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New Laws and Practices

Most savvy Board Members know that Civil Codes and Corporation Codes impact association operations.  Every year there are new laws passed that have to be evaluated and implemented.   In 2017, there were at least seven laws passed that directly or indirectly impact common interest developments.  The summary below focuses on the most universal and notable.

County Recorder – Increased Costs:   While technically not a new law, there is a new recording fee being charged by County Recorders’ offices which significantly impacts collection costs.  The County Recorder is now charging $75 per recorded document.  Given that assessment liens are recorded when filed and recorded when released, this equates to an additional $150 per lien cycle.  These costs are passed along to the delinquent owner, but the Associations have to pay this fee upfront.

Conflicts of Interest:  Effective January 1, 2018, we incorporated this new requirement of management agents with our Annual Disclosure Statements in late 2017.   AB 690 stipulates that managers and management companies are now required to disclose if we receive any referral fees or benefits from third parties distributing association documents.  Distribution of documents most generally happens during the resale process.  We are also required to publicly disclose costs for those documents and outline how an owner may obtain those without using a third party.   This information has already been distributed to all associations with a calendar year end and is available at any time.

Freedom of Assembly:   We all know that our First Amendment rights cannot be superseded by our association.  What SB 407 changes is that an association can no longer charge a fee or a deposit for an owner to use common area for peacefully assembling and communicating with other members.  The purpose of common area use should be focused on matters affecting the community overall such as elections, legislation, election to public office or other public matters such as initiatives or referendums.

Solar & Community Roofs:  The approval process for an owner’s installation of solar panels is far from new.  Most associations have addressed this installation in architectural guidelines.  AB634 addresses how solar panels might be installed by an individual owner when the roof or other appropriate surface is owned in common (i.e., condominiums and other attached products).   The bottom line is that Boards cannot unilaterally prohibit the installation of solar panels on common areas; however, Boards can implement fairly restrictive requirements prior to granting approval.

Should you have any questions regarding this summary or other laws passed for the 2018 year, please feel free to contact us directly at 800-227-6225.