California Opens the Door to Accessory Dwelling Units in Planned Development Communities with Assembly Bill 670

California Opens the Door to Accessory Dwelling Units in Planned Development Communities with Assembly Bill 670

The California Legislature has paved the way for the “granny flat” or “mother-in-law unit” in your community.  Formally termed the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) this ever-popular form of housing is a legal and regulatory term for a secondary house that shares the building lot of a larger, primary house.  ADUs are either attached to or detached from the primary dwelling unit but provide independent living facilities for the resident.  Unlike ADUs, JADUs are no more than 500 square foot bedrooms in a single-family home with an entrance from the main dwelling unit and an entrance to the outside.  They need not have a bathroom. Cloaked with the good intentions of addressing California’s extreme housing shortage and increasing housing density, and modeled after similar laws addressing solar energy systems, electric vehicle charging stations, drought tolerant plants and artificial turf, Assembly Bill 670 adds Section 4751 to the Civil Code which renders void or unenforceable any CC&Rs provision or deed restriction in a planned development that either effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) on a lot. Civil Code Section 4751, however, does allow, an association to enforce reasonable restrictions that do not unreasonably increase the cost to construct or effectively prohibit construction of an ADU.  Any ADU must also meet the requirements of Government Code 65852.2 and 65852.22 (governing ADU). Many in opposition to AB 670 view it as unnecessary micromanagement of private planned residential communities that negatively impacts an association’s ability to regulate such daily burdens as parking, traffic, noise and other characteristics of overcrowded communities.  Nevertheless,...
Comprehensive Community Association Elections Reform Legislation Imposes Strict Standards for Elections and Board Qualifications

Comprehensive Community Association Elections Reform Legislation Imposes Strict Standards for Elections and Board Qualifications

Governor Newsom has signed into law perhaps the most sweeping legislation targeting a community association’s ability to self-govern.  Senate Bills 323 and 754 together present the greatest legislative change in association elections since the two-envelope secret written ballot procedures were first imposed upon community associations.  The changes that most impact community associations are as follows: Timing: The legislation amends Civil Code § 5100 (a) to require director elections be held at the end of each director’s expiring term and at least every four years. Vote by Acclamation: For large communities (of 6,000 or more separate interests) and where the number of nominees is equal to or less than the number of board seats to be filled, the legislation allows for an association to conduct a director election vote by acclamation. Mandated Candidate Qualifications: The legislation further amends Civil Code § § 5100 and 5105 (b) mandating that elections rules include the following specified candidate qualifications: 1) that the candidate be an association member; and, 2) that a corporate or trust property owner be represented by the appointment of a natural person. Limited Candidate Disqualification SB 323 adds Civil Code § Subsection 5105 (c) allowing an association, through election rules or bylaws only, to disqualify a candidate 1) with a prior criminal conviction that prevents the association from acquiring a fidelity bond or would result in the termination of the associations existing fidelity bond; 2) whose election would result in joint owners of a separate interest serving on the board at the same time; or, 3) who has been a member for less than one (1) year.   New Limitations...
New Law Mandates Battery Back-up for all Residential Garage Door Motors

New Law Mandates Battery Back-up for all Residential Garage Door Motors

SB 969 amends Section 19891 and adds Section 19892 to the Health & Safety Code and mandates all residential garage motors be equipped with back up battery functions.   Section 19892 provides that after July 1, 2019, any automatic garage door opener manufactured, sold or installed shall be equipped with a battery back-up function such that the automatic garage door opener functions during a power outage. This code section applies to “all automatic garage door openers manufactured or sold for use in any residence or other residential applications of automatic garage door openers manufactured for commercial purposes.” As for existing motors that lack a back-up battery function, the law prohibits any new door from being connected to a non-compliant motor. In other words, if you do nothing, there is no requirement to upgrade an existing garage door motor. If, you install a new door and connect it to an existing motor after July 1, 2019, that existing motor being connected to the new door must have back up battery function. Health & Safety Code Section 19891 carries a fine of $1000 per garage door opener installed which is not in compliance with section 19892. Written by Matt D. Ober Matt D. Ober Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo. Follow ← Older Entries Next Entries...

