New Legislation Affecting Residents of Homeowners Associations

NEW LEGISLATION STATES HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS MUST COMPLY WITH INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS

SB326 (Hill) establishes new requirements for associations to inspect the infrastructure, referenced as elevated structures such as balconies, decks, stairways and railings on a periodic basis. The legislation requires builders of new construction to provide the association with a full set of plans before the first escrow closes with the first owner in the association. This would include “as built” plans.

The legislation requires that every nine years, associations must conduct a visual inspection (by an architect or structural engineer) of a statistically significant sample of elevated structures such as balconies, decks, stairways and railings. If evidence of water intrusion is found, the inspector must use his or her best professional judgment concerning any further investigation. The legislation does not define what is meant by a “statistically significant sample.” Presumably, this would have to be determined by the consultants who do the inspection.

The legislation requires the inspector to write a report, including the current condition of the elevated structures, the expected future life, anticipated performance, and any repair recommendations. The inspector is also required to notify the local code enforcement agency (city, county, etc.) of any imminent threat to personal safety.

The first inspection must be completed by January 1, 2025. The legislation states that the association’s board of directors will determine whether to pursue claims against the builder or developer and that builder/developer affiliated board members cannot participate in the decision.

NEW LEGISLATION PERMITTING ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS IN HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS

AB670 (Friedman) permits accessory dwelling units within associations, as well as cities, counties, and other jurisdictions. The legislation invalidates any CC&R provision or rule which prohibits an accessory dwelling unit on a single-family lot. However, the legislation will allow reasonable restrictions so long as they do not effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict accessory dwelling units. What is considered to be a “reasonable restriction” is not defined in the statute. For example, would a provision restricting the number of people who could occupy an accessory dwelling unit be considered to be reasonable. This is undetermined at this time. An accessory dwelling unit is a second unit on a lot which is either detached or contained within the walls of the house on the lot and consists of up to 1,200 square feet, which includes cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. The legislation also references a “junior” accessory dwelling unit that may be up to 500 square feet, which must have an outside entrance and cooking facilities, but may share a bathroom facility with the main house on the lot.

Associations have concerns relating to noise, parking and insurance issues relating to accessory dwelling units

Barry A. Ross, Esq. is a member of the Real Estate Section and the Business Litigation Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Mr. Ross represents property owners in disputes with their homeowner’s associations. Mr. Ross can be reached at 949-727-0977 or http://www.RossRealEstateLaw.com

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