How Prop. 65 Applies To California Landlords

You might not even know what Prop. 65 is, but if you live in California, I guarantee you’ve seen the signs. They’re everywhere! Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, even Starbucks is required to post the warnings.

To me, the signs are nothing but a relentless reminder that I too will die someday, probably from cancer.

You are no doubt familiar with the wording, they say something along the lines of:

WARNING Certain foods and beverages sold or served here can expose you to chemicals including acrylamide in many fried or baked foods, and mercury in fish, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.Ca.Gov/restaurant

History of Prop. 65

In 1986, Prop. 65 was voted into existence by Californians. Prop. 65 was deceptively sold to the voters as the “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.” Let me ask you, who in their right mind would vote against safe drinking water?

Few Californians knew that they were voting for warning signs to be posted in every location imaginable. Not too many voters would guess that their vote would force “The Happiest Place on Earth” to post Prop. 65 warnings.

P_DisneylandProp65Warning (1)


Since being voted on, the proposition has gained power and grown like an unwanted weed in your grandmother’s garden. And now, it has somehow grown into the residential real estate market.

What Chemicals Does Prop. 65 Cover?

In 1987, The Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment, also known as OEHHA published a list of evil chemicals. At that time, there were only 85 chemicals that were vile enough to make that list.

Today, there are more than 900 chemicals that California considers to be evil.

Not only are there a ridiculous amount of chemicals on the list, but OEHHA requires a warning to be placed even if there is 1/1000 of the amount present that is deemed safe by the government.

For example; OEHHA says that if a human is exposed to 40 micrograms of formaldehyde per day, nothing will happen. They call this the “no significant risk level.” However, a Prop. 65 warning is required if there is a risk of even 0.04 micrograms per day of formaldehyde exposure.

Here’s the problem, According to the World Health Organization, the average outdoor urban air contains up to 0.05 micrograms of formaldehyde exposure per day. That is more than the acceptable level. That is why Prop. 65 signs are literally everywhere!

What is Formaldehyde?

I’m glad you asked. Formaldehyde is not just some random chemical that I picked off the list. It’s actually applicable to property managers and those who deal with residential real estate.

Formaldehyde is definitely in your rental property. It can be found in:

  • Carpet
  • Paint
  • Furniture
  • Toothpaste
  • Baby wipes
  • Air fresheners
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pillows
  • Paper

The list goes on…

And, if it’s not formaldehyde, it’s some other chemical somewhere out there that the State of California has decided is necessary to warn you about.

Consider Acrylamide, another evil chemical that California is deeply worried about. It is found in:

  • Bread
  • Potato Chips
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Cookies

You read that right. Even grandma’s cookies are not immune from Prop. 65!

Unfortunately, we all die a little more each and every day. That’s the reality of the situation. However, the State of California has taken a different approach. They believe that the only real solution is to WARN YOU THAT YOU WILL DIE!

Prop 65. Continues to Grow

During his tenure, Governor Jerry Brown continued to push for heavier regulations. Consequently, the State of California continued to expand Prop 65. OEHHA decided that new wording was necessary for the warning signs.

They made this decision by conducting a study at UC. Davis. The study claimed that, “This product can expose you to chemicals” was 77% more effective than, “This product contains chemicals.”

Because of that study, OEHHA is forcing all existing Prop. 65 signs to be changed to the new wording.

And, if businesses don’t change their signs, they can be fined up to $2500 per violation per day retroactive up to 1 year.

Implications for Real Estate

OEHHA has decided that the warnings don’t stop at restaurants and bars. They are still applicable to coffee shops, property management companies, and anything in between.

Fortunately, there is one relief for small business owners. These new warning sign regulations are only applicable to businesses that have 10 or more employees.

Unfortunately for us, Mesa Properties has more than 10 employees.

If your company has less than 10 employees, breathe a sigh of relief, and go do something else. These new regulations do not apply to you. If your company employs more than 10 people, then keep reading, this information is important.

The following is my own personal interpretation of the Prop. 65 laws. Keep in mind, I am not a lawyer, I did not go to law school. Therefore, the following is only my opinion, and not in any way or form guaranteed legal advice.

It is anticipated that this proposed legislation will become law this year, which will require all property management companies with more than 10 employees to include the following warning in their lease agreements, renewals, and whenever onboarding an existing tenant.

SafeGuardS Hazard warning sign344x344 EN 16 V1

Materials such as paint, carpet, furniture, gas appliances, and composite woods on this property can expose you to chemicals including formaldehyde, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer. And, carbon monoxide, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. 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

The State of California requires that the yellow triangle warning symbol seen above must be included with the warning. The State also requires that the word “warning” be bold and in all capital letters.

