At the California Apartment Association, we advocated for and against dozens of bills this year that could affect the rental housing business.
In most cases, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed with us.
While some bills below will affect multi-family housing more than others, each is important to landlords, tenants, and California as a whole.
Check out the following roundup of laws taking effect in 2014, their anticipated impacts, and where CAA stood on them.
Subdivision Maps: Extensions — AB 116 (D-Bocanegra) — CAA position:
Support — Like other legislation before it, AB 116 extends the life of expiring subdivision maps by 24 months, keeping existing, approved maps and the jobs they create active as the construction industry continues to rebound from the recession.
Proposition 65 — AB 227 (D-Gatto) — CAA position: Support — Proposition 65 — AB 227 amends the Health and Safety Code to allow a business that receives a notice for violating the warning provisions of Proposition 65 to correct that violation within 14 days. If the violation is corrected by the business owner within 14 days, the owner would pay a $500 fine — as opposed to $2,500 for each day the violation remains unfixed. Proposition 65 was passed by the voters in 1986; it requires any business with 10 or more employees to post a warning sign if they suspect or know that there are chemicals at the property known to cause cancer or other productive harm. For example, if tobacco smoke is allowed at the property, a sign would be required. Tobacco is just one of the hundreds of chemicals that triggers this requirement.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations — AB 1092 (D-Levine) — CAA position: Support — AB 1092 requires the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development to adopt building standards for the installation of future electric vehicle charging infrastructure for parking spaces in multifamily dwellings and nonresidential development.
Mattress Recycling — SB 254 (D-Hancock) – CAA position: Support — SB 254 intends to reduce illegal dumping of used mattresses. It requires manufacturers of mattresses sold in this state to develop, finance, and implement a convenient and cost effective program to collect and recycle used mattresses. Link to CAA coverage.
Building Standards — SB 401 (D-Hueso) – CAA position: Support — SB 401 requires a state agency that proposes a building standard to cite the estimated cost and benefits of compliance.
Meetings: Publications of Action Taken — SB 751 (Yee) – CAA position: Support —SB 751 requires local agencies to publicly report any action taken and the vote or abstention of each member of a legislative body. This bill would achieve greater public transparency from local public boards, commissions, and other local regulatory agencies by requiring that they record and publish the votes of their individual members.
Employee Attorney’s Fees — SB 462 (D-Monning) — CAA position: Oppose — SB 462 undermines a recent Supreme Court ruling and existing statute to preclude the recovery of attorney fees for employers who prevail in wage-and-hour litigation, unless the employer can prove the action was pursued in “bad faith.”
Prepaid Listing Services — SB 269 (D-Hill) — CAA position: Support — This bill expands the enforcement powers of the Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) over prepaid rental listing services (PRLS) licensees; it authorizes consumers harmed by PRLS providers to seek compensation from the Consumer Recovery Account (CRA), increases application fees for the PRLS license to better fund the CRA, and requires licensees to provide prospective clients with a written notice of the consumer’s rights.
Human Trafficking — SB 612 (D-Leno) – CAA position: Support — SB 612 allows victims of human trafficking to terminate residential leases, a protection currently available for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder or dependent adult abuse. SB 612 also expands the type of documentation allowed for proof of the abuse; a doctor and other medical experts, as defined, may provide proof that the individual was a victim of the abuse. CAA’s requested amendments were accepted by the author to clarify the type of documentation required. The bill includes a sunset date of Jan. 1, 2016, for those provisions relating to the doctor’s note.
Natural Gas and Electricity Rates — AB 327 (D-Perea) – CAA position: Support — This bill removes prescriptive statutes enacted during the energy crisis of 2000-2001 and gives authority to the California Public Utilities Commission to approve fair and reasonable rates while not compromising electric service customers.
Shared Renewable Energy Program — SB 43 (D-Wolk) – CAA position: Support — SB 43, and its companion bill AB 1014, creates a Shared Renewables program for all customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E to voluntarily contract for shared renewable electricity production and receive a credit against their electricity use in return.
Mobile Home Parks and Apartment Buildings — SB 196 (R-Cannella) – CAA position: Support — SB 196 allows an apartment owner who has gas or electric submeters beyond the master meter to post a website address where the tenants can access the utility corporation’s rates. Current law requires the property owner to post a copy of the rates in a conspicuous place at the property.