Category Archives: california legislature

Communities, Support Your Voice at the Capitol: Buck-A-Door

Maintaining the voice and protecting the interests of community associations in California is the job of the Community Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC). Advocacy, also called lobbying, is one of the main goals of CAI, and is the process of educating legislators. The California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) executes the very necessary advocacy portion of CAI’s objectives.

CLAC acts specifically on behalf of the eight CAI Chapters in California. The decision-making body is made up of two delegates from each chapter, as well as at-large delegates appointed by the committee.

Each year, between two and three thousand bills are introduced into the state of California legislative houses (State Senate and Assembly). CAI-CLAC’s advocate digs through these bills to determine which bills might affect community associations in California. The advocate and our CAI-CLAC delgates then decide which bills need action and communicate CAI-CLAC’s position to the legislature.

The probability of a legislator reading every bill they vote on is low. Consequently, it is necessary to draw their attention to a specific bill, give them the community association perspective, and an education on the potential effects of the bill. This helps them understand how best to vote. It is often the only way our legislators will understand the community association industry’s perspective on any issue. This is what CLAC does for you.

There are other interests out there doing this as well. If a legislator goes to vote with only an opposing interest’s information at hand, communities don’t stand a chance. The only way we can continue to speak up on behalf of communities in California is with the support from the people who benefit – community associations in California.

Through the Buck-A-Door donation program, community associations contribute one dollar per residence in their community (or more) per year. These continued contributions are critical to allowing CAI-CLAC to work on behalf of California’s communities.

Answers to questions that may come up in your community:
CLAC is not a PAC.
• CLAC does not contribute to any political campaigns.
• CLAC is not politically motivated, but participates in the legislative process in order to educate legislators.
• The money collected goes to pay for the advocate, the administrator, printing, postage and other items needed for the day-to-day functioning of the committee.

To help your community understand the benefits of CAI-CLAC’s advocacy, we ask that you put time in each agenda for a discussion about the importance of donating and the importance of the legislative education being provided by CLAC.

The following resources are also available to help create awareness of CAI-CLAC’s efforts under the “Donate” tab on CLAC’s website:
Buck-A-Door Pledge Form – contains information on how to support CLAC via the Buck-a-Door program.
Board Resolution for CLAC Contributions – To support a board decision to add a Buck-a-Door donation to the annual budget. Click the link under donation and download the resolution.
What is CLAC? flyer – includes information about CLAC, its mission and goals.
12 Reasons to Donate to CLAC– contains information on what CLAC is and what it does.
CLAC Accomplishments – describes recent activities and successes CLAC has had impacting legislation for the benefit of California’s community associations.

Please ensure the work of CAI-CLAC by encouraging participation in the Buck-A-Door donation program.

To encourage you to spend some time with our resource-rich website and investigate the tools for the Buck-a-Door donation program, CLAC is holding a contest. Please share the opportunity with your association and community members.

To be eligible to win the $25 gift card, visit the CAI-CLAC website. Find the online donation page. Once you find it, write down the 5th word in the headline. We are counting “CAI-CLAC” as one word. Send that word to us in an email addressed to: PRchair@caiclac.com. Submissions with the correct information will be entered into a drawing for the $25 gift card.

Good luck!

All entries must be emailed no later than Friday, July 29, 2016. The gift card will be mailed or presented at a chapter meeting. All decisions regarding winners are the PR Chair’s. All decisions are final. Rules are subject to change. No cost or purchase necessary. An unknown number of people may participate. You must be over 18 to enter.


Visiting Your Legislators Made Easy

Visiting your legislator can be easy, but the first time you do anything can be a little intimidating – a little nerve racking. That’s only the first time. We all need to get that one over with as soon as possible because we need your help.

We need your legislators to hear your voice on community association issues. We want to make it as easy as possible for you, so we’ve provided a step by step process to visiting your legislators. First, get to know the issues.