A specific chemical that causes cancer must be called out, as well as a specific chemical that causes birth defects. The warning must include the Prop. 65 website as well.

The above warning is called a “Safe Harbor” warning. If you post those exact words with the applicable chemicals to your property, you cannot be sued. If you want to get creative and post a warning that has more spunk, you are free to do so. However, you risk a lawsuit.

Parking Garages and Smoking Areas

As discussed above, property managers must add a Prop. 65 warning to the lease. In addition to this, the government has decided that there are two more locations that are worthy of a warning. Those places are parking garages and designated smoking areas

A Prop 65. warning must be posted in all covered parking garages. This is to warn tenants and visitors that a parking garage is full of the deadly chemical that is carbon monoxide. The following is a safe harbor warning for parking garages:

WARNING: Breathing the air in this parking garage can expose you to chemicals including carbon monoxide and gasoline or diesel engine exhaust, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.  Do not stay in this area longer than necessary.For more information go to

A similarly worded safe harbor warning must be placed in designated smoking areas. If the entire property is designated no smoking, then no additional signage is required to specifically warn people about the dangers of inhaling second hand smoke and chemicals such as nicotine.

What if I Don’t Comply?

Don’t worry, if you don’t feel like implementing these warnings, it will only cost you $2500 per violation per day. The fine can be imposed retroactively up to 1 year. Let’s do the math on that violation real quick.

Let’s say a property management company manages 500 homes. Let’s say they go a full year without sending out these warnings. According to Proposition 65, that property management company can be fined:

$2500 x 500 x 365 = $456,250,000

That’s a lot of money for excluding one lease addendum.

It should be noted that the OEHHA has never prosecuted a company to this extreme extent of hundreds of millions of dollars. However, landlords have lost fortunes for failing to post the proper warning signs.

Prosecutions Do Happen.

In 2003, The Consumer Defense Group of San Francisco sued a group of 24 apartment owners for not following the old Prop. 65 laws. The old laws, which are still in effect today, require signs to be posted in parking garages and smoking areas.

That group of owners is thought to have paid out more than a million dollars to The Consumer Defense Group.

Also, the law was written to encourage lawsuits! Whoever brings the suit against the offender is entitled to 25% of the settlement. The rest of the settlement goes to the State of California.

Let’s get this straight. The state of California makes a regulation. Then, they indirectly pay citizens to litigate each other to make sure that the regulation is enforced. That seems perfectly normal to me.

Not to mention, if you are a business owner and a Prop. 65 suit is brought against you, it is your responsibility to prove that you are not exposing people to dangerous chemicals.

The point is, if you employ more than 10 people, be sure you are sending out appropriate warnings at the appropriate time. Also, be sure that you have the proper signs posted in parking garages and designated smoking areas. If you have any questions about this law, and whether or not you are in compliance with it, we suggest you contact a lawyer. In this case, the consequences of making a minor mistake are too grave. You are better of getting costly legal advice up front if that means you get to avoid a huge settlement down the road.

Come Talk To Us

If you are a frustrated California landlord trying to operate without a property manager, feel free to give us a call. We would love to talk to you about how we can make your life easier by dealing with all of the California regulations for you.

If you are interested in other real estate laws that are coming into effect in 2019, please check out this article.

We are not lawyers nor a law firm, and we do not provide legal advice. None of our employees or representatives are lawyers, and they also do not provide legal advice. The accuracy of this content is in no way warranted or guaranteed. Our website and services are not substitutes for actual lawyers. We recommend that you consult a lawyer for all legal advice.

Sawyer Shwetz

Property Manager

Sawyer is a Property Manager at Mesa Properties Inc. He focuses primarily on property management and improving “behind the scenes” processes. Sawyer obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona.

During his college years, Sawyer worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he designed and implemented new destructive tests for flight hardware prototypes. He also conducted heat treatment operations for projects including the Mars 2020 Rover, Mars Insight, and the ISS.

Sawyer has been involved in the property management business since High School. He enjoys business more than engineering, which is why he has decided to pursue a career in property management.

DRE: 02091893

Moenique Hall

Assistant Property Manager

Moenique is an Army Veteran and brat, born in Baltimore; raised mostly in Texas. In the Army, her job was in aircraft and vehicle logistics. She obtained an Associates Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA in 2019. She is currently attending Park University in pursuit of her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration/ Human Resources.

