Happy New Year! And with every New Year, the State of California bestows upon us a brand new set of laws for property managers and rental property owners. The new 2014 laws are a mix of good and bad news for landlords and I have included the most relevant (IMHO) with links below.
As of July 1, 2014, minimum wage will from $8.00/hr to $9.00/hr….And it is slated to increase again on January 1, 2016, from $9.00 to $10.00 per hour.
AB 227 – Reduction of Penalties for Curing Proposition 65 Violations
AB 227 reduces Prop 65 violations (failing to post the required Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act disclosure notice) penalties if: 1) the landlord or business owner cures the infraction within fourteen days; 2) pays the fine and 3) serves a correction notice on the person who initiated the lawsuit.
AB 1398 (Natural Resources Committee) Solid Waste Recycling
This law provides a definition to the term “commercial solid waste” for the purpose of commercial recycling. AB 1398 defines commercial solid waste as: “all types of solid waste generated by a store, office, or other commercial or public entity source, including a business or a multifamily dwelling of five or more units”.
This law must be read in conjunction with AB 341 in order to make any sense. AB 341 states that “…not less than 75% of solid waste [in California] generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted by the year 2020…” Get your recycling bins ready, California!
AB 1404 – Good Neighbor Fence Act of 2013
Want to build, replace or upgrade a fence between you and your neighbor? This law provides the specific procedural requirements for notifying the neighboring owner of estimated costs, etc.
SB 196 – Landlords Required to Provide Specific Utility Rate Schedules
SB 196 applies to master-metered residential complexes and, as of January 1, 2014, requires landlords to post – in a conspicuous place- the specific current electrical or gas rate schedule published by the applicable service provider. Additionally, California Senate Bill 196 restricts landlords from charging a mark-up to the posted utility rates.
SB 269 – Consumer Protection Against Prepaid Rental Listing Services
Starting January 1, 2014, the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) will be able to cite unlicensed persons for engaging in prepaid rental listing services without a prepaid rental listing service license or CA real estate broker license. Additional highlights of this new law are: increased the application fees for a prepaid rental listing service license and giving consumers who are harmed by a prepaid listing service the ability to seek compensation.
SB 612 – Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking
SB 488 – Code Enforcement Officers May Now Determine Substandard Housing
Effective January 1st, 2014, local code enforcement agents will be allowed to issue pest and garbage citations for unsanitary conditions found at residential properties. Previously, the county health inspectors were the only agency authorized to issue these types of citations to apartment owners. Be sure to inform your management team of this change!
SB 745 – Smoke Detectors Specifications Changed
As of July 1, 2014, all battery-operated smoke alarms in rental units MUST contain a non-replaceable, non-removable 10-year battery. A few exceptions apply, see full law for details.
Additionally, under this new law, by July 1, 2015, the State Fire Marshall requires that all battery-operated smoke detectors
(1) displays the manufacturing date on the device;
(2) provides a place on the device to display the date of installation; and
(3) incorporates a hush feature.
[Failure to comply with any of the law is an infraction resulting in a fine of $200 per violation.]
New Employee Protection Laws
There were a considerable amount of laws enacted in 2014 with the mindset of safeguarding employee conduct as well as the employees themselves. I have included several of the new laws (with links to the actual document) below.
The new 2014 laws protecting employee conduct include:
- SB 288 – allowed to take off from work to appear in a court proceeding involving the employee as a victim of certain offenses;
- SB 400 – being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
- SB 435 – not working during meal or rest periods for non-exempt employees;
- SB 263 – updating personal information;
- SB 496 – requiring employees to disclose information reasonably believed to be a violation of law;
- SB 633 – voluntarily providing CPR, etc;
- SB 530 – not required to disclose a criminal conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed as specified;
- AB 263 – claiming unpaid wages, and;
- SB 666 – also in reference to claiming unpaid wages.
The new 2014 laws protecting the employees themselves include:
- AB 1386 – allows a lien to be implemented against an employer’s real property to secure payment under a final order;
- AB 556 –establishes military or veteran status as a protected class of people who cannot be discriminated against;
- SB 390 – protects employees against an employer’s willful failure to send in withholdings from wages to the state or fed. The new law punishes this type behavior as a felony;
- SB 422 – employees can now receive liquidated damages for receiving less than minimum wage in labor claims;
- SB 462 – protects employees against liability for paying attorney fees if the employee sues the employer in good faith, and;
- AB 263 – protects against unfair immigration-related practices;
[Disclaimer: I am not an attorney nor do I claim to be one. One should seek the advice of an attorney before taking any action as a result of any of the material presented in this blog.]
Have a prosperous 2014! _Trevor