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California Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - June 28, 2012
  • Revolutionizing HOA Management: Changemakers on the Horizon
    Community Associations play a crucial role in maintaining community harmony and property values. In the past, HOA management involved intricate paperwork, face-to-face meetings, and manual administrative tasks. Due in large part to the recent pandemic, the industry is experiencing a rapid paradigm shift. This article explores the evolving landscape of HOA management and new tools available to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Workplace Violence Prevention Plans – Community Associations With Employees Need to Comply
    California has long required employers to establish, implement and maintain an injury prevention program. With the passage of Senate Bill No. 553 (SB 553) last year, California has imposed now upon employers the additional obligation to establish, implement and maintain in all work areas, an effective workplace violence prevention plan (“WP Violence Plan”) which contains specified information. Beginning July 1, 2024 covered employers must adopt a WP Violence Plan    Read the article…………………………….
  • Best Practices for Effective Communication within the HOA
    Communication within a homeowners association is pivotal for fostering a cohesive community, ensuring smooth operations, and maintaining resident satisfaction. Effective communication not only enhances transparency but also promotes trust among board members, residents, and management companies. In this article, we’ll discuss essential strategies and tools that can enhance and streamline communication within your HOA.   Read the article…………………………….
  • The Essentials of Summer: Barbecues and Swimming Pools (CA)
    Summer is here, which means homeowners throughout California are going outside to embrace the sun and outdoor activities within the community. Residents and their guests will flock to facility pools and will make plans to cook mouth-watering food at weekend barbecues. During these warm summer months, an association may be faced with an increase in resident concerns and requests regarding such facilities and their use. Some complaints may include, “Why can’t I BBQ on my own balcony?” or “Someone brought their dog into the pool area!”   Read the article…………………………….
  • The Balcony Bill SB 326 (CA)
    On January 1, 2020, the State legislature added California Civil Code § 5551 to require condominium associations with certain elevated exterior elements (“EEEs”) such as decks, balconies, walkways, stairs, and related railings to be inspected by January 1, 2025. This new law is often referred to as the “Balcony Bill” or SB326 as that was the bill number before being passed into law in year 2019. The cause for this legislation was due to the collapse of a balcony that caused several deaths and so the purpose of these inspections is to make sure EEEs are safe to use and if unsafe, limit access until such EEEs are repaired.    Read the article…………………………….
  • ADUs: Strategic Solution to California’s Housing Shortage
    Recent California laws enacted in 2023 and 2024, make it easier for homeowners to obtain permits for building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their lots. An ADU is an additional residential structure built on the same lot as a primary structure. These new California laws were enacted to increase the housing supply across the state, which, by doing so, significantly amends California state laws in favor of homeowners who want to build ADUs on their properties.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Nuns Fire inspires student’s award-winning fire-safe landscape design (CA)
    In 2017, Grace Diebel’s parents nearly lost their Glen Ellen home in the Nuns Fire, which tore through the upper Sonoma Valley on the same night as the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, destroying 1,355 structures in the valley and killing three people.  While it can’t be known for certain, the lack of big trees within 30 feet of the house and a well-irrigated yard may have helped their home escape destruction when all the other homes around it burned.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA leaders tell how they transformed neighborhood with water-saving landscaping — and secured rebates for the projects
    While many homeowners associations in America stand between residents and eco-friendly, water-wise updates, one HOA has gone the opposite direction by making money-saving and environmentally conscious upgrades to common areas.  For Paul Morsen and Richard Theisen, the president and the treasurer of the Hampton Bay Homeowners Association, converting to water-wise plants was “a no-brainer.” As Theisen told The Cool Down in an interview: “The concern over the adverse economic and environmental impact of the drought as well as the continually increasing water/sewer rates has been a topic of discussion at our Board meeting for years.”   Read the article…………………………….
  • Homeowner Only Achieving Marginal Success, But Not Removing Quorum Requirements Or Board Member Removals, Was Not A Pragmatic Prevailing Party (CA)
    In Mays v. Oakview Homeowners Assn., Case Nos. D083707 et al. (4th Dist., Div. 1 June 17, 2024) (unpublished), homeowner received a fairly limited mandate win to direct the HOA to conduct an election to replace board directors whose terms had expired.     Read the article…………………………….
