the identification that the visible mold exists to the extent that it endangers the occupants. A property owner is not responsible for mold that is minor and found on surfaces that can accumulate moisture as part of their properly functioning and intended use, such as bathroom showers and the like. Under current law, the term “any nuisance” found in the health and safety code is used by code enforcement and tenant attorneys to make claims against the property owner about mold in the housing and the conditions surrounding mold growth.
Short Term Rentals
Senate Bill 761 (D-Hall)
SB 761 requires short-term vacation rental websites such as Airbnb to provide disclosures to tenants.
Liability and Litigation
Civil Actions: Objections to Pleadings
Senate Bill 383 (Wieckowski)
SB 383 imposes new court requirements before a demurrer can be filed. (A demurrer challenges the legal sufficiency of a cause of action in a complaint or of an affirmative defense in a court answer.) The bill requires the plaintiff and the defendants to meet and confer at least two separate times before any demurrer can be filed. The party filing the demurrer now must file a declaration about the efforts to meet and confer, and a court must make a determination if the meet‐and-confer process was sufficient.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
Senate Bill 658 (D-Hill)
SB 658 reduces outdated requirements imposed on building owners who voluntarily install Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
Assembly Bill 243 (D-Wood) & Senate Bill 643 (D-McGuire)
These bills establish an oversight and licensing program for individuals who cultivate marijuana. Cities and counties are authorized to issue or deny permits to cultivate, and they may inspect cultivation sites. Cities and counties must have land use regulations that regulate or prohibit the cultivation of marijuana by March 1, 2016, or the state will be the sole licensing authority in that area. All indoor and outdoor cultivation sites must be conducted in accordance with state and local laws relating to land conversion, grading, electricity usage, water usage, and the like.
The bills provide that a person who applies for a license to cultivate or distribute marijuana must certify that he or she is in compliance with all local ordinances and regulations and must provide evidence of the legal right to occupy and use the proposed location, including written approval from the property owner if the licensee does not own the property. The bills do provide that activity related to cannabis use is subject to federal prosecution, regardless of the protections provided by state law.
Assembly Bill 715 (D-Daly)
This CAA sponsored-bill clarifies for local governments and school districts those portions of a new residential development that can be assessed for school fees.
Utilities & Energy
Energy Use: Utility Reporting
Assembly Bill 802 (D-Williams)
This bill mandates that utility companies provide to building owners – nonresidential and multifamily — upon their request the aggregate energy use at their property.
EV Charging Stations: Permits
Assembly Bill 1236 (D-Chiu)
AB 1236 requires a city or county to adopt an ordinance that creates an expedited and streamlined permitting process for electric vehicle charging stations.
Clotheslines – Energy Conservation
Assembly Bill 1448 (D-Lopez)
As initially introduced, AB 1448 would have prohibited residential lease provisions that restrict the use of clotheslines by tenants at the property. As amended, and signed by the Governor, the bill requires a tenant to obtain permission from the landlord prior to using a clothesline on the exterior of the building.
Senate Bill 350 (D-DeLeon)
SB 350 enacts the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015” and requires that the amount of electricity generated and sold to retail customers per year from eligible renewable energy resources be increased to 50 percent by December 31, 2030. It requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to establish annual targets for statewide energy efficiency savings and demands reduction that will achieve a cumulative doubling of statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas by Jan. 1, 2030.