SB 150 Limits Certain Rental Restrictions Recorded On Or After January 1, 2012

By David C. Swedelson, Esq.; SwedelsonGottlieb Community Association Attorneys

SwedelsonGottlieb has been responding to a flood of inquiries regarding the recently chaptered California SB 150, a bill which amends Sections 1368 and 1373 of the Davis-Stirling Act and adds a new Civil Code Section to the Act affecting certain rental restriction provisions in CC&Rs that are recorded on or after January 1, 2012. As there seems to be a good deal of confusion about this bill (even among some attorneys in our industry), we thought it would be beneficial for the readers of HOALawBlog to clearly explain the applicability and effect of this new legislation.

The Legislative Counsel’s Digest contains a good summary of the purpose of the bill: “This bill would prohibit the owner of a separate interest in a common interest development from being subject to a provision in a governing document, or a provision in an amendment to a governing document, that prohibits the rental or leasing of all or any of the separate interests in that common interest development to a renter, lessee, or tenant unless that governing document, or amendment thereto, was effective prior to the date the owner acquired title to his or her separate interest.” As noted above, this bill applies to some, but not all, rental restrictions recorded on or after January 1, 2012.

Following are two pertinent points about the application of SB 150 to California common interest developments:

1. This new legislation does not apply to all rental restrictions. For example, it does not apply to a rental restriction that prohibits an owner from leasing his/her unit/lot for a term less than one year, that the lease be in writing, or a restriction requiring that the lease contain language that the tenant agrees to abide by the association’s governing documents. The bill does apply to restrictions recorded on or after January 1, 2012 that prohibit leasing of a unit or lot, such as a restriction that sets a cap on the number or percentage of units that may be leased at any one time, or a restriction requiring a waiting period after purchase before an owner may rent his/her unit or lot.

2. The bill does not nullify all limits on leasing that are recorded on or after January 1, 2012. For example, if an association records an amendment to its CC&Rs establishing a 25% limit on leased units/lots on or after January 1, 2012, only new owners that purchase their properties after the effective date of that amendment would be subject to the 25% limit; existing owners would not be subject to the restriction. [This example would likely create a tracking burden for an association, as theoretically all existing owners could lease their units, but only new owners would be subject to the rental cap.]

If an association’s board of directors is considering proposing a rental restriction that affects the ability of owners to lease their units, the board should present that proposal for vote and record the corresponding CC&R amendment (assuming it is approved by the owners, and, if applicable, mortgagees) no later than December 31, 2011 to have a rental cap restriction that will be enforceable against all owners.

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