BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1448


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          Date of Hearing:  May 13, 2015


               ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT


                                   Ed Chau, Chair


          AB 1448  
          (Lopez) - As Amended May 6, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Personal energy conservation:  real property  
          restrictions


          SUMMARY:  Permits tenants, as well as owners in a homeowners  
          association (HOA), to use clotheslines and drying racks, subject  
          to reasonable restrictions, as specified.  Specifically, this  
          bill:  


          1)Defines "clothesline" as including a cord, rope, or wire from  
            which clothes may be hung to dry or air.


          2)Defines "drying rack" as meaning an apparatus from which  
            clothes may be hung to dry or air.


          3)Defines "private area" as meaning an outdoor area or an area  
            in the tenant's premises enclosed by a wall or fence with  
            access from a door of the premises.


          4)Provides that, subject to reasonable time or location  
            restrictions, a landlord shall permit a tenant to utilize a  
            clothesline or drying rack approved by the landlord in the  








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            tenant's private area if all of the following conditions are  
            met:





             a)   The clothesline or drying rack shall not interfere with  
               the maintenance of the rental property;



             b)   The clothesline or drying rack shall not create a health  
               or safety hazard, block doorways, or interfere with  
               walkways or utility service equipment; and



             c)   The tenant seeks the landlord's consent before affixing  
               a clothesline to a building.


          5)Makes void and unenforceable any provision in a HOA's  
            governing documents that effectively prohibits or unreasonably  
            restricts a homeowner's ability to use a backyard clothesline  
            or drying rack, and specifies that this section applies only  
            to yards that are designated for the exclusive use of the  
            homeowner.


          6)Provides that an HOA may establish reasonable rules and  
            restrictions governing clotheslines or drying racks, and  
            defines "reasonable restrictions" as restrictions that do not  
            significantly increase the cost of using a clothesline or  
            drying rack.












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          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Regulates the terms and conditions of residential tenancies,  
            and generally requires landlords to keep the rental units in a  
            condition fit for occupancy (Civil Code Section 1940 et seq.).
          2)Creates an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment in every lease,  
            requiring that the tenant shall not be disturbed in his or her  
            possession by the landlord (Civil Code Section 1927; Pierce v.  
            Nash (1954) 126 Cal.App.2d 606, 612).


          3)Regulates the purposes for which a renter's security deposit  
            may be used, including, but not limited to, compensating the  
            landlord for default on payment of rent, cleaning or repairing  
            rented property, exclusive of normal wear and tear, or  
            remedying future obligations under the rental agreement, as  
            specified (Code of Civil Procedure Section 1950.5).


          4)Permits the governing board of a HOA to adopt operating rules  
            that apply generally to the management and operation of the  
            common interest development (CID) or the conduct of the  
            business and affairs of the HOA, provided that the rule is  
            within the authority of the board to make, does not conflict  
            with the association's articles, bylaws, or governing law, and  
            is reasonable (Civil Code Sections 4340 and 4350).


          5)Provides specified limits to the authority of HOA governing  
            documents to regulate the use of a member's separate interest,  
            including provisions relating to the display of signs, the  
            installation of solar energy systems, and modification to  
            property to accommodate a disability (Civil Code Section 4700  
            et seq.).


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.








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          COMMENTS:  AB 1448 will make it easier for renters, as well as  
          owners in a HOA, to make use of an outdoor clothesline or drying  
          rack in order to conserve energy and cut utility costs.  The  
          bill has ample protections for landlords and HOAs.  First, a  
          landlord must approve the tenant's choice of clothesline or  
          drying rack and may impose reasonable restrictions as to time  
          and location.  As for owners in a HOA, the bill provides that  
          any provision in the governing documents that effectively  
          prohibits or unreasonably restricts the ability of the owner to  
          use a backyard clothesline or drying rack is unenforceable.   
          However, the bill permits the HOA to impose reasonable  
          restrictions on the use of backyard clotheslines and drying  
          racks.  The bill also makes it clear that the HOA owner's right  
          to use a clothesline or drying rack is restricted to backyard  
          space that is for the exclusive use of the owner; there would be  
          no right under this bill to use a clothesline or drying rack in  
          any HOA common area.


