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Are HOAs Allowed to Issue Fines for Brown Lawns?

by Tiffany Wright11/07/2017 9:00 AM
Updated: 12/28/2017
Browning lawn

In July 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2100 prohibiting homeowners associations from imposing a fine or assessment against homeowners who reduce or eliminate watering of their lawns when a state of emergency, due to a drought, is declared.

However, in April 2017, Governor Brown declared that the drought was over and lifted the emergency order for the state, with the exception of a handful of counties where wells remained dry. The end of the emergency order permitted HOAs to enforce their regulations for maintenance of lawns, which may include fines for their members.

State law, however, prohibits HOAs from forcing residents to remove water-saving, drought-tolerant landscapes installed during the drought and from prohibiting future installations. In addition, even though the drought emergency has ended, associations may not ban artificial turf.

LVMWD’s water budget rate structure is meant to encourage customers to be more water-efficient so that we can meet our required 20% potable water use reduction by 2020. Switching to a water-saving, California-native landscape or artificial turf allows you to maintain your home’s curb appeal while saving water, staying within your water budget and avoiding penalties.

If you haven’t yet made the switch to a water-saving, California-native landscape or artificial turf, you can still keep grass and plants healthy by improving your irrigation efficiency. For example:

  • Install a drip irrigation system, weather-based irrigation controller and/or rotary nozzles. Rebates for rotary nozzles and weather-based irrigation controllers are available through SoCal WaterSmart.

  • Make sure sprinklers are properly positioned and not watering walls or sidewalks.

  • Water your yard when it’s cooler (e.g., between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m.) to minimize evaporation and allow water to reach plant roots.

  • Add FREE Rancho Las Virgenes Community Compost to your yard. Since compost retains moisture, less watering is needed.

Be kind to water and your wallet by continuing to use water wisely!


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  1. Updated: 12/28/2017
  2. Updated: 11/08/2017


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