Assembly Bill (AB) 1410, authored by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez, was signed into law on September 30, 2022, and took effect on January 1, 2023. This bill made three changes to existing laws impacting homeowner associations, specifically regarding usage of social media and online resources, enforcement action during emergencies, and members' right to rent or lease their separate interest.
Social Media and Online Resources: Existing Civil Code Section 4515 ensures that members and residents can exercise their rights to peacefully assemble and freely communicate with one another and with others regarding association issues or for social, political, or educational purposes. It listed five such types of activities which an association's governing documents cannot prohibit. This bill added subsection (6) to Section 4515(b) to prohibit anything in governing documents banning members from using “social media or other online resources to discuss any of the following, even if the content is critical of the association or its governance: development living, association elections, legislation, election to public office, the initiative, referendum, or recall processes, or other issues of concern to members and residents.” Thankfully, the bill did not require HOAs to provide social media or other online resources to members or require HOAs to allow members to post content on the HOA's website. The bill also added subsection (e) to Section 4515, which prohibits an association from retaliating against a member or a resident for exercising certain rights under the statute.
Enforcement Action During Emergencies: This bill added a new Civil Code Section 5875 to prohibit HOAs from pursuing “enforcement actions for a violation of the governing documents, except those actions relating to the homeowner's nonpayment of assessments, during a declared state or local emergency if the nature of the emergency giving rise to the declaration makes it unsafe or impossible for the homeowner to either prevent or fix the violation.” Therefore, whenever there is a declared state or local emergency (for example due to a pandemic, a natural disaster, drought, etc.), before pursuing enforcement of a governing document violation, associations will need to consider whether the nature of the emergency makes it unsafe or impossible for the owner to resolve the violation. Fortunately, the bill did not prevent HOAs from collecting on delinquent assessments during a state of emergency.
Right to Rent or Lease Separate Interest: The bill also added a new Civil Code Section 4739 and amends Civil Code Section 4740, which may change the landscape of what single “family” residences will look like for HOAs. The new Civil Code Section 4739 provides that governing documents may not “prohibit the rental or leasing of a portion of the owner-occupied separate interest in that common interest development to a renter, lessee, or tenant for a period of more than 30 days.” In addition, the bill amended Civil Code Section 4740 to prohibit HOAs from restricting the rental or leasing of a portion of the owner-occupied separate interest for more than 30 days without regard to whether such restriction existed at the time the homeowner acquired title to the separate interest. Essentially, this allows an owner who remains in occupancy to rent out a room or rooms to one or more roommates and overrides governing document restrictions that prohibit individual bedrooms from being rented separately and independently or that prohibit owners from leasing less than the entire separate interest. The concern is that some properties could start to look like mini-dorms or boarding houses.