On the CAI-CLAC Website
If you are a member be sure to sign up for CLAC-TRAC e-news on the website (www.caiclac.com) under the Get Involved tab. If you’re not a CAI member, the first step is to join. That’s under the same tab!

When the email comes to contact your legislator (a call to action), CAI-CLAC will send you the information you need about our position and issues with the bill you are calling about. All you need to do is click the link in the alert to send a letter to your legislator.

Fortunately, it is all detailed for you if you want to get to know your legislator without a Call to Action. On the Get Involved tab at the top center of the home page:

  1. Click on the Contact Your Legislator subtab. There you can search to identify your representatives by inputting your home zip code. Click on SEARCH BY ADDRESS.
    a.   Add your home street address to the next page.
    b.   This should pull up a list of elected officials who represent you, the constituent. CAI-CLAC  serves you in California so click on your State Assembly and Senate representatives. Write down or copy their contact information.
  2.  Call your Assembly member or Senate member’s District Office, ask for the District Director.
    a. Explain who you are, who you represent (your association, management company, etc. and Community Associations Institute).
    b. If there are specific bills to discuss, name them by number, author, and topic.
    c. Ask to set a time on a Friday to meet with your Assembly member, if possible. Assembly members are usually in the District on Fridays, and are in Sacramento the rest of the week. Staff is just as good, because they research legislation and brief the Assembly member.
    d. If you cannot meet with anyone in a timely manner, ask to leave your comments and recommendation by phone or email.

Visiting Your Legislator
After you schedule your visit, go to caiclac.com again. Under the Get Involved tab go to What to Expect When Visiting Your Legislator subtab.
a. Read and do all 14 steps outlined, including the last paragraph.
b. Read the material on the tab, What to Take to Your Legislator’s Office.
c. Contact your local CAI Chapter, or go to the Resources tab and click on Visiting Your Legislator to gather the materials to take with you.

When you click directly on the Get Involved tab, instead of the sub tab, you will learn How to Respond to a Call to Action.
a. Read the information on this page.
b. Watch the full two minute, 49 second film of an actual call on a legislator.
c. In the last paragraph, click on “here” for what to bring on the visit. Bring two copies, for the legislator and a staff member. Staff will read material and brief the legislator.

If this is your first time visiting with a legislator, it is recommended that you ask an experienced member of your Chapter’s Legislative Support Committee to attend with you. Allow yourself a week to gather materials, talk to your chapter representatives, or to email Skip Daum at caiclac@aol.com. Many Chapters have folders, or binders you can use to put materials in.

To encourage you to spend some time with our resource-rich website CLAC is holding a contest. To be eligible to win the $25 VISA Gift Card, visit the CAI-CLAC website. There you will need to identify and watch the two advocacy videos (hint: we’ve already provided one to you). Once you watch the videos you will need to identify the percentage of legislators that say a constituent visit could help them reach a decision. Write this information (location of two advocacy videos and percentage of legislators) down in an email and send it to PRchair@caiclac.com. Submissions with the correct information will be entered into a drawing for a $25 VISA Gift Card.

All entries must be emailed no later than Friday, June 24, 2016. Gift card will be mailed or presented at a chapter meeting. All decisions regarding winners are the PR Chair’s. All decisions are final. Rules are subject to change.

Good luck!

Dick Pruess

Dick Pruess

A CAI-CLAC post with contributing content from Dick Pruess, an At-Large Delegate to CAI-CLAC from Pasadena and past CLAC Chair.


WRAP UP AND ANNOUNCEMENTS, CAI-CLAC ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE DAY AT THE CAPITOL

On April 18th, the Community Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) convened in Sacramento to discuss legislation and its possible impact upon the over 50,000 community associations in California. CAI members from throughout the state attended this annual event, where CAI-CLAC takes the opportunity to honor the volunteers who serve the organization. Awards are given for individual volunteer time as well as group success in supporting the nonprofit through fundraising.

This year in the chapter fundraising category, the Greater Inland Empire Chapter of CAI won the “Top Chapter Supporter” award, contributing 117 percent of its total goal to win. The Orange County Regional Chapter came in second place at 106 percent. The Channel Islands Chapter and the Bay Area/Central California Chapter tied at third with 103 percent.

