The California State Legislature passed several new laws in 2019 of which homeowners, property owners and property managers should be aware. We have compiled a select list of laws to help you plan accordingly and to stay apprised of your legal rights and obligations. While most laws went into effect on January 1, 2020, some laws became active in 2019.

Brief overviews of these laws are given to provide you a quick understanding of the underlying topics and issues. However, we have also provided links to additional information sources, if you need to research further. We strongly recommend consulting a qualified legal expert if you think any of these new laws may have serious implications regarding plans for your home, relationships with HOAs, or property that you own or manage.

New California Laws Pertaining to Homeownership and Residential Real Estate for 2020

AB 652: Religious Displays
Provides more protections to display religious items like menorahs or crosses outside one’s home. The law prohibits landlords and Homeowner Associations (HOAs) from banning the display of religious items on entry doors or door frames. The items cannot be larger than 26 by 12 inches.

AB 1018: Appraisers and Home Inspectors
Prohibits home inspectors from giving an opinion of valuation on a property. Except as required to comply with standards set forth in law or regulation, a real estate appraiser performing a real estate appraisal, shall not engage in the activity of a home inspector performing a home inspection.

AB 670: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
(in combination with SB 13 / AB 68 / AB 881)
Reduces obstacles and restrictions related to building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in California, from a package of new bills. Subject to exceptions, these bills invalidate local ADU ordinances across the state and replace them with state-mandated rules. Any provision in a CC&R (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) that prohibits or unreasonably restricts the construction, use or rental of an accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit on a lot zoned for single-family residential use is void and unenforceable. In particular, cities must approve ADU applications, cannot require the owner to live on the property, cannot charge impact fees, and cannot prevent the concurrent development of an ADU at the same time as the primary unit. Explicitly prevents Home Owners Associations (HOA’s) from preventing or disallowing the construction of ADUs within the Association.

SB 330: Housing Permitting and Approval Process
Establishes the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which will accelerate housing production in California by streamlining the permitting and approval processes, ensuring no net loss in zoning capacity (“down zoning”) and limiting fees after projects are approved.

SB 178: Declaration of State of Emergency: Building Standards for Solar
Mandates that solar is required in the construction of new homes. Allows for an exemption to the solar mandate until January 1, 2023 in areas where the Governor has declared a state of emergency. This exemption allows low-income homeowners to rebuild their homes with the requirement that was in effect at the time their home was originally constructed.

AB 1816: Insurance: 75-Day Notice of Nonrenewal
Requires insurers to provide at least a 75-day notice of a nonrenewal of a homeowner’s policy (currently 45 days) and raises the limit on a homeowner insurance claim covered by the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) to $1 million. This law also allows insurer who voluntarily writes policies for property in high fire hazard severity zone in the state responsibility area and very high fire hazard severity zone in local responsibility areas to be proportionately relieved of their responsibility to participate in the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan.

SB 234: Family Daycare Homes
Requires large family daycare homes with up to 14 children to be treated as a residential use for purposes of all local ordinances. Clarifies that apartments may be used as family daycare homes. Clarifies that a family daycare home includes a detached single-family dwelling, a townhouse, a dwelling unit within a dwelling, or a dwelling unit within a covered multifamily dwelling. Thus, family daycare homes may operate in multi-family dwellings such as apartments.

New California Laws Pertaining to Landlords and Tenants for 2020

AB 1482: Rent Control
Communities without their own rent control laws will now be covered by statewide rent control protections. The law limits rent increases to 5% each year plus inflation, but never above 10% total. The law does not apply to housing built in the 15 years prior. The limit is a rolling number so the date that housing is excluded changes every year.

SB 222: Housing Discrimination
Expands existing law to protect veterans and military personnel against housing discrimination.

SB 1188: Tenant is Allowed Occupancy of Property to Person at Risk of Homelessness
Creates a legal framework allowing a tenant, with the written approval of the owner/landlord, to take in a “person at risk of homelessness”. It includes protections for both the landlord and tenant, including the ability for the tenant to remove the person at risk of homelessness on short notice with the assistance of the police.

SB 644: Reduced Security Deposit for Service Members
Landlord may only collect one month security for unfurnished unit, or two months for furnished units, from a service member who resides on the property.

SB 329: Discrimination on the Basis of Source of Income
“Discrimination” on the basis of “source of income” has been expanded to include a refusal to rent to a tenant based on the tenant’s receipt of federal, state or local housing subsidies including “Section 8”.

AB 1110: Rent Increases above 10% Requires a 90-day Notice
Defines the notice period for increasing rent above 10% in any 12-month period as 90 days. Previously, it was 60 days. Increases that result from recertification are not held to the new notice period requirement. When the proposed rent increase for a tenant is caused by a change in a tenant’s income or family composition as determined by a recertification required by statute or regulation, the notice shall be delivered at least 30 days before the effective date of the increase, regardless of the percentage increase.

SB 18:  Extends Indefinitely Protections to Tenants in Foreclosed-Upon Property
Specifically, extends indefinitely the requirement that a landlord of a foreclosed property provide a month-to-month tenant with a 90-day notice of termination and that existing leases must generally be honored.

New California Laws Pertaining to Public Safety for 2020

SB 167: Public Safety Power Shutoffs
Requires utility companies like PG&E to devise plans on reducing the negative impact of planned power shutoffs to first responders and people with disabilities.

AB 247: Tree Trimming
Gives the California Public Utilities Commission more oversight over tree trimming efforts by utility companies. Power companies now have to submit timely reports on their brush and tree trimming work.

SB 209: Wildfire Warning Center
Establishes a wildfire warning center to broaden the state’s ability to predict and prepare for wildfire. The center would rely on a statewide network of automated weather stations and fire detection cameras.

California Legislative Resource Links for Homeowners, Property Owners & Property Managers:

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