New Law Mandates Battery Back-up for all Residential Garage Door Motors

New Law Mandates Battery Back-up for all Residential Garage Door Motors

SB 969 amends Section 19891 and adds Section 19892 to the Health & Safety Code and mandates all residential garage motors be equipped with back up battery functions.   Section 19892 provides that after July 1, 2019, any automatic garage door opener manufactured, sold or installed shall be equipped with a battery back-up function such that the automatic garage door opener functions during a power outage. This code section applies to “all automatic garage door openers manufactured or sold for use in any residence or other residential applications of automatic garage door openers manufactured for commercial purposes.” As for existing motors that lack a back-up battery function, the law prohibits any new door from being connected to a non-compliant motor. In other words, if you do nothing, there is no requirement to upgrade an existing garage door motor. If, you install a new door and connect it to an existing motor after July 1, 2019, that existing motor being connected to the new door must have back up battery function. Health & Safety Code Section 19891 carries a fine of $1000 per garage door opener installed which is not in compliance with section 19892.   Written by Matt D. Ober Matt D. Ober Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Principal of Richardson|Ober PC.     Follow ← Older...
A Widespread Drought: Legal and Other Challenges of the Association

A Widespread Drought: Legal and Other Challenges of the Association

Water conservation is not new to California communities. But the declared statewide drought emergency coupled with water conservation legislation aimed specifically at community associations leaves no doubt that water conservation will remain in our vocabulary. And while the emergency requires short term action to conserve water, it also provides a rare opportunity to make long term reductions in our communities’ water consumption, provided your community can negotiate through the challenges presented by its Governing Documents and human nature. Engage your residents Community-wide change requires owner buy-in. Look for ways to involve the owners in the process. For example, form a water conservation committee tasked with surveying the Association’s water use and identifying ways to reduce water consumption. If owners are part of the solution, you are more likely to build community-wide acceptance of water reduction measures. Guide the committee with a charter that identifies specific tasks such as: Identify areas suitable for drought tolerant plants. Locate areas for irrigation modification or reduction. Identify areas of poor drainage or excessive water run-off. Amend rules or adopt policies to reduce water use Associations subject to local water restrictions will have to conform to watering schedules and other limitations. Unregulated communities can be proactive by voluntarily adopting policies to reduce community-wide water use. Policies should limit watering to certain times of the day or certain days of the week. For sub-metered communities, boards can work with their local water utility to determine acceptable per owner water use standards and adopt policies to limit water use per owner. A fine schedule or surcharge would serve to motivate owners to monitor their own water...
Client Alert: SB 1265 is Bad Legislation for Communities

Client Alert: SB 1265 is Bad Legislation for Communities

STOP SB 1265 (Wieckowski) Contact Governor Jerry Brown to veto SB 1265    August 30, 2018 SB 1265 (Wieckowski) if enacted into law will harm California community associations. If passed, the bill will increase the cost and complexity of HOA elections, jeopardize homeowner privacy, and significantly damage the sanctity of the secret ballot. The bill also prevents associations from imposing reasonable eligibility standards on board candidacy – such as a member who has unresolved architectural or disciplinary issues, or is actively suing the association. Many associations require a board member to live in the community, and this also would be outlawed by SB 1265. SB 1265 passed off the Assembly floor yesterday and the Senate today. It is now headed to the Governor’s office.Please urge Governor Brown to veto this bill. It’s bad for California HOAs. You can also CALL THE GOVERNOR at 916-445-2841, choose option #6 to speak to a person, and then ask the staffer who picks up for a VETO on Senate Bill 1265. They will ask for your zip code. That’s it. The whole process takes just a few minutes For the most recent updates on all pending legislation that may impact your community, please contact us at 877-446-2529. To view the original email message, click...
Aging America: Drawing a Line Between Community Living and Assisted Living

