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New Year Brings New Laws that will Impact California Community Associations

December 22, 2016

The following is a press release distributed December 20, 2016.

Sacramento, CA – Community association managers, board members and residents living in the nearly 50,000 community associations throughout California will be directly impacted by several new laws when they wake up January 1, 2017.

AB 968 (Gordon)

Chief among them is Assembly Bill 968 (Gordon), which amends the Davis-Stirling Act governing common-interest developments, or community associations, as it relates to exclusive use common areas.

Prior to AB 968, individual homeowners in community associations were responsible for the maintenance of exclusive use common areas. Meanwhile, the association was responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of non-exclusive use common areas such as swimming pools and landscaping.

AB 968 clarifies the association is responsible for the repair and replacement of exclusive use common areas. The homeowner will still be responsible for maintaining such areas.

“Think of a patio or deck,” explained John R. MacDowell, attorney specializing in community associations with Fiore, Racobs & Powers, and chair of the California Legislative Action Committee of the Community Associations Institute. “Homeowners will still be responsible for keeping the area clean and maintaining trees, plants and other items.”

“But the association will now be responsible for repairing the structure of the deck; repair of common area walls and fences in patio enclosures; repair of utilities that serve just one unit, as well as anything else designated as “exclusive use.”

AB 918 (Vidak)

Assembly Bill 918 (Vidak) requires that owners in community associations keep their board informed as to whether or not their home is owner-occupied, vacant or rented out. Additionally, they must notify the board as to the primary and secondary addresses where notices are to be delivered, as well as the names of owners’ legal representatives or other contact persons in event of the owners’ extended absence.

“Many residents, board members and managers grow frustrated when the owner of a home can’t be reached either because they don’t live in the area or have moved and they can’t reach the renter,” explained MacDowell. “This can also be a public safety or maintenance concern if there’s ever a problem such as flooding or after an earthquake.”

Other new laws that will likely impact residents and managers of community associations include:

AB 1978 (Gonzalez) – Creates additional registration, investigation, enforcement, training and criminal liability on employers and individuals in the janitorial business as well as joint liability for those who contract for janitorial services. This includes community associations and community management companies who often contract such businesses as vendors to maintain common areas.

AB 814 (Hill) – Prohibits excessive water use by residential customers, including those living in multi-unit housing complexes during prescribed periods such as water emergencies and drought.

AB 2362 (Chu) – Details the process by which owners in community associations are to be notified regarding the application of pesticides. Associations, for example, must provide notice to a homeowner and, if applicable, the tenant if pesticides are to be applied without a licensed pest control operator. It also authorizes owners and/or tenants to agree to immediate pesticide application.

Community association boards are encouraged to review their rules and procedures to ensure they are in line with these laws, which go into effect at midnight on January 1, 2017.

About CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee

Community Associations Institute, or CAI, is an international organization providing education and resources to community associations, their volunteer leaders, and the industries that serve them.  CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee, CLAC, advocates the interests of the over 50,000 community associations in California and educates legislators about homeowner association living and governance.  CLAC’s delegates, appointed by the eight CAI chapters in California, include homeowner volunteers, community association managers, and other industry professionals. Visit http://www.caiclac.com to learn more.

In addition to state and national legislative advocacy, CAI provides information, tools and resources to community association volunteer leaders, community managers and management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to community associations. For more information, visit www.caionline.org or call (888) 224-4321.

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