A number of new laws are now effective and may impact the way landlords manage their buildings. Luckily, none significantly burden the profitability of their rental income business.
AB 2561 – Personal Agriculture
Motivated by many factors including California’s drought, pollution, transportation costs, and obesity, California’s legislature passed AB 2561 which now requires landlords to allow tenants to use portable pots to participate in personal agriculture. Limitations require the tenant to maintain the greenery and the use of portable pots cannot interfere with any tenant’s parking space or walkways, among many others. Notably the new law is limited to buildings with one or two units, and does not apply to larger buildings. This new law has no provision permitting the growth of marijuana, even if for personal use.
AB 2310 – Unlawful Detainer for Illegal Conduct Involving Unlawful Weapons and Ammunition in Los Angeles and Long Beach
A new bill effective September 15, 2014 now permits city prosecutors or city attorneys to require landlords to evict tenants after being arrested for, or after the issuance of an arrest warrant related to, illegal weapons and ammunition. The landlord must be given a 30 day notice by the prosecutorial agency requiring action within that time period. This law should come as no surprise to landlords, who should evict tenants who permit a nuisance to be maintained on their property, such as the illegal sale of controlled substances.
Landlord’s should take circumstances involving the safety of other tenants and their guests very seriously, especially considering their legal obligation to keep their premises safe. Negligence law may impose liability on landlords for harms to other caused by tortious or criminal conduct on their property. A landlord should not wait for notice from a prosecutorial agency to take action against tenants who maintain a nuisance on the property.
AB 2747 – Electronic Communication Between Landlord and Tenant Regarding Security Deposits
This new provision permits the landlord and tenant to agree to communicate electronically regarding security deposit issues, the vast majority of which arise at the end of the tenancy. This provision in no way alters the terms of Civil Code § 1950.5 which still requires an itemized statement of security deposit deductions to be sent to the tenant via personal service or first-class mail within 21 days from the date the tenant vacates the premises.
SB 745 – Smoke Alarms
Senate Bill 745 contains important provisions regarding smoke alarms, a key aspect of tenant safety. The new rule, effective January 1, 2015, requires smoke alarms to contain a non-removable, non-replaceable battery that will last for 10 years. It must also display the date of manufacture and provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written. The installation date must be visible to the consumer without removing the alarm from its base or bracket. The alarm must also contain a hush feature. Landlords with the old type of battery-operated smoke detectors already installed don’t need to worry about the new law unless the devise is inoperable or if the owner pulls a permit to do work valued at $1,000 or more.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive summary of statutes and should not be relied upon for legal compliance. You should contact an attorney for assistance if circumstances arise requiring you to take action.