She is married with no children. Her husband is currently serving active duty Army so she enjoys seeing new places and making new memories with him. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and trying new foods, growing in her faith, bike riding, hiking, small decor projects and binge watching movies and TV shows.

She enjoys working with Mesa as an administrative assistant and is looking forward to endless possibilities and growth within her career.

Iliana Urena

Director of Leasing and Applications

Iliana manages the application process at Mesa and is responsible for screening tenants as well as helping out with other admin related jobs around the office. Prior to joining Mesa, Iliana held several customer service job with her most recent being the dispatcher for a transportation company in Mira Loma, CA.

Iliana currently resides in Phelan, where she lives with her husband and three children. Iliana enjoys working for a company where there are opportunities for growth, while gaining experience and knowledge.

Tina Salazar

Real Estate Agent

Tina Salazar joined our real estate team in July of 2019. Prior to becoming a Realtor, she had a background in the medical field. After many long hours and becoming a mother, she decided to pursue real estate. Her family and friends have always been involved in new construction and real estate, which helped spark her interest in the field. She also works along side her brother, Michael.

As a Realtor, Tina’s services consist of helping buyers and sellers obtain property that best suits them. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her 3 boys and husband. They enjoy their time in Boy Scouts and soccer.


Irish Dee

Maintenance Coordinator

Irish is the maintenance coordinator at Mesa. She has an Associates Degree in Arts for Dental Medicine and has experience with customer service and problem solving from her time with AT&T and Microsoft. She then worked in human resources which helped improve her people skills and ability to create processes and procedures, which is part of what makes her a great Maintenance Coordinator here at Mesa.

Irish loves working at Mesa because of the culture in the office and her ability to help our tenants with their maintenance issues. In her free time, she loves spending time with her daughter, reading books and keeping up with politics.

Charlene Gumabay

Leasing and Applications Assistant

Charlene is the Leasing and Applications Assistant at Mesa who is trained to handle phone calls and mostly work side by side with the Director of Leasing and Applications as the primary contact for rental applicants. She has a great deal of experience in customer service from working with Macys and Bloomingdales for several years which helped her become more effective in her role as she is known to be very efficient and shows willingness to help every time.

Richan Nuynay

Administrative Assistant

Richan is a one the administrative assistants at Mesa. She has developed impeccable phone manners and an ability to provide good customer service with her more than a decade of experience from her previous roles with Dell and AOL. Assisting our owners and tenants is her passion. She loves making do-it-yourself stuff, cooking and spending quality time with her family when she is not working.

Rustin Harris

Assistant Property Manager

Meghan Williams


Meghan is one of the newest members of our Mesa Team and works in our accounting department. She studied accounting at Chaffey College. Prior to joining Mesa, Meghan was a bookkeeper for 6 years at a CPA firm that primarily worked with dairy farms. She enjoys working for Mesa because she is able to use her accounting experience in whole new ways and also enjoys the friendly office environment that has been established here. Meghan resides in Rancho Cucamonga with her husband and two sons.

Rebecca Anthony

Administrative Assistant

Rebecca is one of our administrative assistants and is one of the warm and friendly voices you will hear when you call our office. She has a strong customer experience background from her past role with Sprint and loves assisting our owners and tenants. When she isn’t working, Rebecca loves to bake and spend time with her son and family.

Steve Shwetz

Managing Broker

Steve, the Managing Broker and Founder of Mesa Properties Inc. & Mesa Real Estate, began his real estate career buying, fixing and reselling distressed properties in Southern California. Seeing the long-term opportunity in a buy and hold strategy, Steve began acquiring residential real estate to build his own real estate rental portfolio. As a 10 year owner of an international service franchise, Steve saw an opportunity to take his experience in customer service and developing systems and processes and apply that experience to the world of property management and real estate. Prior to starting his own businesses Steve held various senior and advisory level sales positions with IBM Corp., B. Braun Medical, Insight Direct & Reach Local. Steve is a licensed real estate broker and holds a Bachelors in Business from the University of Southern California.

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Sheryl Shwetz

General Manager, Administration

Sheryl helped to establish Mesa Properties Inc. with Steve. Today, she serves as the backbone of all things administrative for the company. Sheryl oversees all the details of running a property management company including on-boarding new owners, converting applicants to tenants, and paying all vendors. After earning her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, Sheryl worked for a software development company running the support and training department and writing user documentation. Sheryl also gained experience at an advertising agency servicing non-profit organizations where she drafted vendor instructions for merging customer data with various fundraising campaigns. Sheryl has 3 sons and home-schooled them through various stages of their K-8 education. Each one is now thriving in adulthood.

