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Condominium owners continue to fight Shell over contaminated soil, water

A condominium complex built on the site of a former fuel distribution terminal has lost part of its case against Shell Oil. An appellate court found Shell not guilty of negligence but the question of Shell’s failure to remove all

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How to Get the Most Value From Your HOA

The goal of living in an area with community association management in place is to maintain high property values and make sure that your community is an enjoyable place to live. Don’t take your homeowners association for granted. Your HOA

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Mediation, Mitigation or Meditation, Which Works Best For An HOA Dispute?

The 3 “M”s. Each has value in and of itself in finding solutions. I published an E-newsletter a few months ago (archived at californiacondoguru.com) on mitigation that was fun. The concept in my mind was triggered by an art teacher

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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs (CA)

Below is an article written by a client of mine. It is his perspective on a difficult and arduous process on trying to get an EVCS plugin in his condominium. The article is very informative. Since he felt he had

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Why Enforcing the Rules Must Be a Priority of the HOA Board

One of the most important jobs a homeowners association Board has to do is to enforce the rules of the Association. As a Board member it is part of your duty to make sure all the regulations are followed by

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Establishing Consistency in HOA Maintenance

A way to be vastly more successful in managing a community association is consistency. Part of consistency is to communicate important details to the homeowners repeatedly. Unfortunately, many boards and management professionals believe that the average homeowner is not listening

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AB 1139 Imposes New Notice Requirements on Deed-Based Transfer Fees (CA)

On July 31, 2017, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1139 (“AB 1139”) into law. AB 1139 amends California Civil Code Section 1098.5 with regard to deed-based transfer fees (“Private Transfer Fees” or “Fees”). Prior to AB 1139 becoming law, any

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What an HOA Board Should Do Now at the Start of the New Fiscal Year

If your homeowners association operates on the fiscal year, then you’re already a month into the new year – Happy New Fiscal Year! Have your fellow HOA board members asked this question: how did we do last year? If not,

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How to Find New HOA Board Members

Many homeowners association boards ask us how they can get more people involved in their community’s HOA management. The inherent issue is that an HOA board is pulling from a group of people who already lead busy lives. Serving on

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AB 690 Signed! New Management Disclosures and Changes to the Escrow Document Disclosure Form (CA)

The Governor has signed AB 690 into law, which modifies several Code sections and adds two new Civil Code sections to the Davis Stirling Common Interest Development Act. Here is what you need to know about the new requirements:  New

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HOA Homefront: Don’t make them guess – Is your HOA architectural application process complete?

A fundamental HOA purpose is to preserve the association’s architectural theme, typically protected by rules administered by an architectural committee or the board. If a homeowner wants to change the entry door color, the style of windows or install a

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What Can an HOA Board Do About Barking Dog Complaints?

So you moved into a beautiful new luxury homeowners association. Your home is on a quiet street in an established neighborhood. Every evening you sit on your newly purchased adirondack chairs in your shady backyard, sipping on a bottle of

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(CA) Senate Bill 721: Deck Inspections and Reserve Study Inspections

In California in the first half of 2017, Senate Bill 721 has been proposed, a bill which requires all exposed decks/walkways more than 6 ft above ground, in structures containing three or more multi-family units, to be inspected before 1/1/2023

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Board Members: Who are these guys and what do they do?

When I think of a Board of Directors, the first thing that comes to mind is a dark lit room, with men in suits, sipping scotch and joking about their last golf outing. Funny thing, times have changed. If you

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Contact Information

QUESTION: I understand there is a new notice requirement we have to give the membership involving contact information. Our year-end disclosures get longer every year. What is the purpose of this new requirement? Do we include it in our year-end

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California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute: A Potent, Yet Confounding, Weapon

Lawsuits designed to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional right of free speech or the right to petition, denominated as “strategic lawsuits against public participation” (or “SLAPP” suits), have taken on increasing significance over the last several decades. The

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7 Risks of Being a Self-Managed Homeowners Association

Many HOA boards think they have it all together and can easily manage the homeowners association on their own. But can they really? While there are various factors involved when it comes to whether or not a homeowners association can

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AB 534 Signed: Associations to Provide Notice to Members of Lien Claims (CA)

Vendor professionals frequently provide a variety of services on behalf of community associations and individual homeowners. Under California’s Constitution, unpaid vendors possess a legal right to lien the property upon which they work for the value of their rendered services

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Are You Properly Maintaining Your Homeowners Association?

