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TOO MANY PETS

Q. 
I have two dogs as pets and the CC&Rs of my association allow only one. Is there anything I can do short of moving?

A. 
Your alternatives are to move or give up one of your pets. The lesson is clear. Read the governing documents before you purchase a home within an association. Top


BOARD WON'T FIX LEAKY ROOF

Q. 
We live in a three story condominium complex in Woodland Hills that is over twenty years old. The roof needs replacement, but the association does not have the funds to replace it. It has been patched numerous times, over several years, but still leaks when it rains. Our roofer tells us that patching will only slow the water down and that we must replace the roof. This has been confirmed with a second opinion. The board has attempted three times to get a special assessment passed, but has failed to get one approved due to a combination of indifference and people on the lower floors refusing to pay the cost. Our ceiling, walls and furniture has been damaged. What can be done?

A. 
The board can approve an emergency assessment where there is a threat to personal safety on the property. While your situation may be a legal stretch, the board should immediately discuss the option with its legal counsel. Absent a special assessment and repair, your option is to sue the association for failing to maintain the common area. Top


CAN A SINGLE FAMILY HOME BE A CONDOMINIUM?

Q. 
We recently purchased a single family detached home in a subdivision. After our purchase, we read the CC&Rs. They indicate that we purchased a condominium. Is this possible?

A. 
Yes. A single family detached home can be a condominium. A condominium is a legal form of ownership. It is not an architectural style or building description. In these types of developments, “your lot” is probably exclusive use common area.

Developers often develop single family detached homes as condominiums because it allows them to provide smaller private yards than would be permitted with a planned development type of subdivision. Top


CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS

Q. 
We live in a community of new single family homes in Anaheim Hills that has an association and common area. Behind our home is a common area hillside that is draining water onto our lot because of an inadequate drainage system. The water is starting to lift our patio slabs and do other damage. We are concerned that with a heavy season of rain, the damage will become very serious. Our homeowners association refuses to sue the developer for construction defects because our home is the only one significantly impacted by the flow of water. Are we out of luck?

A. 
No. If the association refuses to protect your rights, an experienced construction defect attorney can file a derivative suit to protect those rights. You should consult an attorney immediately because you can lose your rights if you wait too long. Top


NO COMMON AREA

Q. 
Our homeowners association is incorporated in Los Angeles, but has absolutely no common area. Are we still regulated by the Davis-Stirling Act?

A. 
No. You are regulated primarily by your CC&Rs and the California Corporations Code. Top


FLYING THE AMERICAN FLAG

Q. 
We live in a large townhome association in Santa Clarita. We would like to fly the American flag and would like to know whether we have the right to do so.

A. 
Your homeowners association may not adopt any rule that would prevent you from displaying a flag of the United States on your private property, unless it is used in or in conjunction with an advertising display. Note that the association can prevent you from flying a flag on the common areas of the association. Top


FINE PROCEDURE

Q. 
What are the procedures that must be followed before an association can fine one of its members?

A. 
The California Civil Code sets forth the procedure for the fine process. When the board of directors of an association is to meet to consider or impose a fine or discipline upon a member, the board must give notice in writing, either by personal delivery or first class mail, at least 10 days prior to the board meeting. The notification must contain the date, time and location of the meeting, the nature of the alleged violation, and a statement that the member has the right to attend and may address the board of directors at the meeting.

If the board of directors imposes discipline on a member, including a fine, the board must provide a notification of the disciplinary action or fine by either personal delivery or first class mail to the member within 15 days following the action.

The disciplinary action or fine will not be effective against a member unless the board of directors complies with all of the requirements of the California Civil Code. Top


AMENDING ASSOCIATION CC&Rs

Q. 
The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of our homeowners association are over ten years old and in great need of updating. Due to community indifference, our association cannot obtain the 75% required approval needed to modernize the document. We have made three attempts and have failed each time. We are very frustrated because we have spent a considerable amount of money on legal fees without any result. What do you suggest?

A. 
While it is no substitution for updated CC&Rs, one alternative is to have your attorney prepare a detailed letter addressed to all members of the association which communicates the changes that have taken place in the law since the original document was recorded, and any other relevant comments. The letter can be attached to the CC&Rs and passed on to subsequent owners as well. Again, this is not substitute for updating your documents, but it will accomplish a great deal and should not cost much. Top


VIOLATION OF CC&Rs

Q. 
Is my association board in Simi Valley required to disclose to the members what the board is doing to cure a violation of the CC&Rs by a member?

A. 
No. Such enforcement actions are not required to be disclosed to the membership unless litigation has been commenced by the board.

The board has a duty to disclose to its members, information that is material to the members’ financial interest and which members must have in order to comply with their disclosure duties to lenders and buyers.

Upon inquiry by a member of the association as to what is being done about a particular violation of the CC&Rs, the best response is to simply inform the member that:

1) The board is (or has) investigated the matter, and
2) Will comply with its duty to enforce the CC&Rs. Top


NO SMOKING RULES

Q. 
Can our homeowners association establish a rule that prohibits smoking in the common areas?

A. 
In the absence of a provision in your CC&Rs that prohibits such a rule, the answer is yes. Directors of association boards have the right to make rules governing the use of the common areas so long as they are legal and not inconsistent with the CC&Rs. Keep in mind that such a rule can be over turned by a subsequent board of directors, and consequently, an amendment to your CC&Rs would make more sense if you want a long-term ban. Top


VIOