On September 4, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 349 into law which amended Civil Code Section 4735 relating to common interest developments under the Davis-Sterling Common Interest Development Act. This amendment, which became effective on September 4, 2015, and will continue to be the law until further amended, makes it unlawful for any common interest development (or homeowners association) to impose a penalty or prohibit the installation of low water-using plants in place of existing turf, or prohibit or penalize the installation of artificial turf or synthetic grass in place of existing landscaping. While synthetic grass and drought tolerant plans may not be as aesthetically pleasing to common interest developments, they serve the purpose of reducing water usage during our drought. Common interest developments and homeowners associations should be aware that any current provisions contained in the association’s governing documents, covenants, conditions and restrictions, or rules and regulations which are contrary to this law will be void and unenforceable. Additionally, any provision which prohibits or restricts compliance with section 65595 of the Government Code (compliance with the water efficient landscape ordinance) and section 353 and 375 of the Water Code (compliance with local water conservation programs) will be void and unenforceable. This Assembly Bill 349 is just one of many new laws being implemented by the State of California to aid in conservation efforts to reduce water usage, as mandated by the California Water Action Plan which went into effect on April 1, 2015 and requires a 25% statewide reduction in water usage.
Here is the link to the full text of the Assembly Bill 349. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB349