2015 Legislation – AB 349 – Mandatory Approval of Turf in HOAs

AB 349 requires HOAs to approve the use artificial grass or turf in all circumstances, even where reasonable low water-using alternative landscapes exist. ECHO opposed AB 349.

What AB 349 Says

This bill further limits an HOA’s authority to regulate landscaping within the community. In addition to the restrictions already in Civil Code Section 4735, AB 786 would require the following:

  1. Low Water-Using Landscaping - Looks Great!HOAs must permit artificial grass: HOAs must approve the “use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.”
  2. Changes cannot be reversed: owners “shall not be required to reverse or remove the water-efficient landscaping measures upon the conclusion of the state of emergency.”

This bill is now in effect.

Why We Opposed AB 349

ECHO strongly supports water-saving measures in California HOAs. We frequently advise associations to support owners who wish to reduce water consumption, including suspending fines that violate California law. However, we opposed AB 349 for two important reasons:

  1. Communities should choose their own drought-sensitive aesthetic. In an HOA that favors southwestern landscaping, the installation of turf would be an eyesore and unnecessary. We believe that every HOA should be able to choose their own low water-using landscaping options – including turf!
  2. Turf is not unambiguously good for the environment. Old turf becomes landfill waste, replaces CO2-reducing landscaping, and must be washed regularly to clean off dust, animal urine, and other contaminates.

Many HOAs should also be concerned about how turf will impact drainage, and how the permanence of new turf will impact property values in the community.