CAI-CLAC Strongly Opposes Two State Bills that Threaten Financial Well-Being, Local Control of Millions of California Homeowners

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SB 2 Targets those at Risk of Foreclosure, AB 634 Strips Ability of Community Associations to Maintain Common Property

SB 2 robs Peter to pay Paul; it’s the wrong way and harms too many people.

The California Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) is urging residents living in more than 50,000 common interest developments throughout the state to contact their elected representatives and urge them to vote no on Senate Bill 2 and Assembly Bill 634 to protect their rights and, for some, their financial health.

SB 2: “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul”

Senate Bill 2 imposes a $75 fee to be paid at the time of recording of every real estate instrument, paper or notice with the exception of commercial or residential sales. This includes Deeds of Trust, Requests for Notice of Default, Notice of Trustee Sale, Quit Claim Deeds, just to name a few. The stated purpose for this bill is to fund affordable housing programs.

But SB 2 harms many of those it intends to help, imposing significant financial burdens on homeowners facing financial difficulties and unable to pay their association dues or assessments. They are the ones who will ultimately bear the cost of the fees associated with the bill, piling on even more debt and other devastating liabilities.

“We understand the need for more affordable housing solutions in such an expensive place to live; as an organization, we’ve supported a number of other legislative approaches,” explained John MacDowell, CAI-CLAC’s chair. “But SB 2 robs Peter to pay Paul; it’s the wrong way and harms too many people.”

AB 634: Stripping Homeowners, Associations of Local Control
Equally concerning to CAI-CLAC is Assembly Bill 634, which allows individual members to place solar panels on common area roofs without protections for associations and member residents against property damage, water leaks, and other maintenance and aesthetic concerns.

“Current law allows homeowners to modify common use property – including roofs – in common interest developments if two-thirds of the association residents vote in favor of the modification,” explained MacDowell. “This protects the interests of all dues-paying homeowners in any association.”

But AB 634 strips homeowners of these protections.

“We support opportunities for homeowners to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint through renewable energy solutions like solar energy,” continue MacDowell. “But this must be done in a way that protects other homeowners who may be negatively impacted by the installation of solar panels by their neighbors.”

Indeed, the bill limits associations’ ability to impose appropriate architectural restrictions for installation on common area roofs and lacks a clear and reliable procedure for determining whether a common area property is suitable for a solar energy system. It also lacks adequate insurance and indemnity requirements that protect residents and their associations from liability and damage.

But more than anything, it’s about homeowners’ right to protect their common property from damage through a membership vote.

“Simply, AB 634 amounts to an unreasonable taking by the state,” concluded MacDowell, “stripping associations and homeowners of local control and ability to maintain their properties.”

About CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee
Community Associations Institute, or CAI, is an international organization providing education and resources to community associations, their volunteer leaders, and the industries that serve them. CAI's California Legislative Action Committee, CLAC, advocates the interests of the over 50,000 community associations in California and educates legislators about homeowner association living and governance. CLAC's delegates, appointed by the eight CAI chapters in California, include homeowner volunteers, community association managers, and other industry professionals. Visit to learn more.

In addition to state and national legislative advocacy, CAI provides information, tools and resources to community association volunteer leaders, community managers and management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to community associations. For more information, visit or call (888) 224-4321.

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Mike Suydam
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