The Top Management Company Supporter award had three levels: third place was awarded to Optimum Professional Property Management from the Orange County Regional Chapter, second place went to Avalon Management Company Group, Inc., from the Greater Inland Empire Chapter, and the first place award went to Landmark Limited from the Bay Area/Central California Chapter.

Also awarded were the Chair’s Choice award, given to Nathan McGuire of the Bay Area/Central California Chapter and the Volunteer of the Year Award, given to Michael Huffman from Management Professionals, Inc., a member of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

Approximately one hundred members then attended meetings with legislators at the Capitol, educating legislators about the real-life impact of community association-specific bills, and community associations in general.

A special announcement was made by the CAI-CLAC advocate, Skip Daum, communicating his intention to retire in the fall after educating legislators on behalf of the organization for over 24 years.

“Skip Daum has been an integral part of our organization. He has helped to shape the organization’s role and impact in Sacramento,” says Vice-Chair John MacDowell. “We wish him the best as he enters this new chapter in his life.”

Thank you to our all our volunteers and the award winners! It was a terrific event and a huge success because you were there to lend your voice so that our legislators hear our message. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Kimberly Lilley

 

Kimberly Lilley CMCA, CIRMS is Director of Marketing at Berg Insurance Agency. She is the former PR Chair of the CAI-CLAC. She also held positions in several California chapters.  She served as CAI San Diego Chapter Delegate to CLAC and the PR Membership Chair for CAI Orange County Chapter. She is currently the Greater Los Angeles Chapter Delegate to CLAC. The Orange County Chapter gave her the 2010 Outstanding Service award and the 2008 Committee Member of the Year award. The San Diego Chapter named her Member of the Year in 2008. CAI Greater Inland Empire named her Rising Star in 2007 and she received the President’s Award in 2008.


Drones, New Legislation, and Associations

In 2015, the California Legislature enacted two bills, Senate Bill 142 and Senate Bill 856, which take the first steps toward addressing the potential for drones to trespass and invade individuals’ privacy.

Civil Code section 1708.8 was first enacted in the 1990s to allow lawsuits for invasion of privacy against paparazzi, or others, who photograph or record private activity without permission. The law provides, among other things, that a person is liable for physical invasion of privacy by knowingly entering onto the land of another in order to make photographs or sound recordings of private activity without permission. The law establishes special penalties for this invasion of privacy. SB 856, effective January 1, 2016, amends Civil Code section 1708.8 by providing that a person also commits a physical invasion of privacy by entering into the air space above the land of another to photograph or record private events.

SB 142 creates a new Civil Code section 1708.10, stating that use of a drone less than 350 feet above ground level without express authority is a trespass. Now, drone operators are subject to civil lawsuits if they fly at less than 350 feet above private property.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has jurisdiction over all airspace, also regulates when, where, and how a drone may be operated. As of December 21, 2015, recreational drone users are required to register with the FAA.

Can an association establish reasonable regulations on the use of drones within the project? Probably, yes, within the limits of the rulemaking power in the governing documents. Can an Association prohibit the use of drones altogether, by way of a rule? It is tempting to say yes, but federal regulations may be found to supersede, or “preempt,” both local laws and association rules. To avoid this problem, associations may consider rules controlling the effect of drone use, based on the nuisance provisions of the CC&Rs. For example, rules might prohibit using drones to look into other residents’ private yards or windows, or to harass or annoy others.

John R. MacDowell Fiore Racobs & Powers

John R. MacDowell, Esq. is managing shareholder of Fiore, Racobs & Powers’ Orange County office and is a delegate to CLAC from the Orange County Regional Chapter of CAI. He serves as Vice-Chair for CLAC.


AB 786 – Clarification on Association’s Ability to Discipline Members Who Fail to Water Landscape in Times of Drought

AB 786 is a piece of emergency legislation adopted earlier this year in response to California’s drought conditions. The bill clears up an ambiguity created in 2014.

