“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 for single family residential properties, and by January 1, 2019 for multi-family residential and commercial properties. The law also imposes certain seller disclosure requirements after January 2011. Although the law is directed at the property owner, it does impact associations when undertaking large-scale reconstruction projects which require permits.

Swimming pools/drains

AB 1020 revisits the Federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act enacted to promote child safety in and around public pools, spas and hot tubs. AB 1020 contains the State law that requires public swimming pools be equipped with anti-entrapment devices or systems that meet Federal law. The State law grandfathers in any common interest development that has already complied with the Federal law between December 19, 2007 and January 1, 2010, such that any compliant common interest development will not be required to modify its pool if a change is proposed by the local city or county. The association must file by September 30, 2010 a certificate of compliance for any pool or spa retrofitted in accordance with the Act within this time frame.

Association director voting, committees with board authority

Assembly Bill 1233 provides a few modifications that impact an association’s

corporate structure or business operations. It amends Corporations Code Section 7211 to provide that each director present and voting at a board meeting shall have one vote on each matter presented for action at that meeting, and that no director may vote at a board meeting by proxy. AB 1233 also amends Corporations Code Section 7212 to clarify that non-board members cannot be appointed to any committee that exercises board authority.

Small claims court

Assembly Bill 712 amends Section 116.220 of the Code of Civil Procedure to provide small claims courts with jurisdiction over actions for injunctive or other equitable relief, where a statute expressly authorizes that court to award such relief. This law clarifies that non-monetary claims based upon, for example, director election challenges and other alleged Civil Code violations can be brought in small claims court.

Disclosure Documents Index

The association shall, a the request of any member, distribute to the member, in the manner described in the Civil Code § 1350.7, the following Disclosure Documents Index:

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.