  • California appellate court upholds ruling on debt collection practices
    Recently, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District upheld a ruling against a defendant and its related entities. Plaintiff had filed a class action lawsuit against the defendants, alleging that they had violated the FDCPA and California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) in their debt collection practices related to homeowners’ association (HOA) assessments.     Read the article…………………………….
  • 10 Things Community Association Boards Are Doing Right
    Community associations play a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life within residential communities. In California, where community associations are prevalent, boards are implementing innovative and effective strategies to ensure their neighborhoods thrive. Here are the top ten things community association boards are doing right:  Read the article…………………………….
  • Maintaining Community Standards: Dos and Don’ts for HOA Board Members
    As an HOA board member, you play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and appeal of your community. Upholding community standards is not just about enforcing rules; it’s about fostering a sense of pride, safety, and cohesion among residents. Balancing fairness and flexibility while addressing violations requires a thoughtful approach and effective communication. Let’s explore the essential dos and don’ts to help you navigate the complexities of maintaining community standards effectively.    Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Homefront: 14 things I wish all HOA attorneys knew
    This is the final installment in a five-part series on HOA roles.  Today’s column is about HOA attorneys.  1. Being an HOA attorney is not simply a job. Being trusted to guide communities is an honor and a sacred obligation.   Read the article…………………………….
  • I’d Like to Submit a Complaint. . .
    One of the most important roles of a community association board is enforcement of its association’s governing documents, including CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations. One way a board may become aware of alleged violations of the governing documents is through owner-submitted complaints. In some communities, reviewing owner-submitted complaints can be a full-time job and boards are often left wondering whether they have to address each and every complaint that is received.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Insuring Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on HOA Grounds (CA)
    QUESTION. Are homeowners who install an EV charging station required to carry insurance and name the association as an additional insured? –Andrew S.   ANSWER. Yes, owners are required to carry insurance. Unfortunately, the Legislature created some confusion over the additional insured requirement.     Read the Q&A………………………………..
  • How to Challenge HOA Fees or Fines: Insights from an Experienced HOA Lawyer
    As a homeowner in a homeowner association (HOA), you may receive a notice of a fine or fee for a violation of the rules or regulations. While these fees and fines can serve as a deterrent to rule-breaking, they can also be disputed if you believe they are unjustified. Further, it is not uncommon for a roque HOA to use fines and/or fees to harass a homeowner. Here are the steps you can take to challenge illegal HOA fees or fines.   Read the article…………………………….
  • The Increasingly Complex Board Election Process (CA)
    The Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code (“CC”) §§5100-5145) mandates the following board election process for incorporated and unincorporated associations. Failing to comply with this process can lead to owner challenges of the election results and litigation, which in turn can lead to the election being voided, the association paying the challenging owner’s attorney’s fees and court costs, and civil penalties of up to $500 for each violation of the law.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating the Transition Process with New HOA Board Members (CA)
    Congratulations on your new role as an HOA board member! Your dedication to serving your community is commendable, and your commitment to ensuring the smooth operation of your homeowner’s association is vital. As you embark on this journey, it’s essential to understand the transition process and how to effectively integrate new board members into their roles. In this guide, we’ll discuss the crucial steps of transitioning new HOA board members, from orientation and training to ongoing support, to ensure a seamless transition and the continued success of your association.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Civil Code §1940.45. Display of Religious Items on Entry Door or Entry Door Frame (CA)
    (a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, a property owner shall not enforce or adopt a restrictive covenant or any other restriction that prohibits one or more religious items from being displayed or affixed on any entry door or entry door frame of a dwelling.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Homefront: 18 things I wish all HOA members knew (CA)
    This is the second in a five-part series on HOA need-to-know items. 1. HOA living involves a tradeoff of independence in exchange for the benefits the HOA provides. Someone unwilling to trust others to make decisions and who must personally make all decisions is probably not cut out for HOA living. The board makes decisions about maintenance and repair of the common areas so members don’t have to worry about it.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Understanding Roles: The Board vs. Management Company in HOAs
    Homeowners’ Associations play a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity and functionality of residential communities. Ideally, at the heart of every HOA’s operations are two essential entities: the Board of Directors and the Management Company. While both entities work towards the common goal of enhancing community living, their roles and responsibilities are distinct.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Community Associations
    DEI is a term you might be hearing and reading about in the news lately. DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI is tied to civil rights laws and preventing discrimination in employment and housing based on someone’s characteristics. In California, the characteristics protected by law include:  Race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, primary language, religion, disability (mental or physical), sex and gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, age, familial status, source of income, medical condition, marital status, military or veteran status, or citizenship.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Civil Code §4926. Meetings Entirely by Teleconference (CA)
    (a) Notwithstanding any other law or the association’s governing documents, a board meeting or meeting of the members may be conducted entirely by teleconference, without any physical location being held open for the attendance of any director or member, if all of the following conditions are satisfied:   Read the article…………………………….
