– By David M. Peters, Esq. (originally published in January 1999)

The 1998 legislative session did not result in the enactment of an abundance of new laws affecting homeowners associations. However, the following are some of the new laws that were enacted which directly, or indirectly, impact our communities. Unless otherwise provided, these laws became effective on January 1, 1999.

Statute of Limitations on Enforcement of CC&R Violations – (Effective January 1, 2001)

Assembly Bill 707 was intended to clarify which statutes of limitations apply to actions based on a breach of the recorded covenants contained in CC&Rs. Currently, there are three different limitations periods (3 years, 4 years and 5 years) that can govern these types of actions. This legislation adds California Civil Code Section 784 to clarify that the term “restriction” includes covenants contained in CC&Rs. This bill also amends California Code of Civil Procedure Section 336 to apply a five year statute of limitations to an action for a violation of a “restriction” as that term is now defined in Civil Code Section 784.

The five year period begins to run from the time the person seeking enforcement discovered, or should have discovered, the violation. The new law further provides that if an action is not commenced within the five-year period, future enforcement of a violation of the same restriction is not precluded.

In order to allow the new statute of limitations period to integrate, Code of Civil Procedure Section 336 specifically states that the five-year period will commence on January 1, 2001, and up until that time, the current applicable statutes of limitations will apply.

Swimming Pool Safety – (Effective September 11, 1998)

Last year, the legislature added Health and Safety Code Section 116049.1 which established new safety requirements for swimming pool lights that had to be implemented by July 1, 1998. These requirements apply to swimming pools found in common areas of common interest developments.

This past year, Assembly Bill 2697 (known as the Yasmin Paleso’o Memorial Swimming Pool Safety Law) was enacted and, among other items, extends the time period to comply with the pool light retrofitting requirements to May 1, 1999 and more clearly defines the safety requirement . Additionally, pool owners/operators are required to have an inspection performed by local health officers or qualified contractors to certify that the pool conforms to the safety requirements.

The amendments to Health and Safety Code Section 116049.1 became effective on September 11, 1998. The full text of Health and Safety Code Section 116049.1, with the new revisions, can be found in the Peters & Freedman 1999 Legal Reference books, which are currently available from our office.

Disclosure of Placement Sex Offenders

Assembly Bill 2799 does not directly affect the operation of a homeowners association. However, it provides information regarding the living arrangements of “registered sex offenders” that could be of interest to persons residing in single family homes. This legislation prohibits any person who is released on parole having served a term of imprisonment for any offense requiring registration as a sex offender, from living in a single family dwelling during the parole period with any other person also required to register as a sex offender (unless the persons are related by blood, marriage of adoption).

The legislation provides that the term “single family dwelling” does not include a “residential facility” which serves six or fewer persons as provided under Health and Safety Code Section 1502. The impact of this legislation on community associations is that the only time where more than one unrelated “registered sex offenders” can reside together in a single family dwelling is where the dwelling is a licensed facility.

This legislation also now requires the State Department of Justice to provide local law enforcement with CD ROM information identifying the placement of registered sex offenders in residential homes on a monthly basis (previously this information was required to be given on a quarterly basis).