This week’s article marks another set of real estate laws and regulations that will be going into effect in the very near future. This group of laws pertain to the notice of sale, renting out condos, tenant smoking bans, tenants recycling rights, and the use of political signage. We hope that these explanations will assist you in gaining a handle on these news laws.

Revising the Notice of Sale: Effective April 1, 2012, a notice of trustee’s sale for the non-judicial foreclosure of one-to-four residential units must contain specified notices to the owner on how to seek postponement of the trustee’s sale, and to potential bidders on the risks involved in bidding at trustee auctions.  Additionally, a lender or authorized agent must make a good faith effort to provide up-to-date information about sale dates and postponements to persons who want this information.  The lender must also provide updated information through the Internet, a telephone recording, or any other means that allows free access at any time.  Senate Bill 4.

Renting Out Condominiums: C.A.R. also successfully sponsored legislation protecting owners’ right to rent out their units in common interest developments.  Starting January 1, 2012, an owner in a common interest development is exempt from any prohibition in a governing document against renting or leasing the unit, unless that prohibition was in effect before the owner acquired title to his or her unit.  When renting out a unit, the owner must give the HOA verification of the owner’s acquisition date, and name and contact information of the prospective tenant.  An owner’s right to rent under this law does not terminate for certain transfers of title, including, but not limited to, probate, spousal, parent-to-child, adding a joint tenant, and other transfers exempt from property tax reassessment.  For sales transactions, the required HOA disclosures must include a statement describing any prohibition in the governing documents against renting or leasing.  This law does not apply to rental prohibitions in effect before 2012.  Senate Bill 150.

Tenants Smoking Ban: Beginning January 1, 2012, a residential landlord can prohibit the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products on the property, including any dwelling unit, building, other interior or exterior area, or the premises on which the property is located.  For new tenants on or after January 1, 2012, the areas where smoking is prohibited must be stated in the lease or rental agreement.  For preexisting tenants before 2012, a new provision prohibiting smoking is a change in the terms of tenancy that requires adequate written notice, depending on whether the tenancy is month-to-month or for a fixed term.  Senate Bill 332.

Tenants Displaying Political Signs: Effective January 1, 2012, a residential tenant can generally display political signs related to elections, legislative votes, initiatives, and other political matters as specified, but the landlord can make reasonable restrictions as to location, size, and duration of display.  In a single-family dwelling, a tenant’s political signs can be displayed from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of the leased premises.  In a multifamily dwelling, a tenant’s political signs can be posted in the window or door of the leased premises.  A landlord can restrict the size of a political sign to six square feet.  A landlord can also prohibit a tenant from displaying political signs that violate local, state or federal law, or a lawful provision in an HOA’s governing documents.  A tenant must remove political signs in compliance with time limits set by local ordinance, or absent such time limits, the landlord can reasonably restrict the posting of a sign to 90 days before an election or vote, and its removal within 15 days after the election or vote.  Senate Bill 337.

Tenants Recycling Rights: Commencing July 1, 2012, a multifamily residential dwelling of five or more units (or a multifamily residential dwelling or business that generates more than four cubic yards per week of commercial solid waste as defined) must arrange for recycling services.  The intent of this law is to address the challenges local governments are facing in reducing solid waste disposal in multifamily properties.  The required recycling services are to be consistent with state or local laws, to the extent that these services are offered and reasonably available from a local service provider.  The property owner of a multifamily residential dwelling may require tenants to source separate their recyclable materials to aid in compliance with this law.  Assembly Bill 341.