28 Dec December 2016 CALNARPM Legal Updates
CALNARPM Legal Updates are brought to you by Kimball, Tirey, & St. John LLP.
Fair Housing Law – Legislative Updates
AB 1709 – Approved by the Governor July 25, 2016 – This bill replaced the phrase “hearing impaired” with “hard of hearing” and applies to multiple statutes, including California Civil Code §54, which requires full and equal access to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or other compensation. This law comes at a time in which housing discrimination against persons who are deaf or hard of hearing is receiving increased attention.
AB 1732 – Approved by the Governor September 29, 2016 – This law applies to single user restrooms made available to the public (such as a restroom located in a leasing office). These restrooms can no longer be designated as “male” or “female”; rather, these restrooms must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities via appropriate signage. Appropriate signage must be displayed no later than March 1, 2017.
Employment Law – Legislative Updates
AB 908 – Approved by the Governor April 11, 2016 – Commencing January 1, 2018 California Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) and State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) wage-replacement benefits shall increase from the current level of 55% to 60% or 70% of a participant’s wages (based upon income level and subject to a statutory cap).
AB 1676 – Approved by the Governor September 30, 2016 – In January 2016, the California Fair Pay Act became law through which the legislature created new gender pay equity protections under California Labor Code Section 1197.5. AB 1776 expands upon this existing law to specify that an individual’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify a wage differential.
SB 1063 – Approved by the Governor September 30, 2016 – This bill also expands upon the California Fair Pay Act by extending the current protections to race and ethnicity. It will now be unlawful to pay employees less than employees of another race or ethnicity for “substantially similar work.”
AB 1843 – Approved by the Governor September 27, 2016 – This measure expands California Labor Code Section 432.7’s restrictions on inquiries on criminal history and will prohibit an employer asking an applicant to disclose any juvenile convictions. In addition, an employer may not:
Ask an applicant to disclose information related to an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law; or
Seek from any source or utilize as a factor in determining any condition of employment any record concerning or related to an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while a person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of a juvenile court of law.
AB 2337 – Approved by the Governor September 14, 2016 – This new measure will require employers to give written notice to new employees, and to current employees upon request, of the time off and accommodation rights under California Labor Code Section 230 and 230.1, which protects victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
No later than July 1, 2017, the Labor Commissioner is required to develop a model notice that employers may use.
SB 1001 – Approved by the Governor September 28, 2016 – This measure will make it an “unfair immigration-related practice” to do any of the following in the course of verifying authorization to work:
(1) request more or different documents than required under federal law to verify work authorization (i.e., the I-9 process);
(2) refuse to honor documents provided and/or tendered to the employer that on their face reasonably appear to be genuine;4
(3) refuse to honor documents or work authorization based on the specific status or term that accompanies the authorization to work; or
(4) attempt to reinvestigate or re-verify a current employee’s work authorization using an unfair immigration-related practice.
SB 1241 – Approved by the Governor September 25, 2016 – New California Labor Code Section 925 will prohibit employers from requiring an employee, who lives and works in California, agree, as a condition of employment, to agree to a provision that would:
(1) require the employee to litigate or arbitrate in a forum outside of California claims that arose in California;
(2) deprive the employee of the protection of California law with respect to a controversy arising in California. A contract that violates these restrictions is voidable at the employee’s request, and the matter would be adjudicated in California and pursuant to California law.
The law applies to contracts entered into, modified, and/or extended on or after January 1, 2017.
Section 8 – Source of Income
California Fair Housing Law prohibits a landlord from discrimination based on an applicant’s or resident’s source of income. Section 8 vouchers are not currently considered a source of income under state law. While Section 8 is a protected classification in a dozen other states, it is not currently protected in California. There is ongoing pressure from advocacy groups and through court cases to require landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers as a source of income.
Most recently, on November 8, 2016, the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Ordinance No. 3656, which redefined its source of income law to specifically include rental assistance, homeless assistance, and other housing subsidy programs. Last year, Santa Monica passed a similar ordinance (Ord. No. 2485 (CCS)) that redefined its source of income law to specifically include Section 8 and income from other rental assistance programs. Other cities with similar laws include Corte Madera, East Palo Alto, and San Francisco.
Assistance Animal Verifications
There is a rise in online services providing verification documentation for persons with emotional support animals. By filling out a form and paying a nominal fee, these companies will verify a tenant’s need for an accommodation animal.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has proposed regulations which may help to curb this potential for abuse. The proposed regulations, if passed, will clarify that a qualified health care provider, “must have specific knowledge of the patient’s medical condition based on an individualized examination and not operate primarily to provide certifications for assistive animals.” In addition to the above, the proposed regulations hope to clarify and formalize other standards of Fair Housing law, pursuant to existing state statutes and relevant case law.
Frequently Asked Legal Questions
Marijuana Law For California Residential Landlords
While the full impact this new law will have on landlords and residential properties remains to be seen, marijuana use in residential properties will increase, which will create challenges for landlords. In response, landlords may choose to prohibit marijuana smoking and cultivation. However, landlords who choose to prohibit marijuana smoking and cultivation should expect to continue to encounter issues with residents claiming they need to smoke or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, which raises issues relative to disability-related accommodations. Proposition 64 did not change California’s medical marijuana laws.
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: www.kts-law.com. For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the resource section of our website.
© 2016 Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP