A Remarkable Year in Legislation

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This is turning out to be a remarkable year for residential rental property owners regarding state legislation. Here are two examples of state bills that are now remarkably different than when they were introduced.

Growing plants that bear edible fruit and vegetables anywhere in a rented property could have become a new “right” of tenants if Assembly Member Steve Bradford’s AB 2561 (Bradford), as introduced, had become law. In the beginning, Bradford’s bill would have allowed residents to place any number of plants inside or outside the property as long as the plants were in a container. Residents could have located the plants in containers on lawns, walk ways, in common areas and interfered with the appearance and maintenance of rental property. The containers could have been hung from ceilings and placed on balconies. Residents would have been empowered to solely decide on the size and placement of the pots without any input or restriction by our members.

With a great deal of work, the bill was significantly changed. As recently amended, only residents of single-family and duplex units may place qualified plants in approved con tainers at locations selected by an owner/manager. The bill does not allow residents to plant fruits and vege tables in pots in other rental units, inside the rented prop erty or on common grounds, which interferes with maintenance of our properties, parking, doorways, utility services or equipment and walkways. Additionally, we can prohibit the use of synthetic chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, rodenti cides, and insecticides, all of which could be a significant problem for current and future residents.

So what started out to be a bill that our Association was opposed to, we along with other apartment associations, changed  position on Assembly Member Bradford’s bill to “watch” when the bill was amended that addressed our specific issues. We expect the measure to be signed into law. Residential and commercial tenants could have had the right to demand electric charging vehicle stations in all rental property if AB 2565 (Muratsuchi) become law as introduced.

As amended, the bill would require a residential lessor of any lease executed, extended or renewed after July 1, 2015, to approve a written request of a lessee to install an electric vehicle (EV) charging station at the lessee’s designated parking space if the request includes the lessee’s consent to enter into a written agreement to: comply with all of the lessor’s requirements for the installation, use, maintenance and removal of the charging station, and provide a financial analysis of the scope of work regarding the installation; pay the lessor all costs associated with the installation of the charging station, any cost for damage, maintenance, repair, removal and replacement of the charging station; pay as part of rent, the costs of the elec trical usage from the charging station; maintain a general liability coverage insurance policy in the amount of $1,000,000, naming the lessor as an additional insured.

The above provisions would not apply to residential property where: EV charging stations already exist for lessees in ten percent or more of the designated parking spaces; parking is not provided in the lease; the property has less than five parking spaces; the dwelling is subject to residential rent control.

Lessors will not be obligated to provide an additional parking space to accommodate an EV charg ing station and may be able to charge a monthly rental fee for the space if the effect of the station is to create a “reserved” parking space.

A separate section in the bill addresses commercial leases that are executed, renewed or extended on or after July 1, 2015. The bill will require the commercial lessor to, among other things, agree to all of the following: pay for all costs for maintainance, damage repair, replace ment, instal lation and electrical use. It would not apply to com mercial property where charging stations already exist in a ratio of two for every 100 parking spaces, or a commercial property where there are less than 50 parking spaces. It will not apply to provisions imposing reasonable restric tions on the installation of EV charging stations, or to properties where no parking spaces are allotted or where the number of parking spaces are limited.

This measure is expected to be signed into law as well.


Ron Kingston can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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