  • How Past Discriminatory Real Estate Practices Have Impacted Coronado (CA)
    “What happened is a darker chapter in American history that occurred from the 1920s to the 1960s which involved racially restrictive practices in real estate,” said Ashley. “Coronado was not immune.”   Read the article…………………………….
  • Reduced Quorum for Elections (CA)
    QUESTION. If our 50% quorum is not achieved, is there a requirement that another vote take place but with a 20% quorum requirement? If so, how quickly does this need to take place?   Read the Q&A………………………………..
  • HOA Board Governance: Roles, Responsibilities, and Ethics
    Homeowners’ Associations play a pivotal role in shaping the communities they oversee. At the heart of every HOA is its board of directors, a group of individuals entrusted with the responsibility of making decisions that affect the entire community. However, being an HOA board member is not merely a title; it comes with a set of duties, responsibilities, and ethical considerations that require careful attention and dedication.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Accusing Neighbor of Racism Is Not of Public Interest (CA)
    Div. Eight of this district’s Court of Appeal held Friday that repeated accusations by owners of a condominium in a six-unit complex of racism and malfeasance on the part of another owner in emails to the homeowners association, an insurance company, neighbors and others, implicates too small and specific of an audience to qualify as a matter of public interest.   Read the article…………………………….
  • California HOA Condos and Homes: Unveiling the Top 10 Pitfalls of Faulty Gutter & Fascia Installations
    A common oversight with potentially significant financial impacts is the quality and installation of gutters and fascia. At Naumann Law Firm, we’ve seen firsthand how these defects can lead to extensive property damage and financial strain. In our most recent blog, we delve in a bit closer the top 10 construction defects resulting from poorly installed gutters and fascia in California HOA condos and homes.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Do E-mail Exchanges Constitute A Meeting Of The Board? (CA)
    In LNSU#1, LLC v. Alta Del Mar Coastal Collection Community Association,94 Cal. App. 5th 1050, 312 Cal. Rptr. 3d 707 (2023), two homeowners in a common interest development argued that their homeowners’ association violated state law governing open meetings when certain directors discussed items of association business by e-mails without giving all association members notice and opportunity to participate in the discussions and without preparing related minutes.     Read the article…………………………….
  • Virtual Board and Member Meetings (CA)
    Good news for directors and managers who hold virtual meetings but hate the hassles that come with hybrid meetings: you can legally hold solely virtual meetings! Read on for details.  Associations have been using virtual video communications platforms like Zoom, GoTo Meetings, and Microsoft Teams for the last few years to hold board and member meetings. This was borne out of necessity as a result of the stay away orders of the COVID-19 pandemic. Boards continued to hold virtual meetings after the pandemic finding them convenient and efficient; more people – members, board directors, management, and vendors – are able to attend board meetings and at a lesser cost to the associations.     Read the article…………………………….
