By CRAIG MORDOH, ESQ.
I am pleased to continue my long-standing relationship with AAGLA through my appointment as General Counsel and I am honored to succeed my friend and mentor, Trevor Grimm. While I can succeed him, no one can replace him.
As we all know, the State of California loves to pass new laws and the beginning of a new year is a time to review what new responsibilities the State has imposed on housing providers. This year there is actually few new laws to talk about, so I will start with an old law that has some changes.
Effective January 1, 2018, the rental value of a resident manager’s unit which may be applied towards the minimum wage is increased to $593.05 for one manager or $877.27 for co-managers. In other words, if you have a building with 16 units you must have a resident manager. As the resident manager is required to live at the building as a condition of employment, the maximum value that can be applied towards minimum wage, if you are charging no rent, is $593.05 if you have an individual manager in the unit or $877.27 for two managers in the unit.
The State mandated minimum wage for 2018 is $10.50 per hour if you employ fewer than 26 employees, $11.00 per hour if you have more than 26 employees. As with our various rent control laws, housing providers in the Los Angeles area are “blessed” with many different minimum wages.
In the City of Los Angeles, current minimum wage for employers with less than 26 employees $10.50 per hour, but will increase to $12.00 per hour on July 1, 2018. More than 26 employees, current $12.00 per hour increased to $13.25 on July 1, 2018. Those figures are the same for the City of Santa Monica and unincorporated sections of the County.
The increased values for the rental unit is already reflected in the AAGLA Resident Manager Agreement forms. You are advised to double-check with your locality for the current minimum wage when you fill out the form.
In 2016 the legislature adopted Civil Code Section 1954.201 which became effective January 1 of this year. This law establishes extensive regulations and requirements regarding water sub-metering. If your building is actually sub-metered, the law requires you to make numerous disclosures to tenants prior to the execution of the rental agreement, limits the charges that may be assessed tenants, including billing agent charges and late fees, limits when a tenant may be evicted for non-payment of water charges, and regulates when submeters must be read.
The new law also imposes obligations on the tenant to report leaks and obligations on you to repair leaks, and grants the housing provider the right to enter the premises for the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing a submeter, or for the purpose of investigating or rectifying a condition causing constant or abnormally high-water usage.
If you have a building that is sub-metered, be sure to use AAGLA’s Submeter Addendum in addition to the Rental Agreement.
AB 291 prohibits housing providers from seeking to influence a tenant to vacate a unit, or attempt to recover possession of the rental, based on a tenant’s immigration status.
AA 646 requires that if the housing provider has “actual knowledge” of their property being in a flood zone, then they are required to disclose this to their tenants. Housing providers will be considered to have this knowledge if they carry flood insurance for the property, or received special notification from the government.
Finally, SB2, imposes a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents, such as deeds and notices, with a cap of $225 per transaction.
Craig Mordoh is the General Counsel of the Apartment Association and a sole practitioner specializing in providing legal services to rental property owners. He can be reached at (310) 453-6774.