How is your homeowners association holding up? Do you have buildings in need of repair? Has the HOA board set aside funds for inevitable future repairs? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then it’s time to find

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Court Concludes Rental Restrictions are Reasonable (CA)

Recently, many residential common interest developments have experienced an influx in the number of short-term rentals within their community. This problem is exacerbated by the increased popularity of websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Although profitable, short-term rentals have a

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The Future of Fair Housing in Community Associations (CA)

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) Fair Employment and Housing Council (Council) has been engaged in a historic rulemaking process to draft and promulgate Housing Regulations for the first time. To date, the Council has been working

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Killer Weed in the Common Area? (CA)

Community Associations increasingly face issues with medical marijuana. It is a confusing area because federal and state laws conflict and social mores are in constant flux—especially when it comes to marijuana. Long gone are the days when the high school

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What to Do When an HOA Board Member is Breaking the Rules

The ultimate goal in a homeowners association is for everyone to be respectful and live together peacefully. However, it’s hard to accomplish both of these goals when you have members breaking the rules – especially if it’s a board member.

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Tips to Prepare Your Association for Summer

Summertime is fast approaching, and so are all the joys of having fun under the Southern California sun. Thanks to the warm weather and clear skies, summer is the perfect season to make major headway on HOA management projects. Make

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Business Judgment Rule Doesn’t Apply When the Board Acts Outside its Authority

Is an HOA Board of Directors (“Board”) entitled to protection under the Business Judgment Rule (“BJR”) when it applies an unambiguous view restriction contained in the governing documents in a manner other than written?    Read the article…………….

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What Not to Do When You Receive Communications from Your HOA Board

In our busy world of the internet, mobile phones, television, email, social media, and daily conversation, we’re on 24-7 information overload. We’re communicating non-stop all day, and when we finally reach the comfort of our home we just want to

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HOA Homefront – The rules on rules (CA)

It is important to create good association operating rules and to make sure the rule topics required by statute are also covered, but all that is wasted if the association fails to follow the required rule amendment process.  Because rules

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HOA Fee Award Reversed Because HOA Elections Win Did Not Qualify For Award Under Frivolous Fee-Shifting Standard

Thompson v. Lakewood Hills Homeowners’ Assn., Case Nos. A144674/A146081 (1st Dist., Div. 5 May 19, 2017) (unpublished) highlights how the basis for fee entitlement can drive the result in a case. In a word, HOA was awarded fees/costs by the

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Phantom Smell Syndrome

QUESTION: I am on the board of a retirement community. We have a resident complaining of cigarette smoke. We investigated and could not smell any smoke, nor is there anyone around her who smokes. She is threatening to go to

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The Role of the Property Manager in Your Community

Your community manager plays an important role in the effective running of your homeowner’s association. A strong working relationship between board, homeowners and property manager makes it easier for you to get the most out of your HOA. Conversely, a

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HOA Maintenance 101 Who Fixes What In An HOA?

A couple of readers asked some questions about the “new” maintenance law for HOAs in California. Yes, it is in full force, and yes, I have written on it many times since it was passed about two years ago. And

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4 Things to Expect From Your Property Manager

Much of a property management company’s success with your HOA is influenced by the relationship between the manager and your board of directors. We often hear from prospective clients who want to know if the service they are receiving from

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HOA Homefront: Recipe for reasonable rules

One important board responsibility is to adopt and enforce community rules. Developers, when creating common interest communities, provide CC&Rs and bylaws (usually boilerplate), but typically do not create rules. So, it is up to the volunteer boards to create necessary

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Make Your HOA Amendments and Restated Documents Legal!

