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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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6 Elements of a Successful Monthly Meeting

When I joined the Roundtree Homeowners Association, I did so for the usual reason of wanting a say in maintaining and improving the complex. But when I became president a year later, I had another goal in mind: to make

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3 Common Questions About an HOA Board of Directors

The Board of Directions of an Association is responsible for protecting, maintaining and enhancing the community. Knowing who the members of the Board are and having a basic understanding of what they do is a good way for all members

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Access to HOA Membership List Must be for a Proper Purpose (CA)

As part of the ongoing management of a homeowners association (“HOA”), the HOA is obligated to prepare and maintain certain “association records,” most of which must be made available for inspection by the HOA’s members. However, the right to inspect

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Ninth Circuit: Excess Insurers Must Tread Carefully When Rejecting Demands Exceeding Primary Limits

Under California law, a liability insurer has a good faith duty to reasonably settle claims within its policy limits. In Diamond Heights Homeowners Association v. National American Insurance Co., the California Court of Appeal held that where a proposed settlement

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What is a Quorum and Why is it Important to an HOA Board?

A quorum is the minimum number of HOA board and members who must be at a meeting before business can be transacted. Homeowners can usually find quorum requirements within their Bylaws. You might be surprised but reaching a quorum to

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Pre-Lien Demands and FDCPA Concerns (CA)

Recovering delinquent assessment debt is one of the more complicated issues that homeowners associations (“HOAs”) face. Fortunately, the Civil Code grants HOAs with significant remedies to recover delinquent assessment debt, including the ability to record assessment liens and to ultimately

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Ninth Circuit: Excess Insurers Must Tread Carefully When Rejecting Demands Exceeding Primary Limits (CA)

Under California law, a liability insurer has a good faith duty to reasonably settle claims within its policy limits. In Diamond Heights Homeowners Association v. National American Insurance Co., the California Court of Appeal held that where a proposed settlement

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The Role of the Covenants Enforcement Officers in a Homeowners Association

The staff or volunteers you see occasionally walking around the community with clipboards or tablets are the homeowners association’s covenants enforcement officers. They’re inspecting the property to ensure that everything is working properly, that conditions are safe, and that nothing

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Does a New Law Override CC&R Restrictions on “Granny Units? (CA)

Several board members are concerned about changes to the California laws (link is external) that regulate “Accessory Dwelling Units” (sometimes called “Granny Units”). Property owners sometimes add tiny homes or modify their garages for rental income or to provide low-cost

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How to Enjoy Life as a Member in Your Homeowners Association

Whether you’re a resident of a homeowners association or a Board member looking for ways to encourage residents to get involved in their community, here are some great tips for being an active member of your Association and enjoying the

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HOA Losing Tree Trimming CC&R Properly Hit With $200,000 In Fees And $20,621.15 In Costs

We have explained that HOA – homeowner disputes can be costly. Especially where one party prevails, in this case the homeowner. In Lingenbrink v. Del Rayo Estates Homeowners Assn., Case No. D070966 (4th Dist., Div. 1 Mar. 22, 2017) (unpublished),

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How Homeowners Associations Are Referred to Around the World

Common-interest communities are becoming a popular way of living. They are housing developments made up of individually owned units and share facilities or common areas (such as roads, clubhouse, pool, etc.). “Community association” is a generic term that encompasses many

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Tips to Stay Safe When Lightning Strikes Your Homeowners Association

Winter and Spring weather usually means staying in and snuggling by the fire, but it can also bring severe weather. Threatening thunderstorms often loom large in Northern California so it’s important to be prepared for downpours and accompanying lightning, which

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HOA Homefront: Exclusive use common areas – what you might not know

Many condominium buyers do not understand what they bought until long after becoming an owner.  Condominiums consist of two elements: A separate interest, called the unit, and an undivided equal share in everything else, called common area. However, there are

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What NOT to Do When Collecting HOA Fees

If just a few homeowners aren’t paying their HOA fees it can be felt very quickly in an association’s budget. It can also cause a ripple effect. If too many homeowners fail to pay their HOA fees, lenders might start

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Economic Damages and the Right to Repair Act: You Can’t Have it Both Ways (CA)

