MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 754 — March 16, 2019

One of the joys of being a Legislator is that cities in your District wishing to make changes in current law ask me to carry the necessary legislation. A good example is SB 1463 (2016), which I authored for the city of Laguna Beach. It became very prescient relating to the electrical utility sparking wires that caused the wildfire tragedies that were to follow (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 And The Facts — November 19, 2018).

This year, I have several bills that were generated from events occurring within the District. They are SB 241, SB 359, SB 447, SB 584, SB 689, and SB 754.

SB 754 was a request out of the city of Laguna Woods that came just before the deadline for submitting legislation. Consequently, we submitted what is known as a spot bill. A spot bill is a strategy to have a bill in the system that will be changed to reflect the original intent, theoretically, but time did not allow for completing the proper contents before the due date.

So, the piece below in The San Diego Union-Tribune on legislation affecting homeowners associations is accurate, but it is subject to change.

The request out of Laguna Woods came as a result of SB 1128 by Senator Roth last year. This bill satisfactorily cleared both chambers, only to be vetoed by Governor Brown.

The intent was simple. If a large homeowners association (HOA) is having an election and it is a single-slate, there are as many candidates as open positions, then there is no need for a formal election. This is a cost and time-saving modification to the existing C,C&Rs of HOAs. For some reason Senator Roth did not want to try it again since the old friend that prompted him to author it last year has moved out of Laguna Woods.

25th Anniversary Look Back

Twenty-five years ago, I ran for Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector. It was an amazing outside-the-box experience for me, an accountant, that changed the course of my entire life. So, I’m providing anniversary look backs this year with personal insights for those who enjoy history, or were too young, or not even born, to get a sense of this unique and historical effort. For the previous episodes, go to:

* MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Campaign Redux — January 9, 2019

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Proposed Budget Observations — January 12, 2019

* MOORLACH UPDATE — LAUSD and Future Concerns — January 24, 2019

* MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Then There Were Two — February 2, 2019

* MOORLACH UPDATE — State of the State Reaction — February 13, 2019

In my opening press release, I was clear on my concerns about the investment practices of the incumbent, but I did not make it the original focus. Why? Because I did not want others to see the vulnerability that was present and encourage more candidates to enter the race. So, I focused on the term limits theme. On March 12th, the day after the close of filing, the OC Register would provide a piece, titled “Ballot for Orange County elections begins to take shape.” The “Treasurer-tax collector” race was addressed as follows:

John M. W. Moorlach of Costa Mesa, a certified public accountant and Orange County Republican Central Committee member, issued a statement last month saying he was targeting incumbent Robert L. Citron in part because Citron has spent 28 years in office. Citron said he welcomes the chance for voters to rate his performance. Both have qualified for the ballot.

The treasurer-tax collector deposits and invests county funds.

Because this race would be printed near the bottom of the ballot, I expected this type of article at the beginning of the campaign period and a short article at the end mentioning that I had lost. However, over the next few months, it would garner national attention and be much more interesting than I had predicted.

HOA Homefront – 2019 bills proposing new HOA laws are a mixed bag

By Kelly G. Richardson

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/economy/sd-fi-hoa-0316-story.html

This year Sacramento presents another spring season full of ideas for homeowners associations – some bad, some good, and some well-intentioned but needing revision.

Senate Bill 323 is a recycle of last year’s SB 1265, a bill vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018. SB 323 would add burdensome new elements to the HOA election process and dictate to HOAs who could or could not serve as directors. The bill is as bad an idea this year as it was last year. As Gov. Brown wrote while vetoing its predecessor, SB 323 “takes a once-size-fits-all approach, but not all homeowner associations are alike. If changes to an election process are needed, they should be resolved by the members of that specific community.” Associations should set their board eligibility standards, not Sacramento.

SB 652 addresses the conflict between architectural conformity and religious observance. Does a Jewish mezuzah or Christian cross violate rules banning alteration of doorways? SB 652 would add a new Civil Code 4706, prohibiting associations from limiting or prohibiting display of religious items on entry doors of a member’s residence. There is no limitation on size, number, or appearance of doorway decorations, as long as they are religious. Perhaps some reasonable limit could be stated. Coauthored by 16 legislators, it awaits committee assignment.

SB 434, authored by Sen. Bob Archuleta of southeastern L.A. County, proposes to add a new Civil Code 5382. The proposed statute would require managing agents to produce the association’s records and property (manuals, transponders and keys, for example) within a certain time after termination and/or association request. Managers could not hold association records hostage, if, for example, they claimed the HOA owed them money. There is no penalty for non-compliance, and managers would not be required to produce email correspondence unless it had previously been given to the association. The bill is a good idea but should include correspondence as part of the HOA’s “records.” The bill has been assigned to the Judiciary and Housing committees for hearing.

SB 754, authored by Sen. John Moorlach of Orange County, would make technical amendments to Civil Code 4230. Section 4230 currently allows association boards after 30 days’ notice to the membership to delete CC&R provisions which relate only to developer marketing or completion of the project. SB 754 would increase the required notice to 60 days and also allow deletion of provisions solely related to the developer’s planning of the project. The bill awaits committee assignment.

SB 222 proposes to add a new protected class, “veteran or military status,” to California’s anti-discrimination laws by amending several Government Code Sections. Authored by Sen. Jerry Hill of the San Francisco area, it awaits hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

Assembly Bill 446 would if adopted add a new protected class, “domestic violence victim status,” to California’s anti-discrimination statutes. However, the bill does not define “domestic violence victim status.” Civil Code 1946.7 allows domestic violence victims to break their leases, and perhaps that statute might somehow lead to a definition, to avoid a vague and therefore less helpful statute. Authored by Assembly member Steven Choi of Irvine, it is pending hearing by the Housing and Community Development Committee.

To review legislation or laws, or contact a bill’s author or your representative about proposed new HOA laws, the official California Legislature web site is www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Kelly G. Richardson CCAL is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Senior Partner of Richardson Ober PC, a California law firm known for community association advice. Send questions to Kelly. Past columns at www.HOAHomefront.com.

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