What Does It Take To Make Amendments And Restated Documents Legal?  I just did a post that discussed “Adding and Enforcing Restrictions on HOA Properties” which went into detail about what HOAs can do about amending and restating documents, and

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Does Your HOA Board Have a Policy for Home Security Systems?

We know you want to feel safe at home and you should. Maybe you have tried trimming foliage, increasing exterior lighting and are considering installing a home security system to feel more secure. Before you invest in a high-tech home

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HOA and CONDO Rules – How To Use Rules To Create Harmony

Rules and rules enforcement is a mystery to many HOAs. Many problems arise, and neither the Board nor owners know what to do when the disturbances continue, illegal parking, noise, junk in the yard, disregard for the neighbors, tenant problems,

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The Risks of Delegating Infrastructure Maintenance to Community Associations

Common-interest community associations, including home owner associations (HOAs), condominium associations, and housing cooperatives, play a critical role in the maintenance of local infrastructure. Over the past few decades, a growing number of cities and counties have delegated the responsibility for

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How to Evaluate and Update Your Rules & Regulations

Your community’s governing documents provide a framework for your HOA’s structure, operations, and standards. We have covered the distinctions between the different types of governing document in a previous post, but here is a quick summary:    Read the article………….

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How an HOA Board Can Still Govern When the Board President Passes Away

Finding members in your homeowners association who want to volunteer on the HOA board can be hard – finding a member to step up and become the board president is even harder. So, what do you do when the current

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Guidelines for HOA Rules in Your Community

Homeowners associations have a number of rules and regulations that members are asked to observe so that everyone in the association can maintain their property values and quality of life. The association should always try to be reasonable with its

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Mastering California’s Anti-SLAPP Law

Since California’s anti-SLAPP statute is the oldest, it’s also one of the most widely used, showing up in everything from unlawful detainer actions to homeowner association disputes, with a wide range of caselaw creating an intricate web of governing authority.

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HOA Homefront: When laws collide: Child safety or discrimination?

Common interest development associations (aka “HOAs”) are governed by both state and federal Fair Housing laws. Fair Housing laws prohibit “familial status” discrimination, which means singling out children for any disparate treatment. (This prohibition exempts senior communities, which are exempted

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Governor Brown Declares the End of the Drought

On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown signed Executive Order B-40-17, ending the drought state of emergency in most of California. Drought restrictions will remain in effect in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolomne counties, which continue to face drinking water shortages

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A Step-by-Step Approach to Amending and Restating Governing Documents (CA)

It seems as though the laws change as frequently as the tides. Some years see more legal changes than others – changes that greatly affect the way boards manage the association’s affairs. The laws governing community associations have experienced so

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When Can Employer be Liable for Employee Drinking and Driving?

In some cases, employers in California may be liable when their employees are intoxicated and cause accidents. Plaintiffs may be able to sue the employers under a legal doctrine called vicarious liability. Employers may also be liable if they negligently

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End of the Drought: Law Changes Your HOA Board Needs to Know About (CA)

The California drought has officially been acknowledged as coming to an end. While this is great news for the residents of California, it’s not back to the normal day-to-day management of homeowners association just yet.  Desperate times called for desperate

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HOA Harassment Law (CA)

Last year, federal regulations were changed to address harassment and discrimination claims. The changes affect community associations. Even though associations are not housing providers, they are deemed so for the purposes of this statute.  New Law. Effective October 14, 2016,

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How to keep HOA meetings from running long

As someone who regularly attends HOA board meetings, I can attest that most of them run far too long. Later in longer meetings, concentration and the quality of the deliberations deteriorate. Could any of the following solutions help your board

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California Makes Artificial Grass Permanent

This month, Governor Brown signed AB 349, a drought bill aimed at California HOAs that restrict the installation of artificial turf. Significant protections already exist for owners who wish to install “low water-using landscaping,” but AB 349 goes a step

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What’s the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination. HOAs are “housing providers” under the Act – they may not discriminate against certain classes of people. Associations who do discriminate risk lawsuits and large fines.  Few associations discriminate on purpose, but

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