           Need for the bill:  According to the author, "due to the  
          ambiguity in current law, many homeowners, condominium, or  
          apartment associations have an outright ban on the use of  
          clotheslines. This ban prevents low-income families and energy  
          conscious persons from using a low-cost, low-tech energy  
          conservation tool. This bill would ensure that associations and  
          landlords cannot enforce an outright prohibition on the use of a  
          clothesline or drying rack in a person's private area if certain  
          conditions are met."


           Arguments in support:   The bill's sponsor, The Utility Reform  
          Network (TURN), argues that AB 1448 will "encourage and support  
          low-cost, low-tech solutions for the average citizen to keep and  
          maintain manageable utility bills."  According to TURN, there is  
          "a growing movement to allow citizens the personal freedom of  
          hang-drying their clothing, harnessing the power of the sun."   
          TURN reports that six states - Florida, Maine, Utah, Vermont,  








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          Colorado, and Hawaii - have adopted statutes that override  
          contracts or covenants that prohibit the use of clotheslines.   
          Federal studies, according to TURN, show that using clothesline  
          instead of electric dryers promotes energy conservation and  
          significantly reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into  
          the atmosphere.  Despite the obvious potential for monetary  
          savings and energy conservation, TURN contends that "in many  
          locations across California, Homeowners' Associations, Condo  
          Associations, and Apartment Associations deny a person's right  
          to utilize the power of the sun" by prohibiting the use of  
          clotheslines and drying racks. Supporters add that the bill  
          appropriately recognizes the right of a landlord or HOA to  
          impose reasonable restrictions, so long as clotheslines and  
          drying racks are not unreasonably prohibited altogether.  


           Arguments in opposition:   Opponents represent statewide and  
          regional associations of apartment owners and HOAs.  They argue  
          that AB 1448 will interfere with the management and  
          well-established rules of apartment complexes and community  
          interest developments.  The San Diego County Apartment  
          Association contends that "if a property owner elects to  
          disallow clotheslines at their rental properties, they should be  
          allowed to do so." For many opponents, a primary objection  
          appears to be aesthetics.  They contend that landlords could  
          lose control of the appearance of their properties, and as a  
          result property values will suffer. The Apartment Association of  
          Greater Los Angeles and the Santa Barbara Rental Property  
          Association argue that AB 1448 would "likely become the basis  
          for new disputes as the bill's right to hang laundry clashes  
          with a property owner's concern over the maintaining [of] the  
          appearance of the property."  Proposed committee amendments,  
          which include a clarification that a tenant may utilize a  
          clothesline or drying rack if approved by the landlord, address  
          these concerns.


          The Educational Community of Homeowners (ECHO), representing  
          community associations, opposes this bill unless amended, and  








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          the proposed committee amendments address these concerns.


           Related legislation:   AB 2561 (Bradford), Chapter 584, Statutes  
          of 2014: Established conditions under which residents of CIDs  
          and tenants in rental housing may engage in personal  
          agriculture.


           Committee amendments:   The Committee may wish to accept the  
          following amendments:


          1.  An amendment providing that a balcony, railing, awning, or  
          other parts of a structure or building shall not qualify as a  
          clothesline or drying rack.


          2.  An amendment clarifying that a tenant may utilize a  
          clothesline or drying rack if approved by the landlord.


          3.  An amendment changing the term "clothes" to "laundered  
          items."


          4.  An amendment eliminating the cross-reference to Civil Code  
          Section 1940.20 in Section 2 and replacing it with the  
          definition of "clothesline" found in Section 1.


          5.  An amendment adding a definition of "drying rack" to Section  
          2, identical to the definition in  Section 1.


          6.  An amendment replacing the term "homeowner" with "owner."


          7.  An amendment, in Section 2, changing the term "backyard  








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          clothesline or drying rack" to "clothesline or drying rack in  
          the owner's yard."


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          The Utility Reform Network (TURN) (sponsor)


          California Municipal Utilities Association


          California State Grange


          Conference of California Bar Associations


          Consumer Federation of California 


          Natural Resources Defense Council


          Sebastopol Grange # 306 




          Opposition


          Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles 








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          Apartment Association of Orange County


          Apartment Association, Southern California Cities


          East Bay Rental Housing Association 


          Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO) (Oppose unless  
          amended)


          Nor Cal Rental Property Association 


          North Valley Property Owners Association


          San Diego County Apartment Association


          Santa Barbara Rental Property Association 


          Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association 










          Analysis Prepared by:Rebecca Rabovsky / H. & C.D. / (916)  








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          319-2085