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How HOAs Respond to Emergencies

Crime, natural disasters, and medical emergencies are usually not top of mind–until they happen. Your homeowners association management company plays a role in the planning and recovery of emergencies–not during the emergency itself. In moments of crisis, such as fire,

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HOA Homefront: What Sacramento did for (or is it to?) HOAs in 2017 (Part 2)

Last week’s column addressed three bills recently passed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Assembly: Senate bill 2, Assembly bill 534 and AB 1412. Today’s column will tackle three other significant bills, SB 407, AB 634, and

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Why Keeping HOA Fees Low is a Terrible Idea

Working for one of the largest HOA management companies in Northern California I get a lot of phone calls from distressed HOA board members. I hear the same story emerging from these different homeowners association. It’s a sad pattern that

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HOA Homefront: What Sacramento did for HOAs in 2017 – Part 1

The California Legislature was quite active this year in creating laws affecting homeowners associations, as six bills take effect in 2018. This column will address three and next week’s column will address the other three.    Read the article……………..

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Committees, Do We Need Them?

Yes. The board may delegate authority to the manager and they may also utilize the committee structure to assist them in carrying out their duties and responsibilities. Some committees are mandated by the association’s governing documents, usually in the CC&Rs

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San Francisco’s leaning tower of lawsuits (CA)

It’s a story as old as cities themselves: prosperity comes to town and triggers a building boom. In modern San Francisco, rows of skyscrapers have begun lining the downtown streets and recasting the skyline, monuments to the triumph of the

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Construction Contract Tips for Owners — Part 1

A remodel of your home can be a substantial investment. Nonetheless, it oftentimes shocks me to see the contracts that parties enter into regarding construction. This article is intended to highlight some of the issues that homeowners should look out

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What’s The Plural Of Condominium?

Wednesday’s post was entitled “Condominiums And The California Corporate Securities Law“. Today’s post concerns whether I used the proper plural form of “condominium”.  “Condominium” is derived from the Latin words, cum and dominium. Cum means with or together and dominium

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Winterizing Checklist for Your Homeowners Association Members

It’s that time of year—you’ve exchanged your swimsuit from long days at the community Association pool for sweaters and scarves just in time to roll down your sleeves and prepare your home for cooler weather. As we watch the warm

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Tips from an HOA Board for a Safe Halloween in Your Association

Halloween is a kid’s delight. It’s a blast to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties and most of all, eat a lot of candy. At the same time, Halloween can be scary for parents. Costumes can be dangerous,

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How California’s Minimum Wage Increase Could Impact Your HOA

Recently passed amendments to sections 245.5, 246, and 1182.12 of the California State Labor Code will result in an approximately 50% minimum wage increase, culminating in a $15/hour wage by January 1, 2023. These changes will bring new challenges to

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Tips for HOA Board Members to Set Boundaries with Homeowners

As a volunteer of the Board of Directors, you have the opportunity to help the homeowners in your community through issues that impact one of their biggest investments. Unfortunately, at times, owners forget that you are a volunteer of the

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The ABC’s of HOA’s

When you purchase a home that is part of a Home Owners Association (HOA), you agree to live by certain rules set up by that HOA. The HOA usually charges a monthly fee and in exchange will provide the homeowners

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AB 634 Signed! Reduced HOA Control of Solar Energy System Installations (CA)

The Governor has signed AB 634 into law changing HOA control over solar energy system (“Solar”) installations. HOAs may no longer adopt policies and guidelines that prohibit Solar installations on common area roofs protecting HOA property and homes from damage

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Updating Your Association’s CC&Rs

Asked – Our documents were created in 1981 and have not been updated since that time. I imagine that we are out of legal compliance with some of the items listed within both documents. The HOA membership does not want

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What Owners Need to Know about Community Association Board Meetings

A Board Meeting is a meeting that is held regularly by the Board of Directors. This meeting is held to discuss and make decisions on association business. Owners are welcome to attend these meetings. These meetings are usually held monthly

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Political Rallies in the Clubhouse? SB 407 is Now Law (CA)

SB 407 is somewhat mind-boggling, both in terms of what it requires of associations and the breadth of governmental intrusion into private property principles. The full text of the law is available on California’s Legislative Information website.  Read the article……………..

