BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 1525|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 1525
          Author:   Longville (D)
          Amended:  8/29/03 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE HOUSING & COMM. DEV. COMMITTEE :  5-3, 6/30/03
          AYES:  Ducheny, Alarcon, Cedillo, Dunn, Torlakson
          NOES:  Hollingsworth, Ackerman, Florez

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 8/19/03
          AYES:  Escutia, Cedillo, Ducheny, Kuehl, Sher
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Morrow, Ackerman

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  57-12, 5/27/03 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Common interest developments:  signs

           SOURCE  :     American Civil Liberties Union

           DIGEST  :    This bill forbids the governing documents of a  
          common interest development (CIDs) from prohibiting the  
          posting or displaying of non-commercial signs on or in a  
          homeowner's separate interest, as specified.

           Senate floor amendments  of 8/29/03 make conforming changes  
          to amendments taken in the Senate Judiciary Committee.   
          They delete a finding relating to the award of attorney  
          fees that was inadvertently left in the bill.

           ANALYSIS  :    A CID is a form of real estate where each  
          homeowner has an exclusive interest in a unit or lot and a  


                                                               AB 1525

          shared or undivided interest in common area property.   
          Condominiums, planned unit developments, stock  
          cooperatives, and community apartments all fall under the  
          umbrella of common interest developments.  There were an  
          estimated six million residents living in approximately  
          30,000 CID's in California.  In addition to the  
          requirements of the Davis-Stirling Act, each CID is  
          governed by a homeowners' association according to the  
          recorded declarations, bylaws, and operating rules of the  

          In general, homeowners' associations have wide discretion  
          to regulate the appearance of individual interests and the  
          conduct of its members.  However, over the years a number  
          of statutes have been enacted to prohibit various forms of  
          regulation.  Last year, legislation was enacted that bars a  
          homeowners' association from prohibiting or limiting an  
          owner's ability to display the American flag.

          This bill provides that the governing documents of a CID  
          may not prohibit the posting or display of noncommercial  
          signs, posters, banners or flags on or in an owner's  
          separate interest unless necessary to protect public health  
          or safety or because the posting violates local, state or  
          federal law.

          The bill specifies that displays may be made of paper,  
          cardboard, cloth, plastic or fabric, and posted or  
          displayed from the yard, window, balcony or outside wall of  
          the separate interest.  Displays but may not be made of  
          lights, roofing, siding, paving materials, flora, or  
          balloons, or any other similar building, landscaping, or  
          decorative component or include the painting of  
          architectural surfaces.  The bill also allows associations  
          to impose reasonable size restrictions prohibiting signs or  
          posters of more than nine square feet in size, and flags or  
          banners of more than 15 square feet in size.


           Purpose of the bill  .  According to the author, the goal of  
          this bill is to ensure that the free speech rights that are  
          enjoyed by homeowners outside of common interest  
          developments are equally protected for the homeowners  


                                                               AB 1525

          within a development.  With more and more homeowners living  
          within CIDs, it is essential that associations not abridge  
          a homeowner's right to free speech on or in his or her own  
          separate interest.

           Unreasonable restrictions  .  Under current state law, the  
          declarations of an association are enforceable as equitable  
          servitudes "unless unreasonable."  In   Nahrstedt v.  
          Lakeside Village Condominium Association, Inc  ., 8 Cal. 4th  
          361 (1994), the California Supreme Court opined that the  
          "unless unreasonable" standard means that "restrictions  
          should be enforced unless they are wholly arbitrary,  
          violate a public policy, or impose a burden on the use of  
          affected land that far outweighs any benefit."  The right  
          to free expression of noncommercial speech has long been  
          granted under constitutional law.  As a result, while no  
          statute explicitly says so, outright prohibitions by a  
          homeowners' association of noncommercial speech are most  
          likely already unenforceable.  This bill simply makes it  
          explicit and builds on the protections for the display of  
          American flags written into law last year.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/25/03)

          American Civil Liberties Union (source)
          Congress of California Seniors
          Gray Panthers California
          Older Women's League of California
          Numerous individual letters

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/25/03)

          California Federation of Republican Women
          Community Associations Institute, unless amended
          Executive Council of Homeowners, unless amended
          California Association of Community Managers

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    Proponents argue the bill  
          clarifies an important right and provides "commonsense  
          statutory protections for owners of private residential  
          property who wish to engage in a longstanding traditional  


                                                               AB 1525

          means of expression."

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Opponents argue the bill  
          unfairly infringes on the rights of private property owners  
          to contract with each other to use, or not use, their  
          property in a particular way.  
           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :
          AYES:  Bates, Berg, Bermudez, Canciamilla, Chan, Chavez,  
            Chu, Cogdill, Cohn, Corbett, Cox, Daucher, Diaz, Dutra,  
            Dymally, Firebaugh, Frommer, Goldberg, Hancock, Harman,  
            Jerome Horton, Jackson, Kehoe, Koretz, La Malfa, Laird,  
            Leno, Levine, Lieber, Liu, Longville, Lowenthal, Maddox,  
            Maldonado, McCarthy, Mountjoy, Mullin, Nakano, Nation,  
            Negrete McLeod, Nunez, Oropeza, Plescia, Reyes, Richman,  
            Ridley-Thomas, Runner, Salinas, Samuelian, Simitian,  
            Steinberg, Strickland, Vargas, Wiggins, Wolk, Yee, Wesson
          NOES:  Aghazarian, Benoit, Dutton, Garcia, Haynes, Shirley  
            Horton, Houston, Keene, La Suer, Nakanishi, Spitzer,  

          NC:sl  9/1/03   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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