Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that could mean serious changes for many residential and multi-use developers in the Golden State. Senate Bill 7 instructs on how water metering should be handled in developments breaking ground after Jan. 1, 2018, expanding on existing water metering regulations. Under the new bill, some significant expenses may be required beyond original plans for developers.
SB 7's most notable expansion beyond current water conservation regulations is to require that multi-family and multi-use structures must install and monitor individual water meters for each separate unit in a structure. Of course, like most regulations, there are exceptions. Housing units at educational institutions, elderly care facilities, and low income housing will be exempt from the individual metering regulation.
The bill also includes some provisions intended to protect tenants' rights. Most notably, it sets forth requirements for how a landlord may monitor and bill tenants for water usage, and how they must make metering information and billing information available to tenants to promote transparency. The bill further requires that all water purveyors providing service to a multi-use or multi-family development to require water usage measurement per unit as a condition of water service.
Real estate development is complex and lucrative field with constantly changing obstacles to operating an ethical and profitable business. If you are considering entering into real estate development, or if you are already a developer, the guidance of an experienced real estate development attorney can help you ensure that you are abiding with the ever-shifting landscape of government regulation and landlord obligations, while keeping your rights protected.
Source: Mondaq, "New California Legislation Targets Multifamily Residential Buildings For Water Conservation," Paula C. P. de Sousa Mills, Nov. 18, 2016