Civil Code § 4735 – Low Water Use

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a provision of the governing documents or architectural or landscaping guidelines or policies shall be void and unenforceable if it does any of the following:
(1) Prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of low water-using plants as a group or as a replacement of existing turf.
(2) Prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.
(3) Has the effect of prohibiting or restricting compliance with either of the following:
(A) A water-efficient landscape ordinance adopted or in effect pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 65595 of the Government Code.
(B) Any regulation or restriction on the use of water adopted pursuant to Section 353 or 375 of the Water Code.
(b) This section shall not prohibit an association from applying landscaping rules established in the governing documents, to the extent the rules fully conform with the requirements of subdivision (a).
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, except as provided in subdivision (d), an association shall not impose a fine or assessment against an owner of a separate interest for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawns during any period for which either of the following have occurred:
(1) The Governor has declared a state of emergency due to drought pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8558 of the Government Code.
(2) A local government has declared a local emergency due to drought pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8558 of the Government Code.
(d) Subdivision (c) shall not apply to an owner of a separate interest that, prior to the imposition of a fine or assessment described in subdivision (c), receives recycled water, as defined in Section 13050 of the Water Code, from a retail water supplier, as defined in Section 13575 of the Water Code, and fails to use that recycled water for landscaping irrigation.
(e) An owner of a separate interest upon which water-efficient landscaping measures have been installed in response to a declaration of a state of emergency described in subdivision (c) shall not be required to reverse or remove the water-efficient landscaping measures upon the conclusion of the state of emergency.

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