As of July 1, 2019, California landlords and property managers with more than ten employees might have to comply with new warning requirements under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (“Prop 65”).
What is Prop 65
Since 1986, Proposition 65 has required businesses to give warnings to Californians about potential exposure to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Many CA businesses are required to post a clear and conspicuous sign on or near buildings to warn the public of the potential risks of exposure to chemicals. This law only applies to businesses with more than ten employees. Also, businesses are exempt “if the exposures they cause are so low as to create no significant risk of cancer or are significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” On August 30, 2018, Prop 65 created the “safe harbor warnings” requiring warning signs to be posted in enclosed parking facilities, designated smoking areas and non-exempt residential rental properties.
New Warning Requirements
Effective July 1, 2019, Prop 65 was amended to require non-exempted landlords or property managers to provide tenants specific warnings (1) in a letter delivered to the rental property and addressed to all tenants and occupants; (2) in an electronic message sent to each email address of known tenants and other occupants; or (3) in the rental agreement or lease. The warning is to be provided using the above-mentioned methods on a yearly basis.
In addition, the content of the warnings has been modified to include the following elements:
- A yellow triangle symbol required under Health and Safety Code Section 25603(a)(1).
- The word “WARNING” in capital letters and bold print.
- Text that substantively says: “[Name of one or more exposure source(s)] on this property can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals] which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer. Talk to your landlord or the building owner about how and when you could be exposed to these chemicals in your building. For additional information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/apartments.”
There are more than 900 chemicals covered by Prop 65. Of those, tenants are most commonly exposed to lead paint and asbestos in construction materials, pesticides applied to landscape or structures, automotive exhaust, and smoke from fireplaces and/or tobacco. Violations of Prop 65 could render fines up to $2,500 per day for each violation. Therefore, it is prudent for landlords and property managers to provide tenants with these warnings to avoid potential fines and lawsuits.
For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/apartments.