Sam Shwetz

Inland Empire Branch Manager

Sam is the Inland Empire Branch Manager at Mesa focusing on engaging both new and existing owners of residential and commercial properties. Sam is a U.S. Navy veteran having served in the Nuclear Field on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

After his military service, Sam worked for a lighting control company as a field service engineer on various projects including extensive work on Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino California. Sam has his Bachelors of Science degree in business with an emphasis in finance.

Sam and his wife Sydney are homeowners in Ontario, CA where they live with their golden retriever.

DRE: 02069937

Verenice Guardado Alvarado

Property Manager

Verenice is one of our property managers on the Mesa Properties Team. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College and used her skills working in customer service. Previously, Verenice worked 4 years with Target where she trained sales associates and developed strong communication and teamwork skills. Through her position at Mesa Properties, Verenice strives to find the right tenant for each owner and the right home for each tenant.

DRE: 02036438

Mark Parmenter

Property Manager

Prior to joining Mesa Properties Inc., Mark worked in the construction industry as a member of the carpenters union. He holds an Associates degree in Business, he is a licensed agent, certified in property management and enjoys the unique challenges of property management. Mark is a homeowner himself and experienced with on site multi-unit management. He understands the delicate balance of working with tenants as a landlord, owner and neighbor.

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Joshua Long

High Desert Branch Manager

Joshua is the High Desert Branch Manager for the Mesa team. With a background in sales and finance, Joshua gained the strong communication skills necessary to be an effective problem solver when handling any situation he is faced with.

He currently manages and facilitates office relations including hiring new office personnel. Joshua also assists with the business development side of the company, as he effectively works to enroll new and existing homeowners for management of their investment properties.

Joshua graduated in 2019 from CSUSB with his Bachelors of the Arts degree in Administration with a concentration in Management. He graduated with the distinctions of honors and cum laude. Joshua and his wife, Claudia, are currently homeowners in Victorville where they reside with their son and two dogs.

DRE: 01998522

Carmen Franco

Property Manager

Carmen has been part of the Mesa team since 2017. She graduated from University Preparatory High School in 2011. She has earned her certificate in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her children and volunteering for animal rescues. Getting to know the team at Mesa, Carmen has been inspired to pursue a career in property management. She is a very driven individual who is motivated to learn more each and everyday. Carmen enjoys communicating with tenants and owners to ensure the best customer service. She also prides herself in bringing a positive and caring attitude to everyone and everything she does. Carmen currently resides in Apple Valley with her husband and 2 children.

Amairani Guardado

Transaction Coordinator

Amairani Palacios is the Transaction Coordinator for our real estate team at Mesa! She is highly driven, motivated and bilingual. Her main role is to work with our real estate agents to ensure the administration side of a real estate transaction runs smoothly during the escrow process. She enjoys what she does and is constantly looking to learn and improve her skills as a transaction coordinator.

Amairani is currently going to school to obtain an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. When she is not working or attending school, she enjoys spending time with her three daughters and her family. She enjoys coaching youth soccer and being outdoors.

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Michael Melendez

Real Estate Manager

Mike has been practicing real estate in Southern California since 2006. His family and friends have always been involved in home loans, new construction, and rehabilitation projects, deepening his knowledge of all aspects of the industry. As a Realtor, Mike’s service’s consist of helping buyers and sellers obtain property that best suits their interests. Finding his clients great deals, maximizing their proceeds and finding them the right home is what he does best. Mike understands that real estate is one of the biggest purchases and sales that can be made, and choosing the right agent is an important decision. He has both the experience and technology to help his clients meet their goals.

DRE: 01781635

Sonya Dod

Real Estate Agent

Sonya Dod has been a licensed real estate agent since 1989, Sonya is an agent who facilitates successful transactions for buyers as well as sellers, boasting a solid reputation for making deals with honesty and integrity. Since Sonya was raised on a Texas farm, she isn’t afraid of hard work and long hours. After her parents moved to California 40 years ago, they started buying investment properties. So she grew familiar and comfortable with the process of finding, fixing up and selling properties at an early age. Having served as an underwriter, processor and loan officer, Sonya has the knowledge and experience necessary to help sellers and buyers avoid wasting time opening meaningless transactions. What’s more, sellers are protected by her expertise as she requires buyers to provide written permission to speak directly to lenders. This unique approach fosters quickly closed deals and eliminates false representation.

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