2019: New Year, New Laws

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By Sharice B. Marootian,  Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

As we start 2019, we look forward to a more prosperous and successful year. There will be new goals, new projects, and some new laws that you should be aware of. The following is a brief recap of some changes in the laws as they apply to contractors or the business. The full bills can be found at the California Legislative Information website - http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Workers' Compensation - AB 2705 makes it a misdemeanor violation not to secure a payment of compensation to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of employment by any unlicensed person acting as a contractor, and would make that violation subject to the 2-year statute of limitations.

Contractors' Bond - AB 3126 revises the authorization to post a cash deposit in lieu of a required bond to prohibit, among other things, certificates of deposit. Instead, contractors are required to deposit the appropriate amount of lawful money or cashier's check with the CSLB. The bill would require all existing alternatives in lieu of a bond or the specified deposit with the registrar, currently filed with the Board, to be replaced for a surety bond or the specified deposit with the registrar by January 1, 2020.

Administrative Citations - SB 1042 authorizes the CSLB registrar to settle less egregious administrative citations prior to an administrative hearing using an information citation resolution process. This process is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act and the person cited would not surrender their right to request an administrative hearing. Within 15 days of service of the citation, the contractors can contest the citation by submitting a written request for an informal citation conference in addition to, or instead of, requesting an administrative hearing.

Judgments - SB 1465 requires contractors and insurers to report to the CSLB any final civil judgments, settlements, or arbitration awards involving damage claims of $1,000,000.00 or more for damages to a property or person caused by construction activities on any part of a multi-family rental residential structure, that meet specified criteria.

Water Treatment Devices - SB 981 removes the restriction on delivering or installing a water treatment device sold through a home solicitation contract during the consumer's "three-day right to rescind" from the date the contract is signed. Instead, this bill allows for the installation to take place during that three-day period. If the consumer withdraws the contract within that three-day period, the seller is responsible for the costs to remove the device and to return the property to its same condition prior to the contract.

Convicted Crimes - AB 2138 will prohibit an applicant from being denied a license solely because they have been convicted of specified crimes, as well as if the applicant was pardoned, shows rehabilitation or if the conviction was dismissed beginning July 1, 2020. It does authorize the CSLB to deny a license based on a conviction if it occurred within seven years from the date of application.

Landscaping Contractor Examination - AB 2371 has the CSLB conferring with specified entities to determine if any updates or revisions to the Landscaping Contractor Examination are needed to reflect new and emerging landscape irrigation efficiency practices.

Inspection and Repair - SB 721 establishes requirements for inspecting and repairing "exterior elevated elements," which includes decks and balconies, for buildings with three or more multi-family dwelling units. Additionally, it establishes reporting and repair requirements, including time frames, if it is found repairs are needed. It also specifies who can complete the inspections and repairs if specified experience requirements are met as well as civil penalties if building owners violate the requirements.

Again, this is just a brief overview of some of the laws that will affect the construction industry this year.

Sharice Marootian is an attorney and licensed real estate broker, practicing in the areas of construction and real estate law. Sharice assists contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers in various construction disciplines prevent and resolve construction related disputes. She also counsels and represents owners involved in private construction projects and real estate disputes. Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman provides this information as a service to its friends & clients and it does not establish an attorney-client relationship with the reader. This document is of a general nature and is not a substitute for legal advice. Since laws change frequently, contact an attorney before using this information. Sharice Marootian can be reached at Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman: (818) 760-2000 or by E-Mail at sbm@agrlaw.com, or at www.agrlaw.com