There are a few new laws that affect landlords that will come into effect January 1, 2015 and some of them already have been in effect since this past September. The good news is that none of the laws are overly burdensome on landlords or detrimental to your income making ability. The bad news is that rent control has still not been abolished!
AB 2561 – Backyard Plants
Effective January 1, 2015. This new law requires a landlord to permit a tenant to participate in “personal agriculture” in portable containers approved by the landlord in a tenant’s outdoor backyard. The tenant is allowed to do ground level planting only for fruit and vegetables. NO marijuana planting for personal use is allowed.
AB 2565 – Electronic Vehicles
Effective July 1, 2015. Landlords must allow for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations by renters so long as they meet the electronic station requirements at the tenant’s expense. This applies to any lease, executed, renewed or extended on or after July 1, 2015. The landlord must approve the process for modification. The law does not apply to properties with less than five parking spaces and properties subject to Rent Control. The law requires a tenant to maintain a $1,000,000 Lessee’s general liability insurance policy. The tenant would be required to pay for all costs prior to installation, and later for all costs of damage, maintenance, repair, removal and replacement of the charging stations.
AB 2310 – Evictions Los Angeles, Long Beach
Effective September 1, 2014. The law allows the city attorney of these cities to demand that a landlord evict a tenant for unlawful possession of weapons and ammunition. If there are safety issues, the law allows the city attorney to bring the action on behalf of the city. Prior to filing the action, the city attorney must give a landlord a thirty day notice requiring the landlord to evict their tenant. The basis for the eviction would be an arrest or warrant by a law enforcement agency for illegal possession of weapons and or the reporting of an offense at the property.
AB 2747- Security Deposit Electronic Communications
Effective January 1, 2015. This law allows a landlord and a tenant to agree to use electronic communications regarding general security deposit issues. The law allows the landlord to use email for some of the requirements of a security deposit including the Right to Inspect the property prior to the termination of tenancy. However, a security deposit itemization is not included in this provision. Delivery of the itemization MUST still be by Personal Service or First Class Mail.
Assembly Bill No. 60 – Driver’s Licenses
After January 1, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles will issue driver licenses to individuals who do not provide a social security number on their application, but provide satisfactory proof that their presence in the U.S. is authorized under federal law. Further, the DMV may also issue a license to an individual if they are unable to show proof of legal residence. The applicant may sign an affidavit attesting they are ineligible for a SSN and unable to show proof of legal residence. This applies to landlords in that they may not use the new license to deny a prospective tenant an apartment during the screening process.
Senate Bill No. 745 – Smoke Alarms
All smoke alarms sold in Californiaafter July 1, 2014 will have a non-replaceable, non-removable battery capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years. The amendment does not apply to smoke alarms that have been ordered by, or are in the inventory of an owner, managing agent, contractor, wholesaler, or retailer on or before July 1, 2014, until July 1, 2015.
Beginning January 1, 2015, all smoke alarms must display the date of manufacture on the device, provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written and incorporate a hush feature to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal. Landlords of all residential rental units will have to change the smoke alarms to conform to Senate bill No: 745.
Senate Bill No. 612 – Domestic Violence
A tenant may notify landlords that he or she, or a household member, was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult, and intends to terminate the tenancy. To terminate the lease, the notification must be written and include one of the following attached to the notice:
- A copy of the restraining order, emergency protective order or protective order from the courts;
- A copy of the police report; or documentation from a qualified third party, such as a doctor.
Assembly Bill No. 10 – Minimum Wage
Minimum wage increased to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014 and will be raised to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Landlords may be required to pay on site managers the prevailing minimum wage.
Evictions and 3-Day Notices
There are also a few California Appellate court cases that have been decided this past year which impact landlords and specifically evictions.
- · The first case Foster v. Williams (2014) 229 Cal. App. 4th, Supp. 9 gives a new statutory description of how a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit must list the person to be paid. We recommend that all of our clients list a physical address to which to pay rent to and list an individual to pay rent to NOT a Corporation or a LLC. The judges in Los Angeles and in Lancaster have determined that the person to pay rent to on a three day notice must be a natural person.
Also, it is advisable to list that under the dates and times in which rent can be paid that you list Monday through Sunday, otherwise some judges will deem your notice invalid if you serve the notice on any other day than a Monday or Tuesday.
- · There was also a new case published the Bank of New York Mellon v. Preciado (2013) 224 Cal.App 4th Supp, 2, 169 Cal. Rptr 2d 653 which has changed the requirements when filing a post foreclosure unlawful detainer action. You can no longer rely on merely having a certified copy of a trustee’s deed upon sale to prove up your case. Rather, after this ruling it is advisable to have all documents recorded in the chain of title in order to prove your case, specifically, the deed of trust, the notice of default, the notice of trustee’s sale and the Trustees Deed upon Sale.
Attorney Helen Grayce Long is an attorney at Fast Eviction Service. She attended UC Berkeley and graduated with a bachelor of arts. She then attended the University of San Francisco School of Law. Grayce has been an attorney for 25 years and specializes in Real Estate Law. She’s done landlord/tenant work throughout the state of California with an emphasis on Rent Control law. For more information or clarification on any of these new laws, call (800) 686-8686, email [email protected] [email protected] or visit www.fastevictionservice.com