New laws in 2023 protect roommates and social media posts – Orange County Register

While 2021 was a stellar year for positive HOA legislation, 2022 proved less helpful for California HOA in Sacramento.

While many bills were introduced this year, only one made it onto the governor’s desk. Assembly Bill 1410, authored by Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez of Chino, was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on September 30 and went into effect in early 2023.

In my many years of following HOA legislation, I often see bills being triggered by a citizen reporting an incident that poses a problem for a legislator that deserves action and new legislation.

However, it is important for lawmakers to investigate whether the incident is a widespread problem among HOAs and whether lawmaker involvement is required. Unfortunately, Assembly Bill 1410 seems to address issues arising from individual cases. In my 33 years advising on HOAs, I have never seen any of the issues in this bill actually arise.

AB 1410 makes three changes to California law related to social media use, boarder boarding, and failure to comply with HOA requirements in emergencies.

Civil Code Section 4515, enacted in 2018, is essentially a free speech law for HOAs. It protects the right to meet and solicit members or to make applications and to provide information to members and residents. AB 1410 adds a subsection (6) to the list of protected activities in section 4515(b) that does not allow HOA governing documents (CC&Rs, statutes or rules) to prohibit the use of social media or internet resources to discuss HOA, Legislation, public elections or other issues of concern.

The new subsection clarifies that HOAs are not required to provide members with social media or online resources, or allow members to post on the HOA’s website. A new Section 4515(e) is also added, which prohibits retaliation against a member or resident for exercising rights under the law.

With CC&Rs and rules governing how homeowners use their homes or common areas, it’s hard to imagine how government documents could regulate comments on social media. I’ve never seen an association sanction someone for criticizing the HOA on social media, although I’ve seen some horrific allegations on social media where it seems anyone can say anything without accountability. I don’t think this new law will have a major impact on HOAs or their members.

Many HOAs have various requirements and restrictions regarding HOA residence rentals. A new Section 4739 of the Civil Code states that the HOA may not prohibit owners living in their homes from renting a room to a tenant so long as the lease is longer than 30 days. The effect of this new law is that members who live in their HOA home can accept boarders (but not on a short-term basis).

The third new piece of legislation from AB 1410 is a new Civil Code Section 5875 that does not permit HOAs to take any enforcement action (other than enforcing payment of appraisals) during a declared emergency if the nature of the emergency prevents the homeowner from doing so prevent or remedy violation. I haven’t experienced this situation before and can only imagine it with difficulty.

Well, Sacramento, how about we do something really important for HOAs next year by changing the law to allow electronic voting – like every other nonprofit in California!?

Kelly G Richardson, Esq. is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a partner at Richardson Ober LLP, a California law firm known for its expertise in community associations. Submit column questions to Kelly@roattorneys.com.

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/07/hoa-homefront-new-laws-coming-in-2023-protect-roommates-social-media-posts/ New laws in 2023 protect roommates and social media posts – Orange County Register

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