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California Passes Bill Regulating Water Submeters In Rental Housing

On September 26, 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill Number 7 into law. This law amends Civil Code section 1954 (entry by the landlord) and adds Civil Code sections 1954.201 et. seq. (submetering of water in rental housing). The new law becomes operative on January 1, 2018.

This stated intent of the new law is to encourage the conservation of water in multifamily residential rental buildings through means either within the landlord’s or the tenant’s control, and to establish that the practices involving the submetering of dwelling units for water service are just and reasonable, and include appropriate safeguards for both tenants and landlords.

The law contains extensive regulations and requirements regarding water submetering. Among other things, the new law requires a landlord to make numerous disclosures to tenants prior to the execution of the rental agreement, limits charges that may be assessed tenants including billing agent charges and late fees, limits when a tenant may be evicted for non-payment of water charges, and regulates when submeters must be read. The new law also imposes obligations on the tenant to report leaks and obligations on the landlord to repair leaks, and grants the landlord the right to enter the premises for the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing a submeter, or for the purpose of investigating or rectifying a condition causing constant or abnormally high water usage.

For further information, please contact Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP at (949) 748-3600; website:

The law firm of Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP represents landlords, property management companies, institutional and private lenders, employers and insurance companies throughout the State of California in real estate, business and employment litigation. The information provided herein is for general interest only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.

© 2016 Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP.

December 2, 2016 | Landlord-Tenant Law |