New 2013 California laws for landlords, property managers and property owners

2013-property-management-california-lawsWith 2013 on the horizon, we again take a look at some of the new California laws that we will be going to into affect as of January 1st.  Below is a description of three of the (in my opinion) most pertinent laws affecting the property management community.

Senate Bill 1191 Landlord Must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective Tenants:

Effective:  January 1, 2013. Expires: January 1, 2018

Every landlord who leases a dwelling containing one-to-four units must reveal, in writing, to any potential tenant the receipt of a notice of default that has not been rescinded. This disclosure must be made before a lease contract has been signed.  If an owner or landlord ignores this law, the tenant can legally void the lease and recover one month’s rent OR twice the amount of actual damages, whatever is greater, plus all pre-paid rent amounts. If the lease is not voided and the property foreclosure sale has not occurred, the tenant may deduct one month’s lease from future amounts due. The required release disclosure notice must be written in English, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Note: Property managers will not be held responsible for failing to provide the written disclosure notice unless the actual property owner has given the property manager WRITTEN instructions to deliver the written disclosure to the resident(s).

Assembly Bill 1838 Restrictions Against Cancellation Fees for HOA Documents:

Effective: January 1, 2013

Beginning 1/1/2013, a Home Owners Association (HOA) cannot gather a termination fee for HOA revenue disclosure records in either of two situations:

(1) a request is terminated in writing by the person or entity that placed the order and work had not been completed; or

(2) a request is cancelled in writing and the HOA had been paid for any work completed.

Additionally, a HOA must reimbursement all charges gathered for HOA records if a request is cancelled in writing and work had not yet been conducted on the transaction. Furthermore under this new law, the HOA cover sheet listing the HOA sales disclosures must be in at least 10-point type.

Assembly Bill 2521 Landlord May Dispose Abandoned Personal Property Less Than $700

Effective:  January 1, 2013

The total resell value of individual real estate asset (aka: “various stuff and junk”) remaining behind by a renter after the termination of a tenancy that the property owner must sell at a public auction (rather than get rid of or maintain for his or her own use), has been improved from $300 to $700 (there is a set of guidelines surrounding this increase – see actual law for details).

AB 2521, however, also prevents a property owner or manager from charging a storage space fee if the renter reclaims the personal property within (2) days of vacating the unit.

Additionally, notices of termination of tenancy and pre-move out inspection must now contain specified language that former residents may reclaim abandoned personal property left on the premises or in the unit, subject to certain conditions.

Action item to owners and property managers: Review and update termination of tenancy notices and pre-move out inspection forms for 2013.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a lawyer nor do I claim to be one.  This blog post is for general information only and legal council should be sought before any action is taken. -Trevor