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California Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - June 28, 2012
  • HOA Emergency Preparedness: How to Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan for Your Community
    When it comes to HOA (Homeowners Association) emergency preparedness, having a well-thought-out evacuation plan is crucial. Disasters and emergencies can strike at any time, from natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires to unexpected events like gas leaks or fires within the community. To ensure the safety and well-being of your community members, it’s essential to have a comprehensive emergency evacuation plan in place.    Read the article…………………………….
  • New Legislation (CA)
    AB 572. Assessment Limitation. Beginning January 1, 2025, new associations with affordable housing are limited to assessment increases for affordable housing to 5% plus cost of living, not to exceed 10% greater than the preceding regular assessment. This does not apply to associations with 20 units or less. “Affordable housing” means a unit occupied by lower and moderate-income households.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Homefront: Understanding fair housing laws to help those who need it (CA)
    California and federal law provide important protections for disabled persons. Morally and legally, doing what we reasonably can to help the disabled live as normally as reasonably possible is the right thing to do.  However, requesting residents and responding HOAs don’t always fully understand the legal requirements. HOAs are “housing accommodations” under the Fair Housing laws and must comply with them.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Important Tax Deadlines for California HOAs
    While understanding tax deadlines and requirements is crucial for any HOA board, navigating through these can be complex and overwhelming. The intricacies of tax filings often require professional guidance to ensure compliance and avoid penalties. In California, HOAs are subject to various tax reporting and filing deadlines, each with its own set of requirements and implications. While it’s imperative for HOA boards to collaborate with accounting professionals who specialize in HOA tax matters, Davis-Stirling offers some key deadlines and considerations for HOA tax returns.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Mum’s the Word When Disclosure Leads to Breach of Fiduciary Duty
    It is common knowledge that a director has a fiduciary duty to his or her association and its members. To be a fiduciary means that the director has accepted the highest duty imposed by the law…….This duty also obligates the director to place the interests of the association and its members as a whole over the director’s personal interests in the event these interests conflict. This duty is referred to as the duty of loyalty or duty of undivided loyalty.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Understanding the Interplay Between an Individual Unit Owners’ Policy and Their HOA Policy is Crucial for Submitting Condominium and Townhome Claims in California
    Of the 39 million potential insureds making up California’s population, over 14 million – or over 35% – live in homeowners association communities. Therefore, understanding whether their property damage claims fall under their individual or association insurance policies is essential to properly recovering insurance benefits. Equally essential is understanding which policy takes priority when property damage is covered by both the unit owner’s individual policy and the association’s master policy.   Read the article…………………………….
  • How to Get Homeowners Excited About Your Community for the New Year!
    Membership enthusiasm plays a key role in the success of every community. When homeowners are engaged and excited, the whole community can feel it. It makes the HOA a vibrant, bustling place to live. Not only does an engaged membership support high property values, but close-knit homeowners are integral to creating a true sense of community.     Read the article…………………………….
  • 2023 Year-End Review of California Legislation and Cases Which Affect Community and Homeowners’ Associations
    When an Association cannot achieve the quorum required in its governing documents for a Board of Directors election meeting, this new law allows the Association to adjourn the meeting to a date at least 20 days after the adjourned meeting, and provides that only 20% of the voting members need be present at subsequent meetings in person, by proxy, or by secret written ballot received.   Read the article…………………………….
  • When Time Runs Out…Part II (CA)
    The Typical Condominium “Business Model” will Not Sustain the Buildings: Condominium buildings are like rental apartments in their aesthetics and construction, with one significant difference—condominiums are mapped and built to be sold to individual unit owners. The ownership of rental apartments remains with one owner. Apartments are rented for a fixed period. Read the article…………………………….
  • Developing HOA Reserve Study Procedures for Specific Assets (CA)
    Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) serve as the guardians of their communities. Moreover, they’re responsible for maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for residents. A fundamental aspect of this stewardship involves prudent financial planning and establishing reserve funds.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Understanding the Importance of Reserve Study Data
    Homeowners Associations (HOAs) play a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing the value of a community. To ensure financial stability and plan for future growth, HOAs must clearly understand their reserve study data. In fact, reserve study data is an indispensable asset for homeowners’ associations aiming to secure a bright future for their communities.   Read the article……………………………..
