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Homeowner's Associations (HOA) and Mandatory Water Restrictions

With the passage of Assembly Bill 349, Homeowners Associations' (HOA) Board of Directors and their management companies or attorneys should review the Community's architectural and landscaping requirements or rules and regulations relating to permissible and prohibited landscaping.

AB 349 enacted Civil Code Section 4735, which becomes immediately applicable and a part of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. Civil Code 4735 prohibits an Association from enforcing or adopting any rule which:

  1. Prohibits the use of low water using plants,
  2. Prohibits the use of artificial turf or other synthetic surface, or
  3. Prohibits or restricts compliance with any water efficient landscape ordinance or restriction on water use.

Civil Code 4735 further prohibits the Association from imposing a fine or assessment against an owner for reducing or eliminating watering of vegetation during periods of declared droughts.

Homeowners Associations should review their existing governing documents and their enforcement procedures to ensure compliance with these new requirements. Further, since Associations are allowed to have in place reasonable rules and regulations relating to landscaping, including the installation and approvals for landscaping and artificial turf, Associations should review and implement guidelines for artificial turf or other landscaping needs to ensure consistency throughout the Community.

Ariel Bedell is an experienced attorney at The Loftin Firm. For questions relating to this blog or any other California real estate, land use, corporate or nonprofit compliance, or estate planning matter, contact Ms. Bedell at (760) 814-9649.

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