5 California Laws for 2020 Which Affect Your Rental Property 

The state of California has enacted some laws which will have a significant impact on your rental properties for the coming year. Several of these laws have been discussed in the media and have received significant attention, but there are some lesser-known laws being enacted which you should also be aware of. Five of the most important of these new laws are described below.

AB 2370

This law was actually passed back in 2018, but it has greater relevance now because of the passage of SB 234 which was just passed this year. You may recall that AB 2370 centers around the health and safety of licensed childcare centers, and there’s one section of that law relative to lead exposure, which actually goes into effect this year. This law mandates that at least one individual at a licensed childcare facility has a minimum of 15 hours of training on health and safety topics. After July 1 of this year, at least some of that training must revolve around the risks associated with exposure to lead.

AB 827

Businesses and multi-family properties which are comprised of at least five units are now obliged to provide recycle bins and pickup service right on the premises. Property managers are also obliged to provide educational signage which details which types of materials are acceptable for recycling, and these signs must be clearly visible to all tenants.

AB 1399

In 1985 the Ellis Act was enacted, and this allowed landlords to have tenants evicted under certain conditions, but the law opened up a loophole and allowed landlords to evict tenants indiscriminately, just so they could raise the rent. AB 1399 closes this loophole, and issues updated restrictions on what constitutes grounds for eviction. For one thing, it prevents landlords from picking and choosing which units are to be removed from the market, and specifies that if one is removed from the market, all units must likewise be removed.

SB 638

This bill guarantees the right for any tenant to install an electric car charging station on their premises, should they so desire. It further states that general liability insurance is no longer needed, as long as the tenant purchases personal liability insurance, and this should not exceed 10 times the rent paid annually for the unit. There are several conditions which exclude a given unit from the parameters of this law, but for the vast majority of rental properties, the law will hold true.

AB 74

A particular section included in the Budget Act of 2019 calls for a fund to be established with an upper limit of $20 million, and which is allocated to the defense of tenants whenever disputes with landlords arise, and reach the point of litigation. The types of cases covered are pre-eviction and eviction legal services, professional consultation and advice, counseling, training, mediation, education for renters, legal representation, and legal processes intended to improve living conditions. Any landlord who takes the tenant to court, or any tenant who takes a landlord to court, will fall into the realm of this particular law, so that the tenant will be provided with adequate defense money, in the hope of resolving the dispute.

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