  • HOA Homefront: Could holiday charity include your HOA? (CA)
    Regardless of one’s religious leanings, most agree that the holiday season is a time of generosity. Here are several ways those involved with the HOA can through generosity promote community, peace, and harmony throughout the year.    Read the article………………………….
  • Navigating Inflation and Investments: Strategy Guide for HOA Reserve Funds
    Whether your HOA reserve fund is modest or substantial, the pressing question remains: How can you best manage this crucial financial resource for your entire community? In the current climate where inflation looms large and investment opportunities are rising, understanding the intricate balance of community safety, growth, and fiscal responsibility is paramount for managing your reserve fund.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Common HOA Rules Homeowners Accidentally Break
    We know rule enforcement is generally a touchy subject for HOA members. It’s the same for the HOA management company, too. No one feels great about issuing violation notices to homeowners. However, there is an important reason these rules exist at all: to protect and preserve property values by making sure that the community is an attractive, inviting place to live.   Read the article……………………………….
  • How California HOAs Enforce Special Assessments
    HOAs offer a community-managed alternative to residential living. These areas tend to offer more amenities, such as club houses, pools, and maintained public roads and sidewalks. However, in exchange, residents are committed to paying regular dues to the managing body.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Are California HOA Special Assessments Legal?
    Living in a California homeowners association (HOA) confers numerous benefits: maintained public spaces, consistency among property quality, and more. In order to secure these advantages, the residents of an HOA pay dues to the governing body to fund communal projects and resources.   Read the article………………………………….
  • Aging Infrastructures: Changes in Insurance Underwriting (CA)
    It is no secret that the insurance industry, especially for common interest developments in California, is in crisis. After several years of wildfires and other natural disasters, carriers are not only charging higher premiums, but also revising eligibility requirements and giving greater scrutiny to insurance applications.   Read the article………………………………
  • Embracing Sustainability: The Power of HOA Community Recycling Programs (CA)
    In an era where environmental consciousness is paramount, Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable practices within their communities. Furthermore, one such initiative gaining momentum is the HOA Community Recycling Program. This comprehensive guide explores HOA recycling programs’ benefits, implementation, and key considerations.    Read the article………………………………
  • Are Term-Limits for HOA Board Member Limited (CA)
    QUESTION. I read with interest your recent newsletter that if bylaws have a term limit provision, recalled board members could not immediately run again if termed out. Two different law offices informed us that state law prohibits term limits for HOAs. Is this correct?   Read the Q&A…………………………
  • HOA Reserve Studies: How to Identify and Mitigate Risk in Your Community (CA)
    Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) play a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing property values in communities nationwide. One essential aspect of HOA management is the creation and maintenance of reserve funds, which are dedicated to covering major repair and replacement expenses. In addition, to ensure that these funds are adequate and well-managed, HOAs often conduct reserve studies.   Read the article………………………………
  • Understanding the Uniqueness of HOAs: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All (CA)
    A common misconception in community management is the belief that one-size-fits-all HOAs. When HOA boards attempt to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, they risk overlooking critical aspects of their community’s management. For instance, implementing a strict set of rules without considering the cultural and social dynamics of the community can lead to unrest and dissatisfaction among residents. On the other hand, being too lax in governance can result in financial mismanagement and maintenance neglect.    Read the article…………………………………..
  • 2024 Legislative Update (CA)
    Assembly Bill 572 is concerning as it directly impacts an association’s ability to increase regular assessments. Fortunately, this statute only affects associations whose original declarations are recorded on or after January 1, 2025.   Read the article………………………………
  • Setting Expectations for Your HOA Management Company
    The best relationships between HOAs and the management companies they employ are based on open communication and clear expectations. There is a lot that goes into maintaining property values. However, if you’re not exactly sure what your management company should be doing for your association, it can be difficult to determine if you’re getting the full value of your service agreement.   Read the article…………………………
  • Giving Thanks to the Unsung Heroes of Your HOA
    When you stroll the perfectly groomed grounds of your neighborhood or enjoy a relaxing afternoon at your community’s pool, it’s easy to overlook the amount of attention and maintenance required to keep your community looking spectacular.   Read the article…………………………
  • ‘Tis the Season for HOAs: Preparing for the Holiday Season (CA)
    The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. Communities across the country come alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and the sound of carolers singing their favorite tunes. For homeowners’ associations (HOAs), this time of year presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities.    Read the article……………………………
  • Do Insurance Carriers Follow the Governing Documents? (CA)
    Q: Why would a carrier even consider a claim for inside plumbing when our CC&R clearly indicates that inside plumbing issues and damages is the responsibility of the owner? Don’t they read the CC&R when writing the policy? Are we paying extra premium for this inside coverage?   Read the Q&A…………………………..
