New California Laws in 2018

There are new California laws in 2018 that impact landlords across the state. We wanted to give you an overview of the new laws and provide resources so you can easily comply with each new law.

According to the California Apartment Association (CAA), there are five new laws effective January 1st 2018 on the following topics:

  1. Immigration status
  2. Flood zones
  3. Marijuana
  4. Employment
  5. Housing crisis

Last, we’ll also cover the new Bed Bug law that went into effect January 2017.

Immigration Status

The new law on immigration aims to target discrimination. According to California Law AB 291, landlords are not allowed to influence a tenant to vacate a unit, or attempt to recover possession of the rental, based on a tenant’s immigration status.

Flood Zones

If landlords have “actual knowledge” of their property being in a flood zone, then they are required to disclose this to their tenants. Under AA 646, landlords are considered having this knowledge if they carry flood insurance for the property, or received special notification from the government.

Marijuana

Despite the new law on the legal sale of marijuana for recreational use, California landlords are still allowed to ban smoking marijuana on their property.

Employment

There are new employment laws in California, so if you’ve hired a property manager or any other employee, then here’s what you need to know:

California employers are not allowed to ask about criminal history or salary history during the hiring process. There is also a required parental leave for businesses with at least 20 people. You can read more about parental leave in California here.

Housing Crisis

The rate of homelessness continues to increase in California. As a result, affordable housing is a top-of-mind issue for legislators. Multiple new laws were passed this year to help remedy the situation. You can read about each of these laws here.

These laws do not directly impact landlords, but will likely impact the market, as there’s a push for more affordable housing developments.

Bed Bugs

Effective July 2017, California landlords must follow new guidelines for bed bugs. Specifically, in the new law:

  • Landlords must provide a lease addendum with education about bed bugs.
  • Landlords are prevented from showing or renting a vacant unit if there’s an active infestation.
  • Landlords are not allowed to retaliate against a tenant who has reported an infestation by trying to evict the tenant.
  • Landlords are not required to inspect for bed bugs if they haven’t seen them or received a tenant complaint. If there is an inspection, landlords are required to notify tenants of the findings within two days.
  • Tenants are required to cooperate with the inspection and treatment of bed bugs.

This new legislation is a result of a couple of factors:

  • Los Angeles and San Francisco ranked #4 and #10 respectively for cities with the most bed bug treatments.
  • There has been an increase in bed bug litigation in California in recent years.
  • Bed bugs are a difficult pest to treat. They can even move from unit to unit. Early detection, education, and pest management go a long way to keep bed bug problems under control.

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

  • Bed bug bites cause itchy red welts that can be mistaken for mosquito or flea bites.
  • Tenants may notice small red or brown spots, molted skins, white sticky eggs, or empty eggshells on their mattress, box spring, headboard, nightstand, lines, walls, or carpet edges.

State Law on Habitability

California leases have an implied warranty of habitability, which means landlords are required to maintain condition fit for humans, including keeping it free of rodents and vermin.

Landlords are required to repair damage or problems that compromise habitability at their own expense. The only exception is if they can prove the damage was the tenants’ fault.

Bed Bug Addendums and Resources  

California Apartment Association Bed Bug Addendum

San Francisco Bed Bug Addendum

San Francisco Bed Bug Information

Further Education

If you’re a landlord in California, you’ll benefit from becoming a member of the California Apartment Association (CAA). They offer education for their members, including a webinar on the new laws in 2018.

To learn all of your state laws, read our complete guide to California Landlord-Tenant Law.


Also published on Medium.

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