SB 323 Heads to the Assembly

Back in April, we alerted you to some changing legislation in Sacramento. Sentate Bill (SB) 323 (last session’s SB 1265) re-emerged to address association elections and provide director qualifications. Just this last week, we learned that SB 323 passed through the Senate, and is now moving on into the Assembly. Associations that want to maintain control over their elections need to reach out and let the legislature hear how these changes will affect them. This revised bill is an attempt by Sacramento to mandate a one-size fits all election process onto communities from 2-2,000 owners. SB 323 would: Restrict the choices for inspectors of election Release privileged voting information of Owners Require Associations to release email addresses Increase oversight by courts in routine election processes Individual communities could no longer set their own standards and expectations for their leaders. If you oppose this attempt to deny owners control over their own communities, now is the time to act.   Boards, owners, managers and all community advocates should make sure their voices are heard. Keep up the communications, ask other owners to contact their representatives, and let Sacramento know how you feel about this attempt to take control away from owners. If you haven’t already, you can follow the progress and stay informed about the legislation using the link below. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov   Written by Matt D. Ober Matt D. Ober Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Principal of Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo.     Follow ← Older Entries Next Entries...

Dwelling Units

Only a week after the CAI Day at the Capitol, and CLAC was already back to work reviewing newly introduced legislation. Assembly Member Friedman introduced AB 670, which would require associations to allow owners to construct additional dwelling Units on their property. This bill would void community restrictions on accessory dwelling Units on a single-family lot, unless those restrictions were recorded prior to January 1, 2020. AB 670 defines two types of structures. First would be an “accessory dwelling unit,” which is a second unit on a lot up to 1,200 square feet in size. As drafted, the language allows accessory dwellings to either be completely detached or contained within the walls of the house on the lot, and allows those dwellings to include cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. Second would be a “junior accessory dwelling unit,” which can be up to 500 square feet that has an outside entrance and cooking facilities, but may share bathroom facilities with the main house on the lot. This bill would significantly impact associations’ ability to manage growth and enforce standards within their community. Architectural standards are an important part of maintaining an overall community, and ensuring that owners can have input on decisions that affect the value of their homes. CLAC is asking associations to oppose this effort to move architectural control from communities to Sacramento. Richardson|Ober will continue to dedicate a portion of our newsletters to update key legislative updates as we learn more from CLAC. You can also track the bills as they make their way through Sacramento at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Written by Matthew A. Gardner Matthew A. Gardner is...
R|O Returns with Updates from CAI’s Legislative Day

R|O Returns with Updates from CAI’s Legislative Day

This month, Richardson|Ober was proud to participate in CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee’s (CLAC) Legislative Day in the Capitol. Every year, community managers, board members, homeowners, and business partners from throughout California gather together at the Capitol to be the voice for community association owners throughout the State on pending legislation impacting their communities. Building upon last year’s legislative successes the two-day strategic planning advocacy and summit gave grass roots supporters many opportunities to meet with California representatives and make CAI’s case for the upcoming legislative calendar.  The following is an overview of some of the most significant pending legislation. SB 323 Although CLAC worked to successfully defeat SB 1265 last year, the substance of that bill has returned this year as SB 323. Senator Wieckowski is once again attempting to push a one-size-fits-all approach to community elections. SB 323 would restrict the selection of election inspectors, would not allow communities the right to set their own qualifications for directors serving on the board, and would increase oversight by courts in routine election processes. CLAC will need support to once again defeating the harmful efforts of this bill. SB 434 The remaining bills demonstrate where CLAC supports creating good law to help communities. CLAC encourages legislators to support Senate Bill 434, introduced by Senator Archuleta. SB 434 incorporates best practices within the management industry and requires management companies to transfer association records in a timely manner. Both CAI and CACM came together to support this common sense legislation that helps communities run more smoothly. SB 754 CLAC also supports Senate Bill 754, sponsored by Senator Moorlach, which contains familiar...
Managers Are Not Contractors

