New Laws 2023
1. New Laws for 2023
a. SB6, called Middle Class Housing Act establishes housing as allowable use on any parcel zoned office or retail. In some instances, ministerial approval is only required!
b. AB916 – Owners can add up to two bedrooms within existing home without requirement of public hearing.
c. AB 2221 and SB897 make it easier to build AOUs (granny Hats) including putting limitations on cities requirements Re front setbacks and minimum dwelling heights.
2. Lawsuit Filed to Stop New Ordinances in LA Regarding Evictions
LA apartment owners sued the city of LA to stop enforcement of a new city ordinance that requires owners to wait to start eviction until tenant is at least one month in arrears. Law also requires the owner to provide relocation fees if owner raises rent and tenant cannot afford new rental rate! The lawsuit claims that city laws cannot conflict with state laws which control. Law to take effect March 27.
Comment: What will these wacky anti-owner pro-tenant lawmakers think of next to make ownership of rental units a bigger headache than they are worth in LA? First the Mansion Tax the Covid moratorium, and now this!
3. Spanish Speaker Not Defrauded Since Contract in English
Absent fraud, Spanish speaker with limited English bound by terms in contract he signed written in English!
Caballero v. Premier Care Simi Valley LLC. Caballero signed a two (2) page arbitration agreement when his mom was admitted to a care facility. His Primary language is Spanish and he has very limited English. He sues facility. His attorneys tried unsuccessfully to avoid arbitration.
Appellate Court stated:
“Mutual assent established when contract signed by parties. Absent fraud, a party cannot avoid enforcement of contract because a party has limited proficiency in English and if he can’t read the contract he should have it read and explained to him!”
There was no evidence presented that he asked for Spanish version or assistance in understanding the English version of the contract. The case must be decided at Arbitration.
4. Contractor Has Burden of Proof To Establish Responsible Managing Employee Was Bona Fide
Dispute between owner and contractor over work and money. Contractors license was disputed. The contractor presented no evidence that RME was a permanent full time employee and lost. The court held contractor was required to prove RME worked 32 hours per week. Evidence presented that RME only showed up a few days on the job. Vascos Excavation Group LLC v Gold.
5. Covid Rental Protections Expire April 1, 2023
Starting April 1, 2023, landlords can now evict tenants in LA county and city for failure to pay rent for first time in years.
More than half billion dollars is owed by over 200,000 tenants for past due rent that landlords will more than likely never collect. Another redistribution of wealth ordered by the Libs in favor of renters and at the expense of landlords.
Tenants’ activist groups tried one more Hail Mary asking for Covid protections be extended to continue the free rent for their tenants but the board denied this request.
Comment: It now takes approximately 3 to 4 months from start to finish to achieve a lockout after filing an unlawful detainer. That coupled with the cost of attorneys fees and court costs make it more desirable sometimes to offer cash for keys to get these nonpaying tenants out!
Expect a backlog to get cases tried due to the expected increased demand in filings. Latest delay tactics are to demand jury trials by eviction defense firms funded by public dollars and nonprofits in order to keep tenants in units longer at the expense of landlords. What a great system we now have!!
About the Author
Scott Souders is a real estate attorney who has practiced real estate law in excess of 45 years in Southern California. The Real Estate Law Update cites cases or statutes which are summarized and should not be relied upon without fully reading the cases or statute in the advance sheets and shepardizing the same and consulting with your own attorney.