Legislative Recap 2014

h o a homefront legislation Nov 17, 2014

2014 was the first year of the relocated and reorganized Davis Stirling Act, but the legislators did not give the Act much rest. At least 32 bills proposed in the 2013-2014 session to make various modifications in law affecting common interest developments, 13 of which were passed and signed by the Governor this year.

To review or track legislation, use www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. There are many helpful features, including a “today’s law as amended” tab showing how current law would be changed by the bill.

Three water conservation bills were approved: AB 2100, SB 992 and AB 2104. AB 2100 continues the current emergency protection of members not watering their yards, and removes the exemption on this protection in HOAs using recycled water. AB 2104 continues protecting water-saving landscapes, and adds a protection of homeowners removing existing turf in favor of lower water usage plants. SB 992 bans associations from requiring power washing of buildings, vehicles or concrete. AB 2100 and SB 992 were urgency measures, meaning those laws are already in effect. Most of these laws will be in effect only during declared drought emergencies (such as now).

AB 2561 protects the right of homeowners to plant edible crop plants in their back yards.

AB 2188 amends Civil Code 714, a statute protecting applications for solar energy installations. Under this new law, associations have narrower discretion in placing conditions on solar systems, and must now respond to such applications faster- within 45 days- or they are deemed approved.

AB 968 amends Civil Code 4775, regarding allocation of maintenance and repair responsibility. [See HOA Homefront #122]. The amendment fills a “hole” in the statute, and confirms what most HOA attorneys have said for years – unless the governing documents say otherwise, the HOA repairs/replaces exclusive use area, and the homeowner maintains it. This law takes effect in 2017.

SB 1243 extends the “Certified Common Interest Development Manager” program, established by Business and Professions Code Sections 11500-11506, up to the end of 2018 (is your manager certified? Your manager should be able to call themselves “certified”).

AB 2430 amends Civil 4530 and requires that, when there are charges for providing a prospective buyer HOA disclosure documents, the cost is billed to the seller (as opposed to the current practice, which is to bill the buyer). The charges must be itemized and cannot be “bundled” with other charges. If a document is provided electronically, there can be no charge.

AB 1738 amends the “Internal Dispute Resolution” process of Civil 5910, and confirms that a participant may bring an attorney to IDR meetings (this is a bad idea for both sides, since the whole point of IDR is to keep attorneys out of the process and keep the cost down. Just because you CAN bring an attorney doesn’t mean you should. Both sides should keep attorneys out of IDR).

AB 2755 amends Corporations Code 5047 and excludes non-voting participants in board meetings from the definition of “director”. Some associations have “advisors” or “ex officio” participants, and they will now clearly not be considered directors.

Developers may be interested in AB 2222 and AB 569, although those new laws will not affect boards or managers. AB 2222 involves “density bonuses” for builders of new projects, and AB 569 regards stock cooperatives, which are less common.

Written by Kelly G. Richardson

Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to [email protected]. Past columns at www.hoahomefront.com. All rights reserved®.