(originally published in Fall 2000)

As reported in the Peters & Freedman January, 2000 newsletter, Senate Bill (“SB”) 1148 became operative on January 1, 2000. This bill added Civil Code Section 1352.5, and requires boards of directors of common interest developments “to amend any declaration or other governing document that includes” discriminatory restrictive covenants. Discriminatory restrictive covenants are those that are based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, or ancestry. All common interest developments must comply with the amendment requirement no later than January 1, 2001.

SB 1148 also requires associations which provide governing documents to individuals to attach a separate sheet or stamp the first page of the documents with disclaimer language. Prior to September of 2000, the disclaimer had to be in bold-face, red ink, in at least 20 point type.

In early September, however, Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1493, was passed as emergency legislation intended to immediately take effect to modify some of the requirements of SB 1148. Most importantly, the required disclaimer language required to appear on the front page of the governing documents has been modified. The new disclaimer is a follows:

If this document contains any restriction based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, or ancestry, that restriction violates state and federal fair housing laws and is void, and may be removed pursuant to Section 12956.1 of the Government Code. Lawful restrictions under state and federal law on the age of occupants in senior housing or housing for older persons shall not be construed as restrictions based on familial status.

AB 1493 also authorizes associations to use black ink and only 14 point, bold-face type as opposed to the red ink and 20 point, bold-face type previously required by SB 1148. Associations typically provide governing documents to new owners or when requested by an owner. Please be sure to include this disclaimer language when providing documents to anyone.

AB 1493 also eliminated the authority of the county recorder to remove a restrictive covenant upon request of any person holding an interest in the property. For owners not living in common interest developments, these owners must now apply to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing for permission to remove the language. Owners living within common interest developments, on the other hand, must rely on the requirements contained in section 1352.5 of the Civil Code directing association boards of directors to review an associationÕs governing documents and delete any restrictive covenants prior to January 1, 2001.

Based on the need for uniformity, the terms of AB 1493 take effect immediately. Please ensure that the modified disclaimer language is used from now on when governing documents are given to anyone. Furthermore, considering that we are rapidly approaching 2001, boards of directors should also contact their legal counsel to request a review of their association’s governing documents to ensure compliance.