Aging America: Drawing a Line Between Community Living and Assisted Living

Many of today’s seniors believe they can forego assisted-living centers and age in place instead. That’s something community associations can’t ignore. Roughly 40 million Americans, or 13 percent of the population, are 65 or older. By 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that number will rise to 72 million, or 20 percent of the population. Community association leaders need to take note of these numbers because seniors increasingly are choosing to remain in their homes rather than move to adult-care or assisted-living facilities. In addition, the supply of family caregivers, who provide the majority of long-term services and support, is unlikely to keep pace with future demand, according to AARP. As people live well into their 80s and 90s, that will put increased pressures, obligations and potential liabilities on associations. The following article contains information and perspectives from community association stakeholders who have handled aging-in-place concerns professionally and personally. If your association hasn’t started talking about how it will handle its aging residents, it’s time. Aging residents have specialized needs and present unique challenges that board members and community managers aren’t trained or necessarily skilled to handle. Association governing documents are being tested by the aging population too. Hoarding, disorientation and physical limitations that prevent access to common areas are just some of the problems association leaders increasingly will face. These issues pose a threat to the safety and welfare of the individual resident, but they also present risks for the community and its other residents. Managers and board members must be mindful of how to recognize and respond to these issues without unnecessarily assuming liability or invading an...
A Proactive Approach to Controlling Short-Term Rentals in Your Community

A Proactive Approach to Controlling Short-Term Rentals in Your Community

Whether through the Courts, the Legislature or human nature, from drought restrictions to email prohibitions, community associations are often forced to adapt quickly to change in order to govern effectively. In the case of the short-term rental craze, this change seems harder to tackle. Indeed, the short-term rental market is having an increasing impact on community associations. Residents often complain that short-term renters – who are transient by definition – do not treat association common areas with the same regard as resident owners. Most are unaware of association rules and contribute to mounting security, trash removal, parking, and noise related concerns, not to mention the increased common area expenses that come with the increased burden of handling short-term renters. On an emotional level, residents are often uncomfortable with the fact that their neighborhoods are filled with unfamiliar faces, many of whom are on-site for only a few days at a time. The idea of transient rentals in our communities seems at odds with the objective of maintaining the residential character of our neighborhoods. We all have seen provisions in our communities’ documents that prohibit “non-residential” use of a unit, or that restrict use of property for “private single-family residential purposes.” While many associations have adjusted to an increase in tenant occupied residences in their communities, this “business” use of a residence, where unfamiliar groups of people share the common area and facilities for brief periods of time, never to be seen again, is incompatible with everything we’ve come to know and understand about community associations. The short-term use of a residence only adds to the resentment towards tenants who...
Improve Your Board Meetings: Drafting a Code of Conduct for the Board of Directors

Improve Your Board Meetings: Drafting a Code of Conduct for the Board of Directors

A common frustration for managers and association boards of directors is dealing with issues that arise out of conflict with individual board members. At some point we have all heard of the board member who is hostile, disagreeable or the proverbial “loose cannon.” Other boards have struggled with how to rein in the director who consistently advances his or her own agenda without regard to the best interests of the association. Finally, there are directors elected, for whatever reason, who feel compelled to reveal confidential information about the association to third parties. Unfortunately, the Corporations Code does not yet contain a provision allowing the board to remove a director for behaving badly. The slap on the wrist that follows improper disclosure or misconduct does little to undo the damage already done. There are, however, viable options available to managers and boards to address misconduct. In most cases, the most direct option to control improper behavior is censure. There is no more effective method of controlling improper behavior than by confrontation by one’s own peers. Like any disciplinary hearing, the director should be advised of the improper conduct committed and be provided with an opportunity to explain his or her actions. The director should also be cautioned that continued misconduct will result in further disciplinary action by the board to protect the association and could include obtaining a court order seeking to enjoin their conduct detrimental to the association. If the conduct committed is improper disclosure of confidential information, the best option is to exclude that board member from executive session meetings, or from receiving executive session material or both....
Community Association Fair Housing Update