Last year, SB 992 amended Civil Code section 4735 to provide an exception to the law that an association could not take disciplinary action against an owner who failed to water their landscaping in times of a declared drought. However, SB 992 contained confusing language which resulted in associations which used recycled water to irrigate any part of the common area landscaping fining owners when they did not water, even when the owner did not have access to recycled water themselves. This unintended language did nothing to promote water conservation for owners who did not have access to recycled water. AB 786 closes that loophole in the law.

AB 786, which went into immediate effect as emergency legislation, makes clear that associations may only fine an owner for failing to water in times of drought if the owner has access to recycled water for irrigation but refuses to water their landscape. This modification to Civil Code 4735 is more in line with the goal of promoting water conservation in times of drought, and more clearly reflects the legislature’s intent.

Robert DeNichilo - Sept 2013-9388-final
Robert DeNichilo, Esq.

Mr. DeNichilo is partner in the law firm Nordberg|DeNichilo, LLP, and specializes in representing homeowners associations throughout Southern California. He is an active member of CAI, and serves on the Legislative Support Committee of the Greater Inland Empire Chapter, acts as co-chair of the Orange County Chapter’s Legislative Support Committee and is the chapter’s liaison to CLAC. He is a frequent speaker at industry and management company educational events. Mr. DeNichilo publishes a blog on association related topics at HOABrief.com. For more information, please visit NDHOALaw.com


AB 349 Signed into law – Associations May NOT PROHIBIT Artificial Turf

On September 4th, Gov. Brown signed AB 349 into law, as an urgency statute – effective immediately. AB 349, which the community Association industry and CAI-CLAC have followed closely, amends Civil Code section 4735 and limits the right of a community association to restrict the use of artificial turf.

Specifically, it renders “void and unenforceable” any provision in governing documents or guidelines which “prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.” If an owner installs artificial turf in response to a drought emergency, an association cannot require its removal once the emergency has passed. However, an association may still apply landscaping rules in the governing documents, to the extent the rules “fully conform” to these provisions.

Now that the governor has signed the bill, associations must immediately consider the way they handle members’ requests to install artificial turf. Owners must still submit applications to install artificial turf, if the governing documents require landscape approval. But associations may not use their architectural and landscaping provisions to prohibit owners from installing it.

Associations may still establish guidelines, so long as they do not have the effect of prohibiting artificial turf. Reasonable guidelines might address the color of the turf, its location, drainage, or maybe the percentage of a lot which may be covered with artificial turf. However, associations should recognize the public policy established by this bill favoring artificial turf as a way to reduce water consumption.

John R. MacDowell Fiore Racobs & Powers

John R. MacDowell

John R. MacDowell, Esq. is managing shareholder of Fiore, Racobs & Powers’ Orange County office and is a delegate to CLAC from the Orange County Regional Chapter of CAI. He serves as Co-Chair for CLAC.

 


AB 349 Signed into law – Associations May NOT PROHIBIT Artificial Turf

On September 4th, Gov. Brown signed AB 349 into law, as an urgency statute – effective immediately. AB 349, which the community Association industry and CAI-CLAC have followed closely, amends Civil Code section 4735 and limits the right of a community association to restrict the use of artificial turf.

Specifically, it renders “void and unenforceable” any provision in governing documents or guidelines which “prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.” If an owner installs artificial turf in response to a drought emergency, an association cannot require its removal once the emergency has passed. However, an association may still apply landscaping rules in the governing documents, to the extent the rules “fully conform” to these provisions.

Now that the governor has signed the bill, associations must immediately consider the way they handle members’ requests to install artificial turf. Owners must still submit applications to install artificial turf, if the governing documents require landscape approval. But associations may not use their architectural and landscaping provisions to prohibit owners from installing it.

Associations may still establish guidelines, so long as they do not have the effect of prohibiting artificial turf. Reasonable guidelines might address the color of the turf, its location, drainage, or maybe the percentage of a lot which may be covered with artificial turf. However, associations should recognize the public policy established by this bill favoring artificial turf as a way to reduce water consumption.

