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California Compliance Digest for Multifamily Properties

By Shari Fykes

If you’ve got multifamily assets in California, your regulatory compliance to-do list is getting longer. Depending on the cities or municipalities where your properties are located, you may have a host of checklists to complete, modifications to perform, and reports to submit. Below is a recap of three major initiatives affecting California multifamily property owners, along with resource links to help you keep your property safe, efficient and compliant.

California Balcony Law
California Senate Bill SB721 was signed into law in 2018 and took effect in January 2019. Essentially, the Statute requires the evaluation of balconies, stairways, and similar structures at multifamily buildings with three or more units no later than January 1, 2025. Building owners must engage an engineer, architect or other qualified provider to assess a portion of exterior elevated elements to identify immediate threats and recommended actions. Specific timelines for reporting, permitting and repair apply, and subsequent reviews are required every six years. Read up on SB721, or register here for a live webinar about the balcony law and its impact on apartment owners and lenders.

Mandatory Benchmarking & Energy Efficiency Programs
Since California Assembly Bill 802 passed in 2016, energy benchmarking has become familiar territory for owners of California multifamily properties over 50,000 square feet. However, cities throughout California are launching their own programs, such as the Los Angeles Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency Program, which drops the minimum building size to 20,000 square feet and incorporates water monitoring requirements as well. While the ordinances vary by city, the goal is the same: to encourage energy and water efficiency, and to promote transparency and informed decision-making regarding property performance and improvements. Read about the trend towards benchmarking, and how energy and water efficiency improvements reduce building owners’ overall utility costs and increase property values. 

Seismic Retrofit Ordinances
Originating in San Francisco, a movement towards mandatory seismic retrofit of commercial buildings is spreading across California. At least 15 cities, especially in the Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles, have enacted laws requiring seismic retrofit to meet standards that vary by municipality. Of course, if you own, manage or lend on assets in seismic hazard zones, you are exposed to liability, financial risk, and life-safety risk—whether or not there is a mandatory retrofit ordinance in place. Learn the difference between retrofit compliance and seismic resilience, and how to meet local ordinances while protecting your property and its tenants from earthquakes.


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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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