California Senate approves drought relief for homeowners

California Senate approves drought relief for homeowners
The state Senate took action Monday to protect some homeowners from fines from homeowner associations if they comply with conservation measures and reduce the watering of their lawns. Above, a landscaper mows a lawn in El Dorado Hills, Calif. (Randall Benton / MCT)

SACRAMENTO -- The state Senate took action to protect condominium and mobile home owners from fines from their homeowners associations for not maintaining yards at times when they face government water conservation orders because of a drought.

State Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said his urgency measure is needed because some residents of common-interest developments face conflicting mandates when the governor has declared a drought.

"It gives some comfort to the homeowners in homeowners associations right now who might be subjected to this double penalty," Nielsen told his colleagues.

The Senate voted 36 to 0 to approve SB 992 and send it to the state Assembly.

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency and called on Californians to reduce their water use by 20%. He said he would consider mandatory cutbacks if the dry conditions persist.

Some cities are also considering mandated conservation, with financial penalties for those who do not comply.