John R. MacDowell Fiore Racobs & Powers

John R. MacDowell

John R. MacDowell, Esq. is managing shareholder of Fiore, Racobs & Powers’ Orange County office and is a delegate to CLAC from the Orange County Regional Chapter of CAI. He serves as Co-Chair for CLAC.

 


CAI-CLAC’S 2014 LEGISLATIVE DAY AT THE CAPITOL

The CAI California Legislative Action Committee’s 21st Annual Legislative Day at the Capitol drew homeowners, community association managers and other professionals to Sacramento on April 6 and 7, to discuss legislation affecting homeowners associations with their elected representatives.

Homeowners association board members and managers attended educational sessions on April 6, while delegates of the California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) met to discuss bills that affect their communities and prepare information to present to legislators. Industry professionals taught sessions on how a bill becomes law, the nuts and bolts of legislation and  FHA certification for condominiums. CLAC’s Sacramento advocate, Skip Daum, provided an analysis of the “hot bills” affecting homeowners associations in California.

On Monday, April 7, Zack Olmstead, Senior Assistant to incoming Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins of San Diego, delivered the keynote address. Assemblymember Atkins has focused on housing throughout her tenure in the Assembly, and will continue to do so as Speaker. CLAC delegates briefed participants on key pending legislation and Michael Hedge, Senior Director of  Government & Public Affairs for CAI National, discussed nationwide and federal issues.

Participants then walked to the State Capitol to meet with their own assemblymembers, senators and staff members, to provide input on pending bills affecting homeowners associations. Participants discussed AB 1360, sponsored by CAI, which would give associations the option to allow members to vote electronically, if they wish to do so. As the attendees gathered at the end of the day, they reported that legislators and their staff valued CAI’s input and recognized CAI as a key source of information on issues affecting homeowners associations.

More people than ever before attended the 2014 Legislative Day at the Capitol. CAI and CLAC also look forward to homeowners and managers communicating with their legislators throughout the legislative session, in writing and by personal visits to district offices throughout the state. This year’s Legislative Day at the Capitol and the grass roots efforts by homeowners all year long show the strength of the 9 million people who own homes in the 50,000 community associations in California.

John R. MacDowell is managing shareholder of Fiore, Racobs & Powers’ Orange County office and is a delegate to CLAC from the Orange County Regional Chapter of CAI. He serves as one of CLAC’s Legislative Co-Chairs.John R. MacDowell


Governor Signs SB 822: Community Association Managers Not “Contractors” or “Consultants” Under B&P Code Section 7026.1

In 2012, California enacted AB 2237, amending Section 7026.1 of the Business and Professions (B&P) Code relating to contractors (Section 7026.1), effective Jan. 1, 2013. AB 2237 required “consultants” overseeing home improvement construction projects to be licensed “contractors.” The result was much confusion and concern regarding whether community association managers were considered “consultants” and thus were now required to be licensed contractors when performing common management services such as bid solicitation or oversight of common area maintenance projects.

This year, CLAC sought to clarify what it believed to be an unintended consequence of AB 2237 (i.e., the possible casting of community association managers in the role of “consultants” under Section 7026.1). CLAC contacted the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to alert them of the issue and to propose legislation to clarify that community association managers are not consultants or contractors for the purposes of AB 2237.

Fortunately, the CSLB agreed with CLAC that including community association managers in the definition of contractor or consultant was not the intent of AB 2237. The CSLB accepted CLAC’s proposed amendment to Section 7026.1, and helped CLAC facilitate its incorporation into this year’s SB 822, an omnibus bill introduced by the Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development.

