Below is a summary of 10 new laws that took effect on January 1, 2019 from the California Apartment Association.
SAFETY AT THE PROPERTY
Balcony Inspections: SB 721: Under the bill, 15 percent of the load-bearing, elevated exterior elements at apartment buildings and complexes with three or more units must be inspected every six years. The load-bearing outdoor elements subject to inspection are balconies, decks, porches, stairs, walkways and entryways that extend beyond the exterior walls of a structure, are six feet or more above the ground, and rely on wood or wood-based products for stability and support.
COLLECTING THE RENT
Third-party rent payments: AB 2219: Provides that a landlord who accepts a rent payment from a third party should require that the third party sign a document acknowledging that the transaction does not make that third party a tenant.
Liability for marijuana growing: Under AB 2164: Under the law, the owner will not be held liable and will not face fines if the rental property owner can show all three of the following:
• A tenant is in possession of the unit where the violation occurred.
• The owner had no actual knowledge that the tenant was cultivating cannabis.
• The owner has a lease agreement that prohibits the illegal activity.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND RENT CONTROL PROPERTIES
EV charging stations: AB 1796: Extends to tenants in rent controlled properties the right to install an electric vehicle charging station when certain conditions are met.
STATES OF EMERGENCY
Ban on rent gouging: AB 1919: Clarifies existing law that makes it a misdemeanor to raise rents more that 10 percent after a state of emergency is declared.
Right to call police: AB 2413: Will prohibit local agencies from penalizing property owners or residents if they call law enforcement to report domestic abuse or other crimes or emergencies at the property. The bill also will prohibit landlords from evicting or otherwise penalizing tenants simply because they call authorities to get help.
Three-day notices and unlawful detainer: AB 2343: When given a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit or 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit, tenants have three court days to comply, rather than just three calendar days. Second, the bill establishes that a tenant has five court days to file a response to an eviction lawsuit, rather than just five calendar days.
Pilot program extended: AB 2930: Allows prosecutors and city attorneys to initiate the eviction process, at a landlord’s request, to stop nuisances involving unlawful weapons, ammunition or drugs. The program allows those evictions to be based on law enforcement paperwork, such as an arrest report, and affects the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Sacramento and Oakland.
Sexual harassment: SB 1343: Expands the training requirements to businesses with as few as five employees, including temporary and seasonal workers. Until now, sexual harassment-prevention training has been required for businesses of 50 employees or more and mandated only for supervisors.