New Year, New Laws
The California Legislature wrapped up its session last month, considering just over 5,000 bills. The California Apartment Association’s 90-member legislative committee reviewed nearly 150 of those bills and took positions, actively lobbying 69 of those bills. Below is an overview of the bills that the Governor signed into law that will have a direct impact on the day-to-day operations of rental housing providers. We have also included a summary of the new housing production bills sponsored by CAA that were signed by the Governor.
Bed Bugs—This law requires that on and after July 1, 2017, prior to creating a new tenancy for a dwelling unit, a landlord must provide a written notice to a prospective tenant about bed bugs. This notice must be provided to all other tenants by January 1, 2018. The law outlines what must be in the notice. It prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant because the tenant reports or has a bed bug infestation. A landlord is prohibited to show, rent, or lease to a prospective tenant any vacant dwelling unit that the landlord knows has a current bed bug infestation (AB 551, Nazarian).
A landlord must notify the specific tenants in units inspected by a pest control operator of the pest control operator’s findings. The notification must be in writing and made within two business days of receipt of the pest control operator’s findings. For confirmed infestations in common areas, all tenants must be provided notice of the pest control operator’s findings. The law does not change the San Francisco ordinance already in place.
Marijuana—Passed by the voters in November 2016, Proposition 64 (Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act) legalizes recreational use of marijuana. The initiative expressly allows owners of private property to prohibit any of the actions related to marijuana at the property. CAA’s rental/lease agreement specifically prohibits all of the actions related to marijuana (cultivation, use, and so forth) that would otherwise be allowed by the initiative. In addition, the smoking prohibition within the CAA rental/lease agreement has been expanded to include smoking of any substance, as well as the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping.
Water Submeters—Beginning January 1, 2018, all new multi-family construction (defined as two or more units) must include water submeters for each individual unit. At the same time, if an owner has a building constructed before January 1, 2018, and he or she elects to install submeters or already has submeters, the disclosure and billing requirements in the state law must be applied when billing tenants for water. All property owners who are required to install submeters at their new buildings after January 1, 2018, must, at all times, bill residents for water service. This law does not affect ratio utility billing systems or RUBS. It does not prohibit their continued use in existing buildings (SB 7, Wolk).
Accessibility Access—This new law lists specific technical violations that are presumed to not cause a person difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment for the purpose of a legal award for damages in construction-related accessibility lawsuits. It applies to defendants who are small businesses (with 25 or fewer employees) and where the defendant has corrected the violation within 15 days of notice (SB 269, Roth).
Expedited Permit Process—This law, sponsored by the California Apartment Association, expedites the housing construction permit approval process by reducing the time for a lead agency to approve a housing project from 180 to 120 days. In addition, AB 2180 reduces the approval process for any other responsible public agencies from 180 days to 90 days. AB 2180 will ensure that badly needed housing projects move through the building approval process faster (AB 2180, Ting).
Right to Legally Challenge—This law, also sponsored by CAA, strengthens the state law known as the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) by expanding the list of those individuals and organizations that can help enforce its provisions. Specifically, it provides that a “housing organization” (like CAA) may file an action to challenge the disapproval of a housing development by a local agency (AB 2584, Daly).
Second Units—This law, sponsored by CAA, will ease some of the barriers to the development of second units. An application for a second unit must be ministerially approved or disapproved within 120 days after receipt. AB 2299 provides that: The city or county cannot impose parking for an accessory unit if it is located within one-half mile of public transit; if it is located within a historic district; the unit is part of the existing primary residence; or when there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the unit.
No connection fees or local capacity charges for utilities, including water and sewer service, may be imposed by the local government (AB 2299, Bloom).
For a copy of these new laws as well as a list of all bills lobbied by CAA, go to CAA’s website at www.caanet.org.
New Fire Safety Regulations for 2017
New fire safety regulations will be required of building owners in San Francisco. The SF Fire Department will detail the new regulations at the SFAA membership meeting on Monday, January 23.
All of the following regulations must be met by January 31, 2017. 1) Every building owner who rents one or more units shall provide the Smoke Alarm Disclosure information flyer to every tenant. The disclosure must also include a list of Rent Board Referrals. 2) Apartment buildings with three or more units shall also have the Smoke Alarm Disclosure information flyer posted on every floor in a common area. 3) Owners of apartment buildings with nine or more units shall submit a completed (by their fire alarm company) Fire Alarm Statement of Compliance form to the SFFD, Bureau of Fire Prevention. More information can be found at http://sf-fire.org/.
SFAA will have more in-depth information about the immediate and long-term safety requirements on its website for members in the future. The SFAA and the SFFD will also be working together to host educational classes for SFAA members.
The Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance Deadline Is Approaching
The deadline for commercial properties to comply with a 2009 conservation ordinance is quickly approaching. The ordinance requires that all existing commercial properties repair plumbing leaks, replace old plumbing fixtures with new efficient models, and submit a completed affidavit by January 1, 2017. The affidavit should delivered (by mail or in person) to the Department of Building Inspection’s Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance Counter, Window #8, First Floor, 1600 Mission Street in San Francisco. It can also be emailed to email@example.com.
The intention of the ordinance is to help conserve the state’s water supply. Failure to comply will result in the DBI initiating code enforcement proceedings, which could end in fines or a lien on the property.
For specific guidelines or to learn about possible rebates, visit sfwater.org. You can also contact the Water Conservation Section at 415-551-4730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After years of debate, legislation, and lawsuits, Airbnb has agreed to work with San Francisco in enforcing short-term rental laws. Airbnb will make sure its hosts are following the city’s 90-day short-term rental limit and that they have registered their property with the city.
As of December 2016, about 80% of Airbnb hosts have still not registered their properties with the city. The long approval process, paperwork, and many in-person meetings are often to blame for the lack of compliance. Airbnb plans to add a streamlined system to its platform so hosts can register their properties directly on the Airbnb website.
And despite previous resistance, Airbnb will now provide the city with user data, including hosts’ names and addresses and the number of nights they rent out their property. Airbnb will be required to suspend the accounts of any hosts whose rentals exceed the 90-day-limit.
SFAA Tradeshow April 17, 2017
Mark your calendars for the annual SFAA trade show, which will take place on Monday, April 17 at the Fort Mason Conference Center.
The tradeshow covers all facets of the multifamily housing industry. Professionals who provide San Francisco’s property owners with top products and services will be on hand. In addition to vendor booths, free educational classes will be offered. The event is free and open to the general public, so bring your friends and family.
For more information on the tradeshow or to become a sponsor, contact Vanessa Khaleel at email@example.com.
SFAA New Lease Available Early-January
The 2017 SFAA Residential Tenancy Agreement is now available. Call the SFAA office at 415-255-2288 to obtain the new lease. Be sure to use this updated lease for all new rentals.