  • Harnessing Sustainability: HOA Community Composting and Rainwater Harvesting Programs (CA)
    In the global pursuit of sustainability, homeowners associations (HOAs) are taking the lead by adopting innovative practices to make their communities greener. Two key initiatives, community composting, and rainwater harvesting programs, are gaining traction worldwide. These eco-friendly practices not only contribute to environmental sustainability but also foster a sense of community and shared responsibility among residents. Let’s explore the global significance of these programs and how they are revolutionizing HOAs.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Managing Delinquent Board Members: Strategies for HOA Leadership (CA)
    In the complex world of managing a homeowners association, one of the most challenging issues that board members may face is dealing with delinquent board members. These individuals can disrupt the functioning of the HOA, cause financial strain, and create tension within the community. Addressing this issue requires a delicate balance of assertiveness, diplomacy, and adherence to the HOA’s governing documents. In this article, we’ll explore effective strategies for HOA leadership to handle delinquent board members.  Read the article…………………………….
  • AB 1458 Stop, Adjourn, Then Proceed: New Reduced Quorum Requirements Help Make Every Vote Count (CA)
    Recent legislation has provided various tools to remedy the difficulties that many associations face due to the lack of member participation in director elections. AB 502 went into effect in 2022, permitting elections by acclamation when the number of qualified candidates running for a board of directors is less than or equal to the number of positions to be filled (subject to several procedural requirements). Recently, AB 1458 was also enacted to address the inability of many associations to reach quorum due to lack of voter participation.    Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Homefront: Myths mold consultants use to scare residents, homeowners (pt 2) (CA)
    Although mold trade organizations have created their own credentials and extensive and expensive cleanup protocols, the EPA recommendation to clean up a moldy area of up to 10 square feet is to wipe it with a cloth dampened with a diluted bleach solution.  Misleading and self-serving statements by the “toxic mold” industry continue to grab attention.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA boards unintended victims of federal law aimed at terrorism
    A federal law aimed at curtailing money laundering to benefit terrorists is catching the more than 120 homeowners associations in Ventura County and elsewhere in its net with new beneficial ownership filing requirements. In effect, individuals who are elected by their fellow homeowners to represent their communities could be asked to register with the federal government just as owners of companies that do business with foreign entities do.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Overcoming the Challenge: Ensuring Renters Adhere to Community Guidelines (CA)
    In the vibrant tapestry of community living, harmony and order are often maintained through carefully crafted rules and regulations. These are commonly referred to as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). These guidelines serve as the backbone of residential communities, ensuring that each member contributes to the neighborhood’s overall aesthetic and functional harmony.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Treasurer’s Payment Mistake Requires Defense Coverage Under Property Association’s D&O Policy
    A federal court recently ruled that a carrier must defend its policyholder against a claim involving the treasurer’s erroneous payment to a scammer. The ruling shows that a “wrongful act” under a D&O policy need not be an egregious act of wrongdoing, that coverage may hinge on whether extrinsic evidence can establish coverage, and that breach of contract claims are not always uninsurable as a matter of law.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Homefront: Why ‘toxic mold’ myths continue to panic residents (CA)
    In 2000, a new panic swept the country — “toxic mold.”  Twenty-four years of lawsuits and untold billions of dollars later, major mold myths continue to frighten residents and cause exaggerated repairs and unnecessary conflict. On one side of the debate is the mold industry: testers, consultants and mold clean-up contractors. On the other side are the federal and state governmental health agencies.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Homeowner Associations: $156,476.33 Is The Fees/Costs Award Against An In Pro Per Plaintiff Who Lost A Demurrer To The HOA And A Subsequent Appeal (CA)
    We have posted many times on how attorney’s fees and costs are the “tail that wags the dog in litigation” in homeowner-HOA disputes, resulting in hefty awards for the prevailing party or resulting in a large expenditure fees even though no one is deemed to have prevailed. Harter v. Rancho Rios Homeowners Assn., Case No. D081285 (4th Dist., Div. 1 Mar. 20, 2024) (unpublished) is an example of this for a non-prevailing, in pro per plaintiff.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Understanding the Differences Between CC&Rs, Bylaws and Rules & Regulations (CA)
    For HOAs, implementing universal rules and expectations is part of what helps a community thrive. To structure these, every association has three types of governing documents: Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (called “CC&Rs”), Bylaws, and Rules & Regulations.      Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating the Shadows: HOA Fraud and Community Safety (CA)
    Homeowners Associations (HOAs) play a pivotal role in maintaining harmony and order in the fabric of community living. However, this structured environment is not immune to fraud and misconduct risks. HOA fraud casts a shadow over community trust and safety, raising concerns and demanding vigilance. This blog explores the intricacies of HOA fraud, offering insights and strategies to safeguard communities against such vulnerabilities.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Say What? Court Says Boards Can E-mail (CA)
    The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District recently handed down a landmark decision impacting HOA governance. In LNSU #1 v. Alta Del Mar Coastal Collection Community Association, the court delves into the issue of e-mail communications between board members. For better or worse, the court essentially eviscerates the transparency component of the Open Meeting Act (located in the California Civil Code as part of the Davis-Stirling Act), allowing boards to communicate and deliberate by e-mail outside of a noticed and agendized meeting.        Read the article…………………………….
