New Laws for 2020

Today we take a look at some new laws that were passed in 2019. While the news maker was undoubtedly statewide rent control, the Assembly was hard at work addressing other real estate issues as well. Below we take a look at some of the new laws that will be coming on board in 2020. While I think most are interesting or important to know about, today I am just hoping that I remember to write 2020 and not 2019.

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New Laws for 2020
By: D. Keith Dunnagan, Esq.


Every year the state of California passes new laws that will impact nearly every segment of the market and 2019 was no different. While the big newsmakers were ADU legislation, cannabis, housing and rent control, there were many other laws that were passed that will impact California’s real estate market. Today, we take a look at some of the new laws that will be coming into effect that involve real estate.

AB 38 requires sellers of property in high fire areas to provide documentation stating compliance with local laws regarding defensible space. Beginning January 1, 2021 sellers of homes built before 2010 will have to provide a statutory notice related to fire hazard and that the home was built prior to statewide building codes addressing fire hardening of a home. This statute has been codified within the disclosure statutes that created the transfer disclosure statement.

Continuing on with the fire theme, SB 190 requires the Office of the State Fire Marshal to develop a defensible space program and under the requisite government code, individuals who “owns, leases, controls, operates, or maintains a building or structure” in or upon land in an area generally considered a high fire danger to maintain a defensible space of 100 feet. This statute becomes effective January 1 2020.

Previously laws were adopted that required effective January 1, 2020 that all new home construction would require solar power. AB 178 allows for an exemption of the solar mandate until January 1, 2023 in areas where a state of emergency has been declared (ie. Camp Fire) which allows low income home owners to rebuild homes based upon the requirements at the time the home was originally constructed.

Fire insurance has been a significant problem in rural high fire zone areas. Many individuals had their insurance cancelled or significantly increased. AB 1816 increases the time required for an insurer who intends to not renew a homeowners policy. Under the new law, policies that expire on or after July 1, 2020 will have to be given 75 days advanced notice of nonrenewal.

In many rentals and common interest developments there are significant restrictions to alterations of property. Under SB 652 property owners and common interest developments may not restrict or prohibit a display of religious items on an entry door or entry door frame unless an exception applies.

In many areas in California, development is pushing into areas that had not previously been served by water and sewer services. As this happens, homeowners seek to connect to the water and sewer facilities and municipalities charge significant connection fees. Municipalities were previously allowed to charge fees based upon the proportional benefit received, however, under SB 646, which is effective as of January 1, 2020 the law requires that the connection fee now needs to include in its analysis the benefit to property as well as the reasonable burden on the utility connection.

This is just a small sample of all the changes to the law. There are many more. As always seek competent legal counsel for any legal questions or concerns you may have.


The attorneys of BPE Law Group, PC. have been advising our clients on real estate, business and estate planning issues for over 20 years and have assisted numerous clients in business and real estate matters and have represented and advised brokers on their professional obligations as well as consumers on their rights. If you have questions concerning legal matters, give us a call at (916) 966-2260 or e-mail Keith at Our flat fee consult for new clients may get you the answers you need for the questions you have.

The information presented in this Article is not to be taken as legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue of any kind, get competent legal advice in your State immediately so that you can determine your best options.