CA – Bill Signed to Bar HOA Fines for Lawn Changes


— Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills on Thursday that protect residents in homeowners associations across San Diego County and California who want to replace their water-guzzling lawns with drought-tolerant plants, or just cut back on turf watering during a drought.

With the signing of Assembly Bill 2104, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, HOAs will be prevented from penalizing residents for replacing their lawns with low-water plants over concerns about a neighborhood’s character.

It doesn’t take away the power of HOAs to establish landscaping rules, as long as they allow for drought-tolerant plants.

“Brown is beautiful, and around the state HOAs are penalizing good-intentioned homeowners who replace their lush, water-intensive lawns with attractive, well-designed landscaping centered around drought-resistant plants,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

“Allowing homeowners the freedom to use conservation-friendly landscaping is one important ingredient in reaching our goal of protecting our economy by saving water.”

Residential water use accounts for about 35 percent of all urban water use. Nearly one-quarter of all Californians live in a community governed by an HOA.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

Also on Thursday, Brown signed Senate Bill 992, which prevents HOAs from imposing fines on residents who reduce or stop watering landscaping after the governor has declared a statewide emergency due to drought, as Brown did in January.

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