  • Mastering the Architectural Review Process
    Reviewing architectural applications is typically part of a community association manager’s bread and butter. However, the architectural review process can be fraught with stumbling blocks, and architectural disputes with homeowners can be drawn-out, expensive affairs. A few practice tips for processing architectural applications are listed below to help master the architectural review process:   Read the article…………………………….
  • Bridging the Gap: SB428 Expands Available Protections in the “HOA Workplace” (CA)
    By now, most individuals in the industry are aware of the newly adopted AB648 (virtual meetings) and AB1458 (lowered quorum). However, SB428 is another bill that managed to fly under the radar and will ultimately have a significant impact by providing associations with a more expansive tool to protect those who serve community associations, including board members and community managers.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Rules and Expectations of Managers and HOA Boards of Directors (CA)
    If you have never owned a home that has a governing homeowners association (HOA), it can be difficult to sort out who does what. While collaboration among everyone involved is what helps to drive a community forward, it’s helpful to clarify responsibilities and align goals.   Read the article…………………………….
  • The Road Ahead: Embracing EV Charging in Homeowners Associations (CA)
    The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) represents a pivotal shift in our approach to transportation, marking a step towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. However, for many living in communities managed by Homeowners Associations (HOAs), the adoption of EVs brings forth the challenge of setting up convenient charging infrastructure. This blog delves into how HOAs can embrace EV charging, making it an asset for their communities and paving the way for a greener future.  Read the article…………………………….
  • What Happens to Owner Equity? (CA)
    In past installments, we discussed why condominium projects are especially prone to a shortened service life. We analyzed why the condominium “business model” allows inadequate maintenance, leading to early deterioration. Finally, we listed the signs of failure—some obvious, some hidden—that will lead to a project’s obsolescence. In this installment, we will review what can be done with a failed or destroyed condominium project and what moves by the owners could go a long way to protecting their remaining equity.    Read the article…………………………….
  • CA FAIR Plan
    Many boards of directors have been asking about the California FAIR Plan (CFP) and wanting quotes. For communities that are experiencing difficulties in obtaining property insurance, it may sound like the perfect solution, but only because details important to community associations are often left out when the media and the CA Department of Insurance talk about the CA FAIR Plan. I’m here to give you some of those details.  Read the article…………………………….
  • When has a Condominium Building Reached the End of its Service Life? (CA)
    If you read the earlier installments of this series, you know that the service lives of condominium buildings are shortened by inspection, maintenance, and funding failures. Recognizing when a building may begin to reach the end of its service life may be easy or hard, depending on the type of failure. A catastrophic failure by fire, hurricane, or earthquake is instantaneous and needs little to recognize that its life is over. In these instances, we look to insurance, if available, significant owner funding, rarely available, and the value of any remaining assets, principally the land.     Read the article…………………………….
  • 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…………………………….
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