New Year, New Laws

As you gear up for a new year, here are four new California laws that rental property owners and managers must incorporate into their business practices in 2019.

Third-Party Rent Payments
This first law involves the payment of rent by a third party on behalf of the tenant. CAA worked to ensure that a tenant’s ability to pay rent through a third party also contains protections for landlords.

Historically, landlords have been unwilling to accept payments from third parties over concerns that a third party would claim a right to possession of the unit. The California Apartment Association worked with the author, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, to prevent this from happening.

AB 2219, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on August 28, provides that a landlord who accepts a rent payment from a third party can require that the third party sign a document acknowledging that the transaction does not make that third party a tenant.

Third-party payments come from a variety of sources, such as social service agencies, or programs created by local jurisdictions or nonprofits. They may come from individuals, such as family members or caretakers.

This new law is not intended to
require that a landlord or landlord’s agent participate in, or enter into, a contract in connection with a federal, state, or local housing-assistance program, including, but not limited to, the federal housing-assistance voucher programs under Section 8.

Sexual Harassment Training
The second law expands sexual harassment-prevention training to small businesses. Inspired by the #MeToo movement, more California small businesses—including those in the rental housing industry—will be required to conduct training to prevent sexual harassment.

The law expands the training requirements to businesses with as few as five employees, including temporary and seasonal workers. Until now, sexual harassment-prevention training has been required for businesses of 50 employees or more and was mandated only for supervisors.

The expanded requirements include at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training for all supervisory employees and at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all workers in non-supervisory roles. Moreover, training must be provided within six months of the employee being appointed to his or her position and then once every two years. Training for affected employees must happen by January 1, 2020. If training occurs in 2019, it doesn’t need to be repeated before the 2020 deadline.

Starting January 1, 2020, seasonal and temporary employees must be provided with the training within 30 calendar days of hire or 100 hours worked, whichever is first.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing will provide a free web training program for businesses to utilize. For more information on this law, see “A Piece of Work” on page 26.

Liability for Marijuana Cultivation
Under this new law, a city can immediately penalize individuals who have violated local cannabis laws. The law is intended to deal with marijuana growers who violate local laws and who avoid fines by simply picking up and moving their operations.

As originally drafted, the legislation would have left innocent rental property owners vulnerable to immediate penalties without the opportunity for an appeal. The California Apartment Association, however, worked with the author, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, to provide landlords the ability to address a marijuana-related violation that catches them unawares. Under the law, the owner will not be held liable and will not face fines if the rental property owner can show that (1) a tenant is in possession of the unit where the violation occurred; (2) the owner had no actual knowledge that the tenant was cultivating cannabis; and (3) the owner has a lease agreement that prohibits the illegal activity. The CAA and SFAA rental agreements specifically prohibits this marijuana activity on the property.

Automatic Garage Doors with Battery Backup
Beginning next summer, landlords and other property owners will no longer be allowed to install automatic garage doors unless they have a battery backup function designed to operate during electrical outages.

While property owners won’t need to proactively install new automatic garage doors, any replacement door installed on or after July 1, 2019, must have the battery backup feature. The law provides for a civil penalty of $1,000 for a garage door not installed in compliance with the law.

The requirement comes from SB 969 by Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and applies to all automatic garage door openers manufactured and sold for use in California for any residential building.

As reported in a news release from Senator Dodd’s office, while garage door motors can be disconnected to open the doors manually, many people, especially seniors or those with heavy doors, found it impossible to open their doors during the fires in Santa Rosa.

Dodd introduced the bill after a personal experience during the fires that raged through his area last year, leaving him and his neighbors without power.

The above content was written by Debra Carlton of the California Apartment Association. For more information on new laws coming your way in 2019, go to CAA’s website at



Mark Monday, March 18 on your calendar for the annual SFAA tradeshow. The event will take place at the Fort Mason Conference Building, Gallery 308, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Attendees will learn all about the latest trends, products and services in the multifamily housing industry. Consult with legal and management professionals, get to know service providers, improve your overall effectiveness at the free educational classes, and meet peers in the San Francisco rental property market. The event is free and open to the general public, so bring your friends and enjoy!

Please note that the tradeshow will replace the March member meeting.

For more information on the tradeshow
or to become a sponsor, contact Turn to page 47 for more details.

Recology Christmas Tree Collection
Christmas trees will be collected from January 2 to January 12. Place clean, unflocked trees curbside—next to your recycling bin—for pickup before 6:00 a.m. on your regular collection day. Make sure all tinsel, decorations, plastic bags, stands and lights have been removed. Cut trees taller than six feet in half.

The trees will be chipped at Recology’s San Francisco transfer station and recycling center. The wood chips will be made into ground cover for dairy farms and landscaping mulch.

If you miss the deadline for pickup, take your tree to the transfer station at 501 Tunnel Avenue in San Francisco.

SFAA November Member Meeting
The November 19th SFAA member meeting was held at the Jewish Community Center in Kanbar Hall. The meeting began with the monthly Legal Q & A, moderated by Dave Wasserman of Wasserman & Stern, followed by a welcome from Eric Andresen, SFAA board member, and a presentation from the meeting sponsor, Maria Neumann with Water Damage Recovery.

Mark Hogan, architect and principal at OpenScope Studio then took the stage to talk about San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program. He focused on the recently amended Planning Code, which streamlines the Accessory Dwelling Unit process for property owners. For more information, check out the revised version of the ADU handbook that his firm is working on at

Shant J. Apekian and Deb Carlton then gave meeting attendees an update on statewide compliance issues for rental housing owners, an overview of the current political landscape, and a review of Proposition 10.

For handouts and minutes from the member meeting and more information on the legislative updates, go to