On September 4, 2015, Gov. Brown signed AB 349 into law, effective immediately which amends Civil Code section 4735 and limits the right of homeowners associations to restrict the use of artificial turf.
The law renders “void and unenforceable” any provision in governing documents or guidelines which “prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.” If an owner installs artificial turf in response to a drought emergency, associations cannot require removal of the turf once the emergency has passed. However, associations may still apply landscaping rules in the governing documents, to the extent the rules “fully conform” to these provisions.
Legislation has been passed regarding drought tolerant plants and now artificial turf. If your homeowners association does not have a policy and/or rule in place to address these issues and inquiries from owners about what they can (and cannot) install in their yards, now would be a good time to consult with association counsel to assist the board in preparing such rules/policies.