Community Association Fair Housing Update

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race; color; religion; sex; national origin; familial status; or disability. In the context of Disability and Community Associations, instead of enforcing the rules and regulations equally against all residents, the FHA allows a community to “discriminate” so to speak, by making an exception to a rule to accommodate a disabled resident. It isn’t always about service animals or comfort pets; it’s about providing all residents with an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing. Perhaps more than ever before, fair housing regulations are impacting community associations as to how they govern, address common area modification requests, and enforce their rules. Communities are looking for ways to accommodate their residents who, for a variety of reasons, need to modify a common area or need an exception to a community rule to have equal use of their residence. A qualified resident with a disability is allowed a reasonable exception to a rule, or permission to make a reasonable modification to common areas at her expense i.e.; a reasonable accommodation. For some time now, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has been working on changes to the California Code of Regulations covering the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Most recently, on June 22, 2018, DFEH issued a Notice of Modifications which will likely impact how community associations address resident requests for reasonable accommodations. While the proposed modifications are being developed, it is our hope that the modifications clearly address such critical issues as 1) who pays for the modifications; 2) restoring the property after the...
Amendments to the Solar Rights Act: Legislating Away Control of Common Area

Amendments to the Solar Rights Act: Legislating Away Control of Common Area

Perhaps the most contentious example of forced use of common area for environmental policy purposes concerns the installation of solar energy systems on condominium roofs. The number of U.S. homeowners who have their own solar panels has grown steadily since 2000. The increased interest in harnessing the sun’s power in the face of a rising market for high density residential living seems to have attracted the solar industry’s attention to the growing number of consumers who can’t put panels on their own roofs. Solar panels have been around for decades, but legislation relating to solar energy systems is evolving rapidly and is, in many cases ambiguous or over-reaching. Across the country, state lawmakers are taking steps to enable private companies, nonprofits, homeowners associations and others to develop and run community solar projects. Approximately twenty-five states currently prohibit or offer the ability to prohibit covenants or restrictions placed upon homeowners which would prevent the installation of solar powered panels and associated devices; however, only California expressly allows the installation of panels on common area roofs of multi-unit condominium buildings. Others suggest that common area installation is permitted with association control. Even homeowners in pro-solar states like California are struggling with unclear statutory language, a situation which has been significantly exacerbated by a recent extension of the California Solar Rights Act. California Assembly Bill 634 (effective January 1, 2018) amended the Solar Rights Act by providing homeowners with the right to install solar on the common area roofs and adjacent garages and carports of condominium properties, subject to only “reasonable” restrictions that “do not significantly increase the cost of the system...
Community Association Legislative Update New Laws for 2018

Community Association Legislative Update New Laws for 2018

2017 was one of the most active legislative years for Community Associations in recent memory. Perhaps it was the Governor’s “official” end of the drought that left State lawmakers with time to micromanage our communities on issues from free speech to solar; from new disclosure obligations to recording fees. Now that the dust has settled, we are left with the following legislation for our communities to adjust to in the coming year. SB 2 (Sen. Toni Atkins) Building Homes and Jobs Act (Imposes a $75.00 fee on recorded real estate transition documents (excluded commercial and residential sales) to provide funds for affordable housing.) Under the guise of funding affordable housing throughout the State, beginning January 1, 2018, SB 2 imposes a $75 fee on every real estate instrument, paper or notice required or permitted by law “per each transaction, not to exceed $225 per transaction.” The fee does not apply to documents recorded in connection with a real estate sales transfer. The fee does attach to grant deeds, deeds of trust, abstracts of judgement, notices of default and liens and releases of liens. In other words, this law will impact community association assessment collection by adding to the fees an association is charged for recorded documents, fees which ultimately will be passed on to the delinquent owner. The author of SB 2 describes the bill as establishing a vital ongoing funding source for affordable housing. The law requires the funds collected be deposited into the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund to be allocated to affordable housing programs and to local governments for affordable housing and homeless related programs...