AB 349 would protect homeowners from HOA fines for reducing water use by replacing lawns with synthetic turf
SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, May 13, 2015) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)’s Assembly Bill 349, giving homeowners governed by homeowner associations (HOAs) the option to modify their landscape using synthetic turf to lower their water usage, was approved by the Assembly Housing Committee on a 7-0 vote. The bill will now be considered by the full Assembly.
With water and snowpack levels dangerously low throughout the state, California for the first time in its history has instituted mandatory water restrictions with significant possible fines, requiring consumers to find way to reduce their home water use. AB 349 will expand existing protections from HOAs after AB 2104, also authored by Gonzalez, was signed into law last year. The 2014 bill eliminated loopholes HOAs used to prevent homeowners from utilizing low water-using plants when replacing existing lawns, leaving homeowners interested in lowering their water usage unable to explore additional options for conserving water at a time our state faces severe drought conditions.
AB 349 will build upon those protections by protecting homeowners who replace their lush lawns with synthetic turf in their yards.
“There is nothing fake about this water crisis or the steps California must take to cut unnecessary water use,” Gonzalez said. “Water conservation is no longer just the responsible thing to do, but a legal requirement. We need to make sure homeowners are able to replace their lawns if that’s how they choose to comply.”
According to the San Diego County Water Authority, landscape irrigation can account for more than one-half of the average household’s water use. Because residential water use as whole makes up 35 percent of total water use in California, and because more than one-quarter of the state’s entire housing stock are located in common-interest developments (which are typically governed by HOAs), Gonzalez said AB 349 is a key piece to achieving the state’s conservation goals.
For more information on AB 349 or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.