In 2002, the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 800 also known as the Right to Repair Act (Civil Code Sections 895 et seq.) in an effort to stem a then rising tide in residential construction defect litigation.  SB 800,

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EQ Retrofitting in Los Angeles, 2017 (CA)

Homeowners and Association Managers need to be aware that the City of Los Angeles has passed Ordinances 183893 and 184081, city laws that require the earthquake retrofitting of buildings that fall below current safety standards. The ordinance is intended to

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Fairfield Reverses Crime and Neglect in Parkway Gardens (CA)

The quality of life for residents of Parkway Gardens, a private 240-unit condominium community, and the neighboring area declined significantly over several years prior to 2013. Residents didn’t feel safe. The complex had deteriorated, and serious crime reached a disproportionate

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Attorney’s Fees In Homeowners Association Disputes (CA)

Civil Code Section 5975(c) states: “In an action to enforce the governing documents, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.” There are a few things to note about this statute. First, this only applies to an

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Does The SLAPP Statute Apply To Homeowners Associations? (CA)

(Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute is Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16. When the SLAPP statute was first enacted in 1992, twenty four years ago, some people, believed that it would not apply to homeowners associations because the SLAPP

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What the HOA Board Should Know About Making Association Rules

When thinking of rules within a California Homeowners Association, what comes to mind are the few but chronic rule breakers that somehow find their way into some associations, and how nice it might be to have a spell to bring

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Plaintiffs in $4.7 million construction defect case mum after ruling

Plaintiffs in a major construction lawsuit that ended with a San Diego law firm recovering nearly $5 million have decided to stay silent after the ruling was in their favor.  The law firm, which represented Laurel Bay Community Association, won

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When Should You Update Your HOA Governing Documents?

Many governing documents are established immediately after the community’s developer completes construction. Therefore, these documents follow a standard set of guidelines that are intended to protect the community–even though the houses are still empty. As the neighborhood or condo complex

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When your homeowner association needs intensive care

Q. Long story short, the members have all been reluctant to get involved on our board for many years. They are all fine with someone else doing it. Our vice president resigned and then appointed herself “manager.” She paid herself

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The Accidental Employee

Many homeowner associations employ hired help to perform various functions for the association (e.g., management, maintenance, landscaping, bookkeeping, etc.). Associations may also need outside expertise when undertaking special projects or construction work. This help may take the form “contractors” or

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Construction Defect – Application of the Right to Repair Statute to Material Suppliers (CA)

Civil Code § 8951 et seq. (the “Act”) establishes a set of building standards pertaining to new residential construction and provides homeowners with a cause of action against, among others, material suppliers, for a violation of the standards(§§ 896, 936).

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Boards Have a New Obligation to Stop Discrimination

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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Can HOA Fees Be Claimed on Your Taxes?

Tax season is here and we all want to deduct every last penny we can find. If you’re a member of a homeowners association, have you ever considered whether or not the HOA fees you pay are tax deductible? Every

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Electronic Spying, Satellite Surveillance & Drones

Science fiction! Actually not. Over the last several years, technology available to the homeowners association has exponentially grown. Drones have become the proverbial “Soup de Jour.” An increasing numbers of homeowners associations use drones to inspect common areas, architectural improvements,

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6 Ways to Use Your Budget as a Catalyst for Change

In today’s chaotic world, we are all searching for more meaning – whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, or both. Relevancy is important, and our impact is the measurement of that relevancy.  While I could give you plenty

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May an HOA Board Waive HOA Assessments?

Is it legal for our HOA to waive assessments for board members?  Most Bylaws and/or CC&Rs in California provide that board members serve as volunteers. That is the California HOA model. Waiving assessments is no different than accepting compensation except

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Large Fee Recovery To Prevailing Defendants In CID Parking Space Dispute With Other Homeowners Reversed

In Hussein v. Driver, Case Nos. A144786/A145655 (1st Dist., Div. 4 Jan. 27, 2017) (unpublished), plaintiffs and defendants, homeowners in a common interest development as well as the parents of defendants, were drawn into a parking space dispute where slander

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When Can an HOA Board Call an Executive Session?

As a member of an HOA board you have many responsibilities. One of the most important and least understood by many Board members is the Executive Session. A good understanding of this matter may save headaches in the long run

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