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Ranking of Laws. The three sources of law are constitutional, statutory, and case law. The sources are ranked as follows: first, constitutional; second, statutory; and third, case law. 

Laws & Ordinances. Bills (proposed changes to the law) are introduced into the legislature in Sacramento. Once a bill has been approved by both houses of the legislature (the Assembly and Senate) and signed by the Governor, a bill becomes a statute or "statutory law." The Davis-Stirling Act (Civ. Code §§ 4000-6150) is an example of statutory law. Regulatory laws are adopted by executive agencies based on statutes. Ordinances are passed by counties and cities.

Enrolled. A bill that passes both houses is sent for proofreading for consistency before being sent to the Governor for approval.

Transmitted to Governor. The governor must sign or veto legislation within ten days after transmittal, or it becomes law without his/her signature. For bills transmitted after session adjournment, the governor must act within 30 days after the end of the session, or the legislation becomes law without being signed.

Chaptered. A bill is "chaptered" once it is signed by the Governor. It becomes law on January 1 of the following year unless it contains an urgency clause (takes effect immediately) or specifies an effective date.


AB 1313.  Older individuals/case management. The bill would, until January 1, 2030, require the department to establish a “case management services pilot program,” the purpose of which is to expand statewide the local capacity of supportive services programs. It would provide case management services to older individuals who need assistance to maintain health and economic stability, would require the Counties of Alameda, Marin, and Sonoma to participate in the pilot program, submit reports containing data on performance outcomes, and help determine the effectiveness of developing a master plan for aging. 

AB 2114. Inspection of exterior elevated elements. Existing law requires the board of a condominium association to cause a visual inspection to be conducted, at least every 9 years, of the exterior elevated elements for which the association has maintenance or repair responsibility. Existing law requires the inspection to be conducted by a licensed structural engineer or architect. This bill would additionally authorize a licensed civil engineer to conduct the inspection and this bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute. (Introduced)

AB 2159. Electronic secret ballot. Authorizes an association to conduct an election by electronic secret ballot unless the governing documents provide otherwise.  If an electronic secret ballot is conducted by website, individual notice of the ballot must be delivered to each member and must include instructions on how to vote by electronic secret ballot. An electronic secret ballot is effective when transmitted and irrevocable. The use of an electronic secret ballot is prohibited unless members still have an opportunity to vote by written secret ballot. (Introduced)

AB 2460. Member Election.This is a cleanup bill to AB 1458 brought to address some ambiguity on decreased quorums. There has been some confusion as to whether the board or the Association members have the authority to re-convene at the lower quorum percentage (20% unless the documents are lower). Nothing controversial here. (Introduced)

SB 477 (urgency statute).  Accessory Dwelling Units. Existing law states that ADUs and JADUs may be created and approved by local ordinance, or ministerial approval if an ordinance has yet to be adopted. Commencing January 1, 2024, this bill amends Government Code 65400 and requires the applicable planning agency to include in its annual report specific information related to the housing elements of the general plan, including the creation and regulation of ADUs and JADUs. The bill incorporates certain nonmaterial changes regarding these reporting requirements into Government Code Sections 66310-66341 and reorganizes these provisions.
SB 900Repair and Maintenance. This bill would make community associations responsible for repairs and replacement of gas, heat, water or electrical services when services involving these components are interrupted to the extent the components originate in the common area. It would require repairs be made within 30 days by the Association, and allow for an award of reasonable attorney’s fees to a prevailing owner who brings an action to enforce this provision.  It would also expand the definition of an “extraordinary expense” to include situations where threats to “personal health” are discovered, and not simply personal safety.

SB 1212.  Housing/investments.  This bill would prohibit an “investment entity” (as defined by Corporations Code Sec. 23000, or a real estate investment trust or entity that manages funds pooled from investors and owes a fiduciary duty to those investors) from purchasing or acquiring an interest in a single family residence or other dwelling that consists of one or two units. These violating purchases or acquisitions would be considered void. Nonprofit organizations would be exempt from consideration as investment entities. As well, home sellers would avoid liability if the seller obtains a written release from the buyer stating the seller is not an investment entity.

SB 1470.   Construction defect.  Existing law provides specific construction standards applicable to new construction in determining liability against the builder for allegedly defective construction of residential dwelling units and common area components. This bill would require that any deficiency in said standards must materially affect the habitability or usefulness of the residential dwelling unit, and that liability be predicted on a breach of the standard of care for construction of said component. “Standard of care” is defined as that level of care accepted in the industry for similar work in California.  Further, this bill would allow for a special inspector to be appointed to review repair work performed by the builder under a permit to be obtained by the builder, and provide the builder with an affirmative defense based on compliance with the permit. Offers to repair would also no longer be inadmissible in an enforcement action. 

Case Law Defined. Case law is created by judicial decisions in California's appellate courts and supreme court. Statutory law demands or prohibits certain acts. Case law interprets statutory law. The cases also explain how the justices arrived at their particular conclusions. If published, their rulings serve as precedence for cases that follow.

Colyear v. Rolling Hills Community Association of Rancho Palos Verdes. When the Association was established in 1936, CC&Rs were filed with the initial properties that established a general plan for the development. Over time, other tracts were annexed into the development, each with its own declaration, Some of them included tree-trimming provisions while others did not. The lot owned by the member at issue was subject to an annexation declaration that did not contain a tree-trimming provision. The court determined that the provision in the general plan did not apply to those with CC&Rs that did not contain the provision. Since the original declaration containing the tree-trimming covenant was not recorded against the member's property when he purchased it, the court found he did not impliedly agree to the original declaration’s terms.

Nat'l Small Business United v. Yellen. On March 1, 2024, a federal court in Alabama ruled that the Corporate Transparency Act is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the rulin only benefited the plaintiff in the case. For more information, The Corporate-Transparency Act

The following cases are unpublished opinions and are not binding precedents. However, they give insight into how future courts might deal with similar issues.

Bear Valley Springs Condo Ass'n v. Pina. A homeowner contacted the association’s insurance company, claiming the board was negligent in maintaining the roof over her unit. The association’s insurance company subsequently issued a notice of non-renewal of the policy. The association sued the homeowner for intentional interference with economic relationship and negligence. The homeowner filed an Anti-SLAPP motion which the trial court and appellate court denied because the communications the homeowner had with the insurance company were “privately” broadcast.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

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