One would have hoped that during 2009 California’s legislators would have had their hands full addressing our state’s budget crisis, but they did manage to squeeze in some time to amend and adopt legislation affecting community associations. Listed below are the statutes which I believe will have the greatest impact on community associations, their managers, board members and residents. Unless otherwise noted, all of the statutes listed below were adopted in 2009 and are effective as of January 1, 2010.
1. If your association has a swimming pool or spa, you should already be familiar with the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (15 USC 8001), requiring pools and spas to be retrofitted with anti-entrapment devices (drain covers meeting specified standards). This Act became effective in December 2008, and pool retrofits should have been completed by January 1st of this year. The federal Act includes a section establishing a grant program to assist States with enforcement, education and administration costs, but only States meeting the federal Act’s minimum State law requirements are eligible. To meet those requirements, California Assembly Bill No. 1020, which amended Section 18942 of, and added Sections 116064.1 and 116064.2 to, the California Health and Safety Code, was passed. The bill imposes standards both for newly constructed public swimming pools and for the retrofit of existing public swimming pools (and community association swimming pools and spas do fall within the definition of “public” swimming pools). All pools and spas must be retrofitted by no later than July 1, 2010, unless they have already been retrofitted to comply with the federal Act. Since both the federal Act and the new State legislation pertain to health and safety issues for children, it would be very poor risk management for an association to ignore this legislation.
2. California Assembly Bill 1353.8 declares any governing document provision which prohibits, or has the effect of prohibiting, water-efficient landscaping to be void and unenforceable. The governing documents of many California community associations would contravene this new legislation. As noted in my prior posts regarding solar energy for community associations, it is reasonable to assume that California community associations will see much more legislation pertaining to such “green” issues in the near future. (I predict that the next big thing will be clotheslines.)
3. Several new statutes pertaining to community associations’ disclosure obligations were passed during the last legislative session. Board members and managers should review and familiarize themselves with the provisions of these new statutes, including:
a. Amended Civil Code Section 1350.7 and amended Corporations Code Section 20 (pertaining to electronic distribution of documents);
b. New Civil Code Section 1363.005 (which requires distribution of a statutorily proscribed “Disclosure Documents Index” at the request of any member);
c. New Civil Code Section 1365.2.5 (regarding new assessment and reserve funding disclosure requirements).
Feel free to contact me for a copy of the full text of these new statutes, or you can find them at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. In addition, I am always happy to meet, free of charge, with board members and managers, to discuss complying with the new statutes (or any other issue of concern to your community).