Governor Brown recently signed SB 822 into law, adding the following provision to Section 7026.01:
“The term “contractor” or “consultant” does not include a common interest development manager, as defined in Section 11501, and a common interest development manager is not required to have a contractor’s license when performing management services, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 11500.” (B&P Code section 7026.1(b))

Community associations and their managers should still be aware that licensed contractors must be engaged to perform certain jobs. B&P Code section 7048 requires use of a licensed contractor for projects having an aggregate contract price for labor, materials and all other items of $500 or more. Also be aware that, although the CLSB clarified on the legislative record its intent with respect to community association managers, SB 822 will not be effective until Jan. 1, 2014. Until that time, community association managers should remain cautious when undertaking construction project oversight which might be seen to constitute the work of a “contractor” or “consultant.”

Nancy I. Sidoruk is an Attorney with Epsten Grinnell & Howell, APC, and is also the firm’s Director of Practice Development. She is a CLAC delegate representing the Greater Inland Empire Chapter, chairs the CAI-GRIE legislative support committee and serves as co-chair of the CLAC Grassroots Key Contacts task force.

CLAC wishes to thank attorneys Kieran J. Purcell and Nancy I. Sidoruk of Epsten Grinnell & Howell, APC, for their efforts in preparing the clarifying language which, on January 1, 2014, will become B&P Code section 7026.1(b).  Nancy Sidoruk


Governor Brown Signs “Clean Up” Legislation for Revised Davis-Stirling Act

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 745 into law. The bill is a multi-issue omnibus bill, and as to community associations primarily acts to “clean up” some issues related to the reorganizing of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, which becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2014. As enacted in 2012, AB 805 reorganized and rewrote the Davis-Stirling Act in a new part of the California Civil Code. As often happens with such a significant undertaking, items are inadvertently omitted, or changes in the law are not incorporated in time to be included in the bill. SB 745 serves to rectify those types of issues.

One of the inadvertent omissions in AB 805 dealt with how a document could be delivered to an association. As enacted by AB 805, new Civil Code section 4035 allowed for documents to be delivered to an association in a wide variety of ways, including email, fax or other electronic means, or personal delivery if the association had agreed to such methods of delivery. However, mail was omitted as an acceptable way to deliver documents to an association. SB 745 amends section 4035 to also allow for delivery of documents to an association via “first-class mail, postage prepaid, registered or certified mail, express mail, or overnight delivery by an express service center.”

In addition, two bills were enacted in 2012 which amended three provisions of the former Davis-Stirling Act (which is still current until the end of 2013).  As both bills were enacted after AB 805, the provisions of those bills were not included in the new Davis-Stirling Act. SB 745 corrects this problem.

One of the issues addressed by this correction is the requirement to have a person present at a physical location where members of an association can listen to the board transact business if a board meeting is held telephonically. As enacted, AB 805 required that at least one director be present at such a location. SB 745 amends Civil Code section 4090 to restore the option of allowing the person required to be present to be a director “or a person designated by the board.” This gives boards some flexibility with respect to telephonic meetings, and allows for the board to designate someone, such as the association’s manager, to be present at a physical location for members to listen to the board meeting rather than requiring that at least one director be present at the location.

SB 745 also clarifies several of the new provisions in the “new” Davis Stirling Act. New Civil Code section 4205 provides guidance as to which of an association’s governing documents controls if there is a conflict among the documents. As enacted in AB 805, there is some ambiguity as to whether section 4205 also defines when a conflict exists. As that was not the intention of the legislature when it enacted AB 805, SB 745 amends the language of section 4205 to avoid any misunderstanding regarding the purpose and intention of the statute.

New Civil Code section 4070 is also amended by SB 745 to authorize an action that is required to be approved by a majority of a quorum of the members at a duly held meeting at which a quorum is present to, instead, be approved by a majority in a duly held election in which a quorum is represented, thereby also applying the statute to elections conducted by written ballot.

Lastly, SB 745 amends the form for billing disclosures, and prohibits cancellation fees for requests for documents, as specified.

This is a guest post by Robert M. DeNichilo of DeNichilo & Lindsley, LLP.  Mr. DeNichilo is a member of the CAI-CLAC PR Committee.RMD Headshots Sept 2013-9388-web resized