  • How to Overcome Homeowner Compliance Challenges in Your HOA (CA)
    Misconceptions often plague homeowners’ associations, causing friction and discord among community members. The erroneous belief that all residents automatically read, follow, and never ignore the rules can lead to challenges in ensuring homeowner compliance. These misunderstandings can disrupt the harmony and functionality of an HOA. However, there is a powerful tool that can address these issues head-on: HOA consulting.    Read the article………………………………
  • Does an Exchange of Emails Constitute a Board Meeting? (CA)
    Under the California General Corporation Law, a board of directors can take action in two different ways – at a meeting or by unanimous written consent. See Cal. Corp. Code § 307. Over a decade ago, I posed the question of whether a director could consent by email.    Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Emergency Preparedness: How to Create an Emergency Response Plan for Your Community
    In today’s unpredictable world, having a well-thought-out emergency response plan is crucial for any homeowners association (HOA). Emergencies can strike at any moment, from natural disasters to unexpected events, and being prepared can mean the difference between chaos and a coordinated, efficient response.   Read the article……………………………..
  • California HOAs Must Prepare for New Balcony Requirements
    Community associations in California must meet new balcony inspections requirements by the end of 2024.  The state’s “balcony bill,” SB 721, was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018. The bill requires an inspection of “exterior elevated elements” within all multifamily residential buildings containing three or more dwelling units no later than Jan. 1, 2025.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Homefront – Ideas and modifications for purely virtual meetings (CA)
    In 2024, Civil Code 4926 will permit 100% virtual meetings along with the current in-person and hybrid meeting formats.  Readers have submitted numerous questions since the pandemic (and explosion of virtual meetings) began regarding what is allowable for virtual meetings.   Read the article………………………………
  • The Key to Unlocking Financial Resilience in Your HOA
    Homeowner associations are at the heart of community well-being, orchestrating the collective rhythm of neighborhood life. Among the myriad responsibilities shouldered by HOA boards, navigating the financial maze emerges as a daunting challenge.   Read the article……………………………….
  • Balcony inspections: California community associations must prepare for new requirements
    The state’s “balcony bill,” SB 721, was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018. The bill requires an inspection of “exterior elevated elements” within all multifamily residential buildings containing three or more dwelling units no later than Jan. 1, 2025. It was formulated in response to a tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif., in 2015, which resulted in seven deaths.    Read the article……………………………
  • How to abuse the bankruptcy court and your HOA at the same time (CA)
    This case study revolves around a homeowner’s association (HOA) located in the State of California dealing with a property owned by six individuals that has been plagued by chronic delinquency since 2008. The association embarked on a journey to recover the long-standing debt through non-judicial foreclosure. However, the owners resorted to a series of bankruptcy filings to delay and evade the sale, leading the HOA to uncover a history of repeat fraudulent bankruptcy filings.    Read the article………………………………
  • AB 648 Signed! Virtual HOA Meetings (CA)
    On September 22, 2023, Governor Newsom signed AB 648 into law to finally permit homeowners associations (“HOAs”) throughout California to conduct board meetings entirely be teleconference (aka “virtual meetings“). While existing law permits an HOA to conduct teleconference meetings, HOAs are still required to specify a “physical location” for the meeting at which members or directors may physically attend the meeting if they desired to do so.    Read the article…………………………………
  • Common HOA Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (CA)
    Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) play a pivotal role in maintaining community standards and preserving property values. Maintenance is often a top priority when managing a homeowner’s association (HOA). However, common HOA maintenance mistakes can occur even with the best intentions, leading to headaches and unexpected costs. Recognizing and understanding these errors is the first step to prevention. In this blog, we will discuss the most common HOA maintenance mistakes and offer tips on how to avoid them.   Read the article………………………………
  • Although Fee Award Against HOA Belongs To Attorney, Attorney Had To Offset For Contingency Fee Already Received (CA)
    Koehler v. Prinz, Case No. C095229 (3d Dist. Sept. 25, 2023) (unpublished) is a case which shows that attorneys need to be careful when they receive a fee award which belongs to them, discussing the fee award with the client and then agreeing on an offset for contingency fees already received.   Read the article………………………………
  • How HOA Fees Work in New-Construction Communities: What To Expect
    When purchasing a new-construction home, most buyers prepare for the down payment, closing costs, and subsequent monthly mortgage payments. But one additional expense that sometimes gets forgotten in initial calculations is homeowners association (HOA) fees.   Read the article………………………………..
