New Years Resolution

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The New Year’s resolution for property owners and managers is: we will be even better guardians of legislative challenges than ever before. So why do you think we should consider this as a top priority?

Here is a peak of what we are facing this year.

Section 8 Vouchers.
Last month we learned a member of the Legislature will author a bill that will require property owners to ac cept Section 8 vouchers. This is substan tially different than current law, which permits owners to voluntarily decide if they will accept vouchers as partial payment of rent. The argument by tenant rights groups for this proposed change stems from “Section 8” tenants that have difficultly in finding owners that want to rent to them. There are a few states that make Section 8 tenants a protected class under their discrimination statutes.

Pest Control Disclosure.
Tenant groups are expected to sponsor a bill that will require property owners and managers to disclose to tenants the: (1) name of any over-the-counter pesticide; (2) when and where that pesticide is to be used; and (3)the chemical composition of all chemicals to be used. Current law requires the property owner or manager to provide each new tenant that oc cupies a rental unit with a copy of the notice that is provided by a registered struc tural pest control company to existing ten ants, and pest control companies are to pro vide notice to all existing tenants of when and where a chem ical is to be used. The new mandate would require owners and mangers to carefully log and document any chemical used that is purchased at any retail store.

Water Meter Mandates. Yes, the issue will be back for the fifth time. SB 7 (Wolk) will propose limitations on billing tenants, bar landlords from evicting tenants that do not pay their water bills, grant tenants a long grace period to pay water bills, require land lords to repair every water-related problem within seven days regardless of the circum stances, and so much more. We promise to keep you apprised of significant developments associated with this bill.

No Smoking.
Assembly Member Levine will introduce a bill that will prohibit smoking in residential rental units. He is expected to re-introduce a bill that he authored two years ago which we successfully opposed. The bill in 2012 would have made us “smoking police.” The 2015 bill may prohibit smoking in any residential property where two or more units are attached and affirmatively state that owners and managers will not be required to enforce the no smoking requirement.

Bed Bugs.
Tenant groups will sponsor another bill that will create new affirmative obligations on owners to disclose and control bed bugs. This will be a very important issue for us. Anti “Palmer” Legislation. Assembly Speaker Atkins is expected to cause to reintroduce a bill that she carried to years ago that the Governor vetoed. Two years ago, Ms. Atkins author AB 1229 which would have allowed all local governments to set price controls on newly constructed rental and ownership housing.

Domestic Violence.
There are a number of laws affecting tenants of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking or abuse of elder or dependent adults. In pertinent part, tenants that have been deter mined to be a victim may terminate a lease or remain in tenancy given certain condi tions and requirements.

One of those laws which gives the victim the ability to remain in tenancy is due to sunset in a year. A bill is to be introduced that will delete the sunset clause and propose changes to this body of law. We have found that it is extremely important to be an active participant in the development of this area of law.

We expect over 100 bills to be introduced this year affecting property owners and managers, and what we have written about today is just a very small sample of legislation.

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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