CAI-CLAC Reminds Californians Living in Managed Community Associations of New Laws Taking Effect January 1

Several new laws that directly impact residents living in any of the 45,000 managed community associations throughout California will take effect January 1, 2018, according to the Community Association Institute – California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC).

AB 1412 – Expanding Legal Protections for Mixed-use Development Directors

Sponsored by CAI-CLAC, Assembly Bill 1412 (Choi) extends liability protection privileges enjoyed by directors in entirely residential common interest developments to those representing mixed-use communities.

“Previous law limited the personal liability of volunteer officers or directors of associations that manage exclusively residential common interest developments for tortious acts or omissions made in good faith and within their scope of duty,” explained John MacDowell, CAI-CLAC’s chair and an attorney specializing in community associations with Fiore, Racobs & Powers. “This new law expands those protections to those serving on boards for communities that include a mix of uses, such as residential and retail or office.”

“These new protections afforded by AB 1412 will encourage more residents or property owners to participate in their association board of directors,” MacDowell concluded.

SB 2 – New Fees for Processing Many Real Estate Transactions

Senate Bill 2 imposes a $75 fee to be paid at the time of recording of every real estate instrument, paper or notice with the exception of residential sales. This includes Deeds of Trust, Requests for Notice of Default, Notice of Trustee Sale, Quit Claim Deeds, just to name a few. Funds generated by this new fee will be earmarked toward state affordable housing programs.

Opposed by many of the state’s leading business organizations, of particular concern to CAI-CLAC is the law’s potential to harm many of those it intends to help, including community association residents facing property liens, loan defaults or foreclosure.

State law requires community associations to act in several ways when homeowners fall significantly behind on their association dues, and each of these actions require a large amount of paperwork. These new fees add to the cost of processing this paperwork, all of which is borne by the impacted homeowner.

“While the intention of this law is noble – raising state funds for affordable housing – we’re concerned about how much of the funding actually gets to those who need it the most along with the undue impact it will have on those already suffering from financial hardship,” said MacDowell. “For those already overloaded with debt, these fees will be piled on top of their existing mountain of liabilities under which it may be impossible to climb out; the homeowner loses and the entire association loses.”

CAI-CLAC will continue to monitor how this bill will impact community associations and their residents moving forward.

AB 634: Resident Access to Common Area Roofs for Solar Panel Installation

Assembly Bill 634 will allow residents to apply for access to and installation of solar panels on common area roofs in common interest developments. CAI-CLAC expressed concerns about this bill throughout the 2017 session due to the potential for property damage, water leaks, and other maintenance concerns.

“We certainly support opportunities for homeowners to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint through renewable energy solutions like solar energy,” said MacDowell. “But associations will now need to be vigilant to ensure that the installation of solar panels is done so in a way that doesn’t create problems for their neighbors.”

Associations are permitted to impose reasonable restrictions on the applicant, require a solar suitability analysis be completed – which includes an equitable allocation of the roof space – and will still be able to seek reimbursement from owners if their solar installations damage roofs, or impose other reasonable requirements.

SB 407 – Common Area Clubhouse Access for Member Free Speech or Political Activity

One additional new law of interest to those residing in or managing common interest developments will be Senate Bill 407, which expands association member access to common area clubhouses for the purpose of holding meetings related to political campaign or other free speech exercises.

Boards may no longer prevent association residents from accessing their community clubhouses or meeting spaces for gatherings that are political in nature or considered exercises of free speech. This access does not apply to commercial solicitations or outside groups coming into the community who weren’t specifically invited by a member of the association.

For more information about these new laws or CAI-CLAC, please visit http://www.caiclac.com.

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 http://www.caionline.org or call (888) 224-4321.

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