Managers Are Not Contractors

Governor Brown provided a degree of certainty to community association managers by signing Senate Bill (SB) 822 into law, excluding community association managers from the definition of construction consultants for purposes of Section 7026.1 of the Business and Professions Code (regarding construction contractors). SB 822 adds the following language to Section 7026.1 of the Business and Professions (B&P) Code relating to contractors: “(b) The term “contractor” or “consultant” does not include a common interest development manager, as defined in Section 11501, and a common interest development manager is not required to have a contractor’s license when performing management services, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 11500.” By way of background, last year Section 7026.1 of the B&P Code was amended by the passage of AB 2237 mandating that a consultant overseeing home improvement construction projects have a contractor’s license. This amendment caused concern among some community association managers who were involved in common area maintenance and repair projects or bid compilation for their communities. If community association managers were considered “consultants,” then they too would have to have a contractor’s license under Section 7026.1. The Contractor’s State Licensing Board (CSLB) responded to the community manager concerns raised by clarifying that the intent of last year’s amendment (AB 2237) was not to include community association managers within the definition of a “consultant.” The CSLB accepted the proposed amendment to Section 7026.1, leading to its inclusion into SB 822. SB 822 does not become law until January 1, 2014. Therefore, community managers still should exercise caution in any construction project oversight, involvement or undertaking. Written by Matt D. Ober Matt...
Community Association Legislative Update New Laws for 2018

Community Association Legislative Update New Laws for 2018

2017 was one of the most active legislative years for Community Associations in recent memory. Perhaps it was the Governor’s “official” end of the drought that left State lawmakers with time to micromanage our communities on issues from free speech to solar; from new disclosure obligations to recording fees. Now that the dust has settled, we are left with the following legislation for our communities to adjust to in the coming year. SB 2 (Sen. Toni Atkins) Building Homes and Jobs Act (Imposes a $75.00 fee on recorded real estate transition documents (excluded commercial and residential sales) to provide funds for affordable housing.) Under the guise of funding affordable housing throughout the State, beginning January 1, 2018, SB 2 imposes a $75 fee on every real estate instrument, paper or notice required or permitted by law “per each transaction, not to exceed $225 per transaction.” The fee does not apply to documents recorded in connection with a real estate sales transfer. The fee does attach to grant deeds, deeds of trust, abstracts of judgement, notices of default and liens and releases of liens. In other words, this law will impact community association assessment collection by adding to the fees an association is charged for recorded documents, fees which ultimately will be passed on to the delinquent owner. The author of SB 2 describes the bill as establishing a vital ongoing funding source for affordable housing. The law requires the funds collected be deposited into the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund to be allocated to affordable housing programs and to local governments for affordable housing and homeless related programs...
Community Association Law Summary 2010

Community Association Law Summary 2010

“The following is a summary of the most significant new legislation that impacts California community associations, signed into law in 2009.” Disclosure documents index Assembly Bill 899 is another disclosure law. It adds Civil Code Section 1363.005 to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act which requires associations to distribute to a member upon request, a Disclosure Documents Index identifying the particular disclosure documents required under the Civil Code. AB 899 also amends Civil Code Section 1365.2.5 by requiring associations to include a specified statement of the interest rate earned on the association’s reserve funds and the assumed inflation rate applied to major component repair and replacement costs in the Assessment and Reserve Funding Disclosure Summary. A sample Disclosure Documents Index is included at the end of this summary. Water efficient landscaping AB 1061 repeals and replaces Section 1353.8 of the Civil Code regarding use of water efficient landscaping in common interest developments. It makes unenforceable any provision of the association’s governing documents that has the effect of: 1) prohibiting the use of low water-using plants as a group, or 2) prohibiting or restricting compliance with any local water efficient landscape ordinance or water conservation measure. AB 1061 does not prohibit an association from enforcing its existing landscape rules and regulations provided those rules do not prohibit water efficient landscaping as a group. Plumbing fixtures Another water conservation bill, Senate Bill 407 requires property owners to replace all non-water-conserving interior plumbing fixtures (toilets, faucets, showerheads) with water-conserving fixtures by certain dates, depending upon the type of property or project; by January 1, 2014 in remodeled units, by January 1, 2017...