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Housing Policy • September 22, 2008

Sacramento Watch

State Budget Impasse - Governor Threatens Veto of Budget and

All Legislation, including Rental Housing Bills

Legislation to Help Owners Deal with Violence at their Properties - Awaits Governor's Decision

Domestic Violence - AB 2052 (Lieu) - As originally introduced, this bill would have allowed a tenant or household member who has been a victim of domestic violence to terminate his/her rental agreement upon presentation of a valid protective order issued by a court or written proof provided by a qualified third party. A qualified third party was broadly defined to include law enforcement, any employee of an organization that provides social or legal services to victims of domestic violence, any licensed health care practitioner, and a member of the clergy.There have been amendments to the bill to narrow this definition and as a result, the bill now requires a protective order from a court or a police report to be issued and presented to the property owner before termination of the lease may be initiated by a tenant. Also as introduced, the bill would have allowed a tenant who prematurely terminates a rental agreement as a result of a domestic violence incident to obtain the security deposit, less any allowable deductions. there were amendments to the bill to remove the security deposit language. The bill was also clarified to ensure that property owners can easily evict the perpetrator of the domestic violence. 

Property Owners May Rent their Units in Common Interest Developments if Legislation Signed by the Governor

Rentals and Common Interest Developments - AB 2259 (Mullin) - This legislation would prohibit a common interest development (CID) association from impairing the rights of unit owners who wish to rent or lease their dwelling units within the CID. The author introduced this legislation in response to a growing trend by homeowner associations to adopt rental prohibitions that limit the number of non-owner occupied dwellings. CID homeowner association (HOA) boards have imposed such prohibitions, irrespective of the ownership rights vested at the time the ownership of such residence commences.

New Requirements and Penalties for Scrap Metal Buyers - Rental Properties will Benefit if Legislation Signed

by Governor

SB 691 (Calderon) – This bill would require buyers of scrap metals to report written records of sales and purchases made in the course of their businesses to law enforcement. Among other things, it would also require payment for scrap metals to be made by check or cash and require that sellers of such materials provide a photographic record and a thumbprint Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of brass, copper, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, and other metals are stolen from properties, then "sold" to recyclers. buildings, especially those under construction, are frequent targets. Indeed, it is not uncommon for existing buildings and buildings in the construction process to be stripped of all recyclable metal materials. 

Fewer Lawsuits Against Rental Property Owners Will Result if Bill Signed by Governor

SB 1608 (Corbett) – This bill intends to reduce unwarranted litigation surrounding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes accessibility requirements for business of all sizes. Unfortunately, some individuals have taken advantage of the lack of clarify in the law and have filed numerous claims alleging that rental property owners and other businesses have failed to adequately comply with the law. Despite good intentions, to date property owners have been unable to completely ensure that their buildings are in full compliance with the ADA. SB 1608 will help us do that..

More Lawsuits Will Result if Governor Signs Employment Classification Legislation – CAA Asks for Veto

SB 1583 (Corbett) - Under SB 1583, an "advisor" would b e held 100 percent liable along with a business owner through joint and several liability for a misclassification of an individual as an independent contractor - even if the advisor and advisee made a good faith effort to classify individuals appropriately. Whether or not to classify an individual as an independent contractor is not an easy decision. Guidelines provided by enforcement agencies such as the Employment Development Department and the Department of Industrial Relations are ambiguous and confusing and do not lend themselves to a clear conclusion. .

Hundreds of Different Green Building Standards Planned in Local Communities if Governor Signs Onerous

Legislation

AB 2939 (Hancock) - This legislation would authorize a city, county, or city and county to impose more restrictive building standards than the California Green Building Standards Code..

Employers May Not Use Consumer Credit Reports if Legislation is Signed by Governor

AB 2918 (Lieber) - This legislation prohibits an employer's use of a consumer credit report when evaluating an applicant for employment. Under the bill an employer may only use a consumer credit report for evaluating an applicant for employment only if the information is "substantially job related" because the position is highly compensated or managerial or the information is required by law. Aside from the vagaries created by this statute, these restrictions would make it difficult for rental property owners to screen candidates for employment. 

Phased-in Carbon Monoxide Detector Program Negotiated by CAA – Awaits Governor's Decision

Carbon Monoxide - SB 1386 (Lowenthal) - This bill would require the State Fire Marshal to approve carbon monoxide alarms for use in dwelling units and require the alarms to be installed in any dwelling unit that contains fossil fuel burning appliances or fireplaces or those with an attached garage. As originally written, the bill would have required detectors shortly after the bill's passage. Instead, the legislation includes a phased in approached. New homes will be required to have a detector after January 1, 2012, and existing apartments will be required to have a detector after January 1, 2013. The Building Standards Commission has the authority to push back the effective dates in the event there is a product shortage. 

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