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SB-522 Common interest developments: solar energy.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/29/2017 09:00 PM
SB522:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 29, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 522


Introduced by Senator Glazer

February 16, 2017


An act to amend Section 2929.3 714 of the Civil Code, relating to mortgages and deeds of trust. solar energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 522, as amended, Glazer. Mortgages and deeds of trust. Common interest developments: solar energy.
Existing law prohibits any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property, and any provision of a governing document from effectively prohibiting or restricting the installation or use of a solar energy system. Existing law exempts from that prohibition provisions that impose reasonable restrictions on a solar energy system that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance. Existing law requires, whenever approval is required for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval to be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property. Existing law imposes specified requirements upon an approving entity that is the governing association of a common interest development.
This bill would require, if the approval of an architectural modification requires a vote of the membership of the association, that only the percentage of the votes submitted on the architectural modification be counted to determine this approval.

Existing law requires a legal owner to maintain vacant residential property purchased by that owner at a foreclosure sale or acquired by that owner through foreclosure under a mortgage or deed of trust and authorizes a governmental entity to impose a civil fine of up to $1,000 per day for a violation of this provision. Existing law prohibits a governmental entity from imposing fines on a legal owner under both this provision and a local ordinance.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The existing approval process within a common interest development for the approval of architectural modifications is a burden to entry for rooftop solar installation.
(b) This approval process requires a vote by mail election paid for by the person seeking to install the solar energy system.
(c) These elections can be very expensive, sometimes thousands of dollars and represent an immediate barrier. Furthermore, the vote by mail process is slanted against approval for the solar energy system.
(d) Vote by mail ballots that are not returned during these elections are counted as votes in opposition. Multiple instances have shown that the returned votes favor the installation of the solar energy system, but when the ballots that are not cast are counted as “no” votes, the outcome can be reversed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 714 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

714.
 (a) Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property, and any provision of a governing document, as defined in Section 4150 or 6552, that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.
(b) This section does not apply to provisions that impose reasonable restrictions on solar energy systems. However, it is the policy of the state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems and to remove obstacles thereto. Accordingly, reasonable restrictions on a solar energy system are those restrictions that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance, or that allow for an alternative system of comparable cost, efficiency, and energy conservation benefits.
(c) (1) A solar energy system shall meet applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities, consistent with Section 65850.5 of the Government Code.
(2) Solar energy systems used for heating water in single family residences and solar collectors used for heating water in commercial or swimming pool applications shall be certified by an accredited listing agency as defined in the Plumbing and Mechanical Codes.
(3) A solar energy system for producing electricity shall also meet all applicable safety and performance standards established by the California Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and accredited testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories and, where applicable, rules of the Public Utilities Commission regarding safety and reliability.
(d) For the purposes of this section:
(1) (A) For solar domestic water heating systems or solar swimming pool heating systems that comply with state and federal law, “significantly” means an amount exceeding 10 percent of the cost of the system, but in no case more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or decreasing the efficiency of the solar energy system by an amount exceeding 10 percent, as originally specified and proposed.
(B) For photovoltaic systems that comply with state and federal law, “significantly” means an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) over the system cost as originally specified and proposed, or a decrease in system efficiency of an amount exceeding 10 percent as originally specified and proposed.
(2) “Solar energy system” has the same meaning as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5.
(e) (1) Whenever approval is required for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed.
(2) For an approving entity that is an association, as defined in Section 4080 or 6528, and that is not a public entity, both all of the following shall apply:
(A) The approval or denial of an application shall be in writing.
(B) If an application is not denied in writing within 45 days from the date of receipt of the application, the application shall be deemed approved, unless that delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.
(C) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the approval of an architectural modification requires a vote of the membership of the association, then only the percentage of the votes submitted on the architectural modification shall be counted to determine this approval.
(f) Any entity, other than a public entity, that willfully violates this section shall be liable to the applicant or other party for actual damages occasioned thereby, and shall pay a civil penalty to the applicant or other party in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(g) In any action to enforce compliance with this section, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.
(h) (1) A public entity that fails to comply with this section may not receive funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program for solar energy. A public entity shall certify its compliance with the requirements of this section when applying for funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program.
(2) A local public entity may not exempt residents in its jurisdiction from the requirements of this section.

SECTION 1.Section 2929.3 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
2929.3.

(a)(1)A legal owner shall maintain vacant residential property purchased by that owner at a foreclosure sale or acquired by that owner through foreclosure under a mortgage or deed of trust. A governmental entity may impose a civil fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) per day for a violation. If the governmental entity chooses to impose a fine pursuant to this section, it shall give notice of the alleged violation, including a description of the conditions that gave rise to the allegation, and notice of the entity’s intent to assess a civil fine if action to correct the violation is not commenced within a period of not less than 14 days and completed within a period of not less than 30 days. The notice shall be mailed to the address provided in the deed or other instrument as specified in subdivision (a) of Section 27321.5 of the Government Code, or, if none, to the return address provided on the deed or other instrument.

(2)The governmental entity shall provide a period of not less than 30 days for the legal owner to remedy the violation prior to imposing a civil fine and shall allow for a hearing and opportunity to contest any fine imposed. In determining the amount of the fine, the governmental entity shall take into consideration any timely and good faith efforts by the legal owner to remedy the violation. The maximum civil fine authorized by this section is one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day that the owner fails to maintain the property, commencing on the day following the expiration of the period to remedy the violation established by the governmental entity.

(3)Subject to the provisions of this section, a governmental entity may establish different compliance periods for different conditions on the same property in the notice of alleged violation mailed to the legal owner.

(b)For purposes of this section, “failure to maintain” means failure to care for the exterior of the property, including, but not limited to, permitting excessive foliage growth that diminishes the value of surrounding properties, failing to take action to prevent trespassers or squatters from remaining on the property, or failing to take action to prevent mosquito larvae from growing in standing water or other conditions that create a public nuisance.

(c)Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), a governmental entity may provide less than 30 days’ notice to remedy a condition before imposing a civil fine if the entity determines that a specific condition of the property threatens public health or safety and provided that notice of that determination and time for compliance is given.

(d)Fines and penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be directed to local nuisance abatement programs, including, but not limited to, legal abatement proceedings.

(e)A governmental entity shall not impose fines on a legal owner under both this section and a local ordinance.

(f)These provisions shall not preempt any local ordinance.

(g)This section shall only apply to residential real property.

(h)The rights and remedies provided in this section are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.