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HAPPY NEW LAWS! 2016

It’s that time again, when the hangover remedies have worn off, and you have to start gearing back up for work.  At least the “fitness resolutions” have another three weeks to go before they fall to the sidelines. So, while everyone is still groggy, it’s time to hit you with what you’ll have to be compliant with, or at least thinking about, as you start the new year.  After all, the Legislature never sleeps! January 1 is when just about all the laws passed by our beloved State government comes into effect.  Some of these were passed way back in 2015, others more toward the end of last year.  Some make sense.  Others ... well, this is California after all. For real estate people, both owners and tenants, and certainly brokers, there are a plethora of regulations and statutes that now need to be factored in to everyday life. Over this and the next e-zine, we’ll go through some of them.  For now, here are the top few that got my attention:

 

Air B-N-B –– Rent-a-Rooms

AirB-N-B (and other short term rental companies) have been having a great time, and have generated a LOT of income from folks “renting” out their homes and making a few extra bucks.  Tenants wanted in on that cash flow as well - so they started renting out (or sub-leasing out) their apartments and rental houses too.  Oops. Turns out, when a tenant does that, the tenant might be violating the terms of the underlying rental agreement.  Landlords certainly thought so - and started evicting the tenants when discovering the house was put up on AirB-N-B.  Ouchie!

What to do?

Well, the Legislature can’t change the terms of the rental agreement; so what other way is there to “protect” the tenant?  After all, some tenants have no clue that listing a rental property on AirB-N-B was a violation of their lease.  Should the customer be forced to get the lease from the tenant?  Should the landlord be forced to post a notice on the property if there is a prohibition on short term rentals?  Should the tenant be forced to read their own lease?  That makes sense.  But, how does one prevent a tenant from being stupid and not reading their lease?  Laws can be passed to make sure the tenant knows to check their lease before listing the rental property as a short term rental and to see if the tenant can do that.

But how to you remind a tenant to do that?

Hang on!  Wait a minute!  But who has to remind the tenant to do that?  Well, those AirB-N-B people are making a cut on the rental, so it ought to be fair to make THEM do it.  Whatever. In any event, a tenant now gets a warning when the tenant lists rental property.  The tenant is advised to make sure it’s OK to do so, and to check their lease.

See:  Senate Bill 761.

Codified as Business and Professions Code §§22590, 22592 and 22594.

Effective date is January 1, 2016.

 

Grannie’s Panties –– Clothes-lines

Next on the happy hit parade for 2016 is a new law relating to clothes-lines.  You remember those?  Granny used to hang the sheets, or your Winnie the Poo underwear on it.  Two big poles sticking out of the backyard with a line strung between them, that you’d always nearly decapitate yourself with as you ran back and forth.  Or the big round squeaky thing hanging from the upstairs window with a line to the neighbor’s house (or the tree in the back yard).  Oh, and the clothes-pins.  Big wooden things (that we also used to keep the potato chip bag closed with...).   Yeah; those things.

Seems those people on the Homeowners Association board never had a Grandma.  They outlawed clothes-lines; presumably because they didn’t want to see your tighty-whities or Granny’s bra hanging from a line between buildings.  You couldn’t even have a clothes line in your own backyard!

Well, by gods, the Legislature - guardians of dogs, parades and apple pie - have seen fit to intervene!  Clothes-lines are PROTECTED !  At least, if it is in your own backyard.

Assembly Bill 1448.

Codified as Civil Code §§1940.20 and 4750.10.

Effective date is January 1, 2016

 

Turf Wars

Last of the bunch (for today, anyway) has to do with artificial turf.  No, not the kind you see at the football stadium, but the kind some people put in their front yard. (It seems painting concrete green, just never caught on...)

As part of California’s drought, the water-conservation minded thought it a good idea to put artificial turf down where their water-guzzling grass used to be.  Homeowner Association boards (as vilified a bunch as ever there was) didn’t like look as Astroturf.  HOAs tried to ban it.  No way, Jose.  After all, grass is ‘bad’ in California, when there’s no water.

This law says that a HOA cannot prevent an owner from using artificial grass – AND cannot force an owner to remove artificial grass when the drought is (officially) over.

 Assembly Bill 349.

Codified as Civil Code §4735.

Effective date is September 4, 2015

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