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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FROM AN OWNER'S PERSPECTIVE

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START 2015 OFF KNOWING THE NEW LAWS IN REAL ESTATE

If you are a property owner then there are a few laws that you should be aware of starting January 1st, 2015. See below for the most recent laws or changes to existing ones:

Backyard Plants:

According to AB2561, a landlord is required to permit a tenant to participate in “personal agriculture” in portable containers approved by the landlord in a tenant’s outdoor backyard. The tenant is allowed to do ground level planting only for fruit and vegetables. NO marijuana planting for personal use is allowed.

Electronic Vehicles:

According to AB2565, landlords must allow for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations by renters so long as they meet the electronic station requirements at the tenant’s expense. This applies to any lease, executed, renewed or extended on or after July 1, 2015. The landlord must approve the process for modification. The law does not apply to properties with less than five parking spaces and properties subject to rent control. The law requires a tenant to maintain a $1,000,000 lessee’s general liability insurance policy. The tenant would be required to pay for all costs prior to installation, and later for all costs of damage, maintenance, repair, removal and replacement of the charging stations. 

Evictions for Los Angeles and Long Beach(This became effective September 1, 2014)

According to AB 2310, the city attorney of these cities can demand that a landlord evict a tenant for unlawful possession of weapons and ammunition. If there are safety issues, the law allows the city attorney to bring the action on behalf of the city. Prior to filing the action, the city attorney must give a landlord a thirty day notice requiring the landlord to evict their tenant. The basis for the eviction would be an arrest or warrant by a law enforcement agency for illegal possession of weapons ad or the reporting of an offense at the property. 

Security Deposits and Electronic Communications

According to AB 2747, a landlord and a tenant can agree to use electronic communications regarding general security deposit issues. The law allows the landlord to use email for some of the requirements of a security deposit including the right to inspect the property prior to the termination of tenancy. However, a security deposit itemization is not included in this provision. Delivery of the itemization MUST still be by Personal Service or First Class Mail.

Driver License Attaining to Rental Applications:


According to Assembly Bill No. 60, the Department of Motor Vehicles will issue driver licenses to individuals who do not provide a social security number on their application, but provide satisfactory proof that their presence in the U.S. is authorized under federal law. Furthermore, the DMV may also issue a license to an individual if they are unable to show proof of legal residence. The applicant may sign an affidavit attesting they are ineligible for a SSN and unable to show proof of legal residence. This applies to Landlords in that they may not use the new license to deny a prospective tenant an apartment during the screening process.

Smoke Alarms (This became effective July 1, 2014) 


According to Senate Bill No. 745, all smoke alarms sold in California after July 1, 2014 will have a non-replaceable, non-removable battery capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 yes. The amendment does not apply to smoke alarms that have been ordered by, or are in the inventory of an owner, managing agent, contractor, wholesaler, or retailer on or before July 1, 2014 until July 1, 2015. 

eginning January 1, 2015, all smoke alarms must display the date of manufacture on the device, provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written and incorporate a hush feature to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal. Landlords of all residential rental units will have to change the smoke alarms to conform to Senate Bill No: 745.

Terminating Lease Agreements


According to Senate Bill No.612, a tenant may notify landlords that he or she, or a household member, was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult, and intends to terminate the tenancy. To terminate the lease, the notification must be written, and include one of the following attached to the notice: A copy of the restraining order, emergency protective order or protective order from the courts; a copy of the police report; or documentation from a qualified third party, such as a doctor.

Wage Increase

According to Assembly Bill No.10, minimum wage has increased to $9 per hour as of July 1, 2014 and will increase to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Landlords may be required to pay on site managers the prevailing minimum wage. 

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