  • New Reserve Study Standards (CA)
    The primary duty of an association is to maintain, repair, and replace the common areas. That is why they are created in the first place. Unfortunately, boards failed their duties at Champlain Towers, and 98 people died. In the wake of that tragic loss, new standards were implemented nationwide to help avoid future losses.    Read the article…………………………..
  • HOA Board Governance: How to Overcome Rule Enforcement Hurdles
    One of the primary responsibilities of an HOA is to ensure that residents adhere to established norms and standards. These rules and regulations are put in place to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the community, protect property values, and foster a harmonious living environment for all residents. However, the task of enforcing these rules is often a delicate and multifaceted challenge that HOA board members face.   Read the article…………………………………
  • Email Discussions Between HOA Board Members are not “Meetings” (CA)
    The Open Meeting Act (“OMA”) contains various provisions regulating how the Board of Directors of a homeowners association (“HOA”) may meet and conduct business. One of the most common questions we receive pertains to whether e-mail exchanges between Board members on items of HOA business constitute a “board meeting” under the OMA, even if those e-mails are merely for discussion purposes without any vote (or “action”) being taken on the item.   Read the article………………………..
  • Tenant Background Check and the Civil Rights Department Act (CA)
    California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD), formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has the responsibility of enforcing state fair housing laws, such as California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, which makes it illegal for housing providers to discriminate against tenants with a protected characteristic.   Many boards of directors want to gain control or maintain oversight over prospective tenants renting out units in their community   Read the article………………………..
  • Resolving Conflict – How One HOA Board Changed the Direction of a Building
    Built as one of the tallest and most luxurious residential high-rise buildings in the country, Millennium Tower in San Francisco has gained fame for something far less flattering. The 58-story building is the site of one of the most expensive construction retrofits in history.   Read the article………………………..
  • Blazing Speed and Blazing Fires: E-bike Fires and Policy Considerations (CA)
    If you have read or watched the news in the last few months, you know that Associations should consider adopting policies to address e-bike safety issues. Some associations may already have rules prohibiting wheeled recreational devices, like bikes, scooters, and skateboards, from being used in the common area where there are likely to be people walking.  Read the article………………………..
  • Ensuring Adequately Funded Reserves (CA)
    Throughout the state, many older common interest developments (CIDs) are struggling with costly repairs and large maintenance projects as buildings age. Is your CID prepared to replace major components without a special assessment?   Read the article………………………..
  • HOA Reserve Studies: How to Use Reserve Study Data to Plan for Changing Economic Conditions
    Homeowners Associations (HOAs) play a crucial role in maintaining the value and functionality of communities. Part of this responsibility involves managing financial reserves to cover future expenses, such as repairs and replacements of common elements.    Read the article………………………..
  • What To Know About Buying A Condo
    A condominium, also just known as a condo, is different from buying a house. If you’ve never bought one before, you might be surprised at just how different it can be. The process is different, in addition to the differences in the condo lifestyle.  Before you purchase, you need to understand the condo lifestyle to decide if it’s right for you.   Read the article………………………..
  • Aging Infrastructure & Insurance (CA)
    It is no secret that the insurance industry, especially for common interest developments in California, is in crisis. After several years of wildfires and other natural disasters, carriers are not only charging higher premiums, but also revising eligibility requirements with regard to infrastructure and giving greater scrutiny to insurance applications.    Read the article………………………..
  • Court Rules Email Exchanges Without Board Action Are Not Board Meetings (CA)
    The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District just held that an email discussion among board members regarding items of association business did not violate the Open Meeting Act, because such email exchanges are not considered “board meetings” as that term is defined in Civil Code section 4090(a).    Read the article………………………..
  • /1 DCA Reverses As A Matter Of Law Adverse Fee Awards Against Homeowners Not Prevailing On Common Interest Development Open Meeting Act (OMA) Violations
    Fees Are Not Awardable To Prevailing HOAs Under OMA Violations; Costs Were Not Proper Because Homeowners’ Action Was Not Frivolous, Unreasonable, Or Without Foundation.   Read the article………………………..
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