2016 Laws Affecting Real Estate

Mold/Habitatility Standards: A building will be deemed legally substandard for infestation of mold (microscopic organism and fungi that grow in damp conditions) if visible mold growth (as determined by a health/code enforcement officer) endangers the property occupants’ health. A landlord will not be obligated to repair mold dilapidation if he/she does not have notice of it or if the tenant is in substantial violation of the duty to keep the property clean and sanitary thereby substantially contributing to the mold.

“Hosting Platforms” (such as Airbnb) Must Provide Written Warning: A “hosting platform” (such as Airbnb) must provide a specific written warning to a tenant that subletting the tenant’s residence may violate his/her lease and could result in eviction of the tenant for illegal subletting of the rental unit.

Victim’s Right to Terminate Tenancy on 14 Days Notice: A tenant may terminate a tenancy if he/she is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, elder abuse, or human trafficking by a house-mate. The victim’s termination notice period may be as short as 14 days.

Clotheslines or Drying Racks: A landlord must permit a tenant to utilize a clothesline or drying rack approved by the landlord in the tenant’s private area, so long as the clothesline or drying rack does not interfere with the maintenance of the rental property, create a health hazard, block driveways, or interfere with walkways or utility service equipment. The tenant must seek the landlord’s consent before affixing a clothesline to a building. “Private area” can include an outdoor area or an area in the tenant’s premises enclosed by a wall or fence with access from a door of the premises.

Notice of Pesticide Use: A landlord must post a statutory notice of pesticide use on the premises if the landlord or landlord’s agent applies any pesticide to the property without a licenses pest control operator. A similar notice must also be posted at least 24 hours prior to application of any pesticide to a common area without a licensed pest control operator, unless the pest poses an immediate threat to health/safety, in which case the notice must be posted as soon as practicable, but not later than one hour after the pesticide is applied.

Rent Control in Richmond: Richmond, CA now has a Rent Control and Just-Cause-for-Eviction ordinance.

Water Use: New laws: (a) make void and unenforceable common interest development prohibitions against use of artificial grass (b) make void and unenforceable common interest development requirement that an owner remove or reverse water-efficient landscaping measures installed in response to a declaration of a state of emergency (c) prohibit cities/sounties from enacting or enforcing any law that prohibits the installation of drought tolerant landscaping or artificial grass on residential property (d) prohibit a city or county from imposing a fine for a failure to water a lawn or having a brown lawn during a declared drought emergency.

Discrimination Based upon Citizenship, Primary Language, or Immigration Status: The protections of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (applicable to property owners offering commercial or residential units for rent, sellers in the business of selling properties, and real estate licenses) are extended to encompass discrimination based upon citizenship, primary language, and immigration status.