New California Laws for 2020 – Part 1

Our legislators were busy as bees last year, enacting 50 new laws affecting your real estate practice. As a real estate advisor, you need to be able to explain how these new laws may affect your clients. Bookmark this post and refer back to it often. I have provided links to summaries and texts of each of the new laws to answer all your questions.

This is the first of two posts covering the new laws for 2020.

Home InspectorAPPRAISERS: APPRAISERS AND HOME INSPECTORS

AB 1018 Home inspectors are prohibited from giving an opinion of valuation on a property. Effective 1-1-20

ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS WITH CONSUMERS AND EMPLOYEES SB 707

This law provides that the drafting party of a consumer or employment-related arbitration agreement is in material breach of the arbitration agreement if the drafting party fails to pay, as required by existing law, specified costs and fees associated with the arbitration proceeding. Effective 1-1-20

CONSUMER PRIVACY: CHANGES TO THE CONSUMER PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT AND OTHER PRIVACY LAWS

  • Exempts from the CCPA information collected from employees and independent contractors for one year. AB 25
  • Broadens the public information exemption for personal information (PI). AB 874
  • Creates a new category and registration requirement for “data brokers.” AB 1202
  • SB 1355 excludes consumer information that is de-identified or aggregate consumer information from PI definition.
  • Rescinds requirement for a business that operates exclusively online and has a direct relationship with the consumer to provide multiple means for consumers to submit information requests. AB 1564
  • Expands the type of data subject to the Information Practices Act of 1977. AB 1130

WildFireDISCLOSURE: DISCLOSURE AND POINT-OF-SALE COMPLIANCE RE WILDFIRE DEFENSIBLE SPACE AND VEGETATION MANAGEMENT LAWS, AND HOME HARDENING

AB 38 Requires delivery of a statutory disclosure re home hardening for homes in designated high fire areas built before 2010, and that seller list specified retrofits. Effective dates of the disclosure requirements will be 1-1-20; 1-1-21; 7-1-21; and 7-1-25; depending on the disclosure

EMPLOYMENT: ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS AS CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT PROHIBITED

AB 51 Prohibits employers from requiring employees or applicants for employment to waive a right, forum, or procedure for a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act or the Labor Code as a condition of employment or an employment-related benefit. It also prohibits employers from threatening, retaliating discriminating against, or terminating employees or applicants because they refused to waive any such right, forum, or procedure. Existing contracts for employment entered into, modified or extended on or after January 1, 2020, are exempt.

NAREMPLOYMENT: INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR STATUS OF AGENTS RECONFIRMED AB 5

The right of real estate agents to be treated as independent contractors has been explicitly reconfirmed. Effective 1-1-20

EMPLOYMENT: SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING SB 778

The sexual harassment training deadline required for employers with five or more “employees” has been postponed. Deadline extended until 1-1-21 – Effective 8-30-19

FIRE MITIGATION: BEST PRACTICES FOR DEVELOPING RESILIENCE AGAINST WILDFIRES BY HOME HARDENING DEFENSIVE SPACES AND OTHER MEASURES SB 190

Defines the specific requirement to develop best models for defensible space and additional standards for home hardening and construction materials to increase the resilience of communities. Effective 1-1-20

FIRE INSURANCE: FOR TOTAL LOSS, INSURED IS ENTITLED TO REPLACEMENT COST LESS DEPRECIATION AB 188

This law provides that the measure of cash recovery, less depreciation, for a structure or its contents, lost under an “open” policy is the cost to repair, replace, or rebuild the structure or contents. Effective 1-1-20

ADUHOUSING: ALLOWS FOR CONSTRUCTION AND RENTAL OF ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS IN HOA’S AB 670

Any provision in a CC&R that prohibits or unreasonably restricts the construction, use or rental of an accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit on a lot zoned for single-family residential use is void and unenforceable. Effective 1-1-20

HOUSING: STREAMLINES HOUSING PERMITTING AND APPROVAL PROCESS SB 330

Establishes the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which will accelerate housing production in California by streamlining permitting and approval processes, ensuring no net loss in zoning capacity (“Down zoning”) and limiting fees after projects are approved.

HOUSING: TRANSPORTATION – MAJOR STOPS AB 1560

This law redefines “major transit stop” under CEQA to include “bus rapid transit”. Effective 1-1-20

SolarHOUSING: DECLARATION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY: BUILDING STANDARDS FOR SOLAR AB 178

This exemption will allow low-income homeowners to rebuild their homes with the requirement that was in effect at the time their home was originally constructed. Effective 1-1-20

HOUSING: CEQA: COMMUNITY PLANS AB 1515

This law seeks to bring greater certainty to developers by allowing updates to community plans without the threat of noncompliance based on the environmental impact report and will help with housing production. Effective 1-1-20

HOUSING: STREAMLINED APPROVAL PROCESS AND REMOVES BARRIERS TO CONSTRUCTION FOR ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS

This group of three laws removes impediments to ADU construction by restricting local jurisdictions’ permitting criteria.

  • AB 68 makes major changes to facilitate the development of more ADUs and address barriers to building. It expands the categories of ADUs that cities must approve without applying any local development standards to include an 800 sq. ft. detached ADU. The bill also requires cities to allow “junior ADUs,” which in some instances can be developed in addition to a conventional ADU.
  • AB 881 removes impediments to ADU construction by restricting local jurisdictions’ permitting criteria, clarifying that ADUs must receive streamlined approval if constructed in existing spaces and eliminating minimum lot size requirements. It also prohibits jurisdictions from establishing a maximum square footage requirement for an ADU that is less than 850 sq. ft., or 1,000 sq. ft. if the ADU contains more than one bedroom. This will allow future ADUs in various cities to be a few hundred feet larger.
  • SB 13 eliminates local agencies’ ability to require owner-occupancy for five years and eliminates impact fees for ADUs under 750 sq. ft. For larger ADUs, it creates a tiered fee structure based on size. The Bill also addresses other barriers by shortening the application approval time frame, creating an avenue to get unpermitted ADUs up to code, and enhancing an enforcement mechanism allowing the state to ensure that localities are following ADU statutes. Effective 1-1-20

LANDLORD/TENANT: $20 MILLION BUDGETED TOWARD LEGAL SERVICES FOR EVICTION DEFENSE AB 74

The budget provides $20 million for legal services for renters facing eviction. Effective 1-1-20

LANDLORD/TENANT: ELLIS ACT AB 1399

Makes changes to the Ellis Act to 1) clarify that owners may not pay prior tenants liquidated damages in lieu of offering them the opportunity to re-rent their former unit; and, 2) clarify that the date on which the accommodations are deemed to have been withdrawn from the rental market is the date on which the final tenancy among all tenants is terminated. Effective 1-1-20

LANDLORD/TENANT: REDUCED SECURITY DEPOSIT FOR SERVICE MEMBERS SB 644

A landlord may only collect one month security for an unfurnished unit, or two months for furnished units, from a service member who resides on the property. Effective 1-1-20

Service membersLANDLORD/TENANT: DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF MILITARY OR VETERAN STATUS SB 222

Discrimination in housing on the basis of veteran or military status is now unlawful under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

 

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