New 2018 Laws Affecting Rental Properties

AB 1796 - Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

As electric vehicles become ever more popular, tenants are increasingly demanding charging stations. So, in response to this demand, and looking to the future, AB 1796 was passed. It provides that "any lease executed, extended or renewed after July 1, 2015 a lessor of a dwelling SHALL approve a written request of a lessee to install an electric vehicle charging station" (emphasis added). A tenant must provide the landlord with a complete financial analysis and scope of work regarding the required infrastructure, the tenant pays all costs of install, including permits, construction, damage, maintenance and removal, and must maintain $1M liability policy on the station. Exceptions to this new law are: if parking is not provided as part of the lease, if there are fewer than 5 parking spaces, and if charging stations are already in place for 10% or more of the existing spaces.

Although one would think that the cost of installation would be prohibitive for most, we suspect that Bay Area cities with high-paying tech jobs will feel this impact the most.

AB 1919 - Price Gouging

The wildfires of the past year destroyed thousands of homes, creating ever more demand for rental housing. Unfortunately, there are property owners who make a terrible situation worse by increasing the rent significantly, knowing that desperate families will pay such prices while they rebuild their lives and homes.

In response, when the President, Governor, local official or local governing body declares a state of emergency, it is now a misdemeanor to raise rents more than 10% to an existing or potential tenant for a period of 30 days after such declaration.

We believe this is a start but can envision a scenario where a landlord would simply keep a property vacant, wait for the 30-day period to expire, then increase the rents to the new tenant.

AB 2413 - Right to Call Police

Tenants, like the rest of us, occasionally need the assistance of law enforcement to handle an emergency. Yet some leases contained clauses which punished the tenant for just this scenario.

AB 2413 provides that any provision in a lease that limits or prohibits a tenant's or other persons rights to summon law enforcement is declared void as against public policy and prohibits a landlord from imposing penalties on a tenant who contacts law enforcement for emergency assistance. A tenant may raise this retaliation as an affirmative defense in an eviction proceeding if the landlord files the eviction within 30 days of such a call for assistance.