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Robert Bumgarner: Restoring free speech rights to homeowner association members (CA)

If you live in a community that’s managed by a homeowner association, you know that they often stifle the free speech rights of individual owners.  That’s because First Amendment constitutional speech protections apply to governmental restrictions on free speech, not

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How an HOA Manager Helps the Board Prepare for Emergency Situations

When people think of an emergency, the first image that usually comes to mind is a natural disaster. But an emergency in your homeowners association isn’t always a flood or fire. There can also be financial or management-related emergencies that

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Trial Court’s Refusal To Award HOA-Affiliated Individual Defendant Fees, As Against Voluntarily Dismissing Plaintiffs, Under Statutory Fee-Shifting Provision Reversed On Appeal

In Durack v. Wang, Case No. B276086 (2d Dist., Div. 7 Sept. 25, 2017) (unpublished), homeowners sued the HOA and several individual defendants for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty (among other claims), but referencing the CC&Rs in some portions

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The 411 on Community Associations

There are thousands of community associations and many of them are full of owners who are unaware of how their association functions. This post provides the information owners should know in order to understand the most important community association basics.

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3 Common Homeowner Responses to an Increase in HOA Fees

We all have heard the question time and time again, “Why do my HOA fees continue to increase?” Although it may not be news most homeowners want to hear, sometimes an increase in fees is the best way to keep

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Homeowners Association Safety Tips for Winter Roads and Trips (CA)

Do you live in a homeowners association where snowy weather leads to snow plowing your private roads during the winter months? Preparedness is paramount when it comes to being on the road. With an increased risk of potential driving hazards

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SB 407 Signed! Legislation Broadens Assembly and Speech Rights within HOAs (CA)

New Civil Code 4515 will be added to the Davis-Stirling Act to ensure that homeowners association residents may exercise their rights of peaceful assembly and political speech.  HOAs are playing an increasing role in the lives of California’s residents as

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How to Handle Neighbor Disputes in Your Homeowners Association

You have two residents in your community who for whatever reason do not get along. Unfortunately they live right across the street from one another!  Your homeowners association manager receives phone calls and emails from these two weekly. Bill calls

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Should Your HOA Board File an Annual Report with the State? (CA)

Most HOA boards know that there are annual disclosures that have to be completed and sent out to the membership each year. But did you know that nearly all states also require that a homeowners association organized as non-profit corporations

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What Items Are Homeowners Associations Supposed to Maintain?

Many times, I will get asked the question,” What Does the HOA maintain in our Community?” Usually, this comes with a bit of anger behind the question. Unless the CC&Rs provide otherwise, the homeowners association is responsible for repairing, replacing,

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Adopting More Stringent Requirements in an HOA or Condo About Hard Surface Flooring

Here is a recent question about hardwood floors in a homeowners association:  “Our HOA is seeking to institute acoustical standards that did not previously exist, above that required in building codes. My question is whether or not they can place

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East Bay Panel Update – Director Liability

Two weeks ago, I met with a great group of ECHO members at our East Bay Resource Panel. We were gathered to talk about the recent Parth case and how it affects the personal liability of HOA directors. Ann Marquis-Fisher,

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Frequently Used Terms You’ll Hear at an HOA Board Meeting

Have you ever attended a meeting and had no clue what was going on? It’s an awkward position to be in, especially if you’re trying to understand and contribute to the conversation. Be in the know and wow your board

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How to Save on Home & Renters Insurance in Your Homeowners Association

Whether you own or rent your home within a homeowners association, insurance is essential to protect your property and household goods. Comparison shopping for the best rates will certainly save you some money, but you also can save by following

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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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4/3 DCA Determines Civil Code Section 5235(c) Only Allows Costs Award To Prevailing HOA If Homeowner Action Is Frivolous (CA)

The Fourth District, Division 3 faced a first impression statutory interpretation of Civil Code section 5235(c), which provides that “[a] prevailing association may recover any costs if the court finds the action to be frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation,” in

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CAI-CLAC Strongly Opposes Two State Bills that Threaten Financial Well-Being, Local Control of Millions of California Homeowners

The California Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) is urging residents living in more than 50,000 common interest developments throughout the state to contact their elected representatives and urge them to vote no on Senate Bill 2 and Assembly

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Creating community: from developers to community associations

If you are looking for a newly built home in San Diego County, the odds are that home will be in a community association.  When done right, community associations provide an immediate sense of community for new homeowners.Community associations are

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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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