Some New 2014 Laws for California

It's that time of year again, and there are new laws taking effect that will affect a lot of us.  Here are a some of the new California laws that are wise to know about and which are taking effect January 1, 2014:

1.  Public dog parks are not liable for injuries caused by dogs. Assembly Bill 265

2.  Adjoining owners are equally responsible for shared fences and boundaries. "Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties, and unless otherwise agreed in writing, are presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence." Read more about the longer particulars on this new law:  Assembly Bill 1404

3.  A seller's Transfer Disclosure Statement to now include awareness of construction defect claims.  This will affect owners in some areas more than others. The "TDS" is a standard form provided in residential property transactions by REALTORS in California, and contains legally required disclosures.    SB 800; Senate Bill 652

4. The Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act is to reduce illegal dumping of mattresses to reduce blight and increase recycling.  A recycling program must be set up to handle them. Senate Bill 254

5.  New smoke detector specifications:  "Starting July 1, 2014, the State Fire Marshall will not approve a battery-operated smoke alarm unless it contains a non-replaceable, non-removable battery capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years." See the new requirements at  Senate Bill 745

6.  Brokers can be suspended or lose their real estate licenses for knowingly tampering with real estate documents in connection with their licensed activities.  This includes directors, employees,  and officers of a corporation.  Senate Bill 676

7.  Brokers who charge a fee for providing rental listings must be appropriately licensed for that pre-paid rental listing service.  Read here for more information, Senate Bill 269

These are just a few of the upcoming laws taking effect in 2014, of which there are approximately 100 new laws in many categories.  Laws that affect real estate transactions are reflected in updated REALTOR forms so that buyers and sellers can be assured that all pertinent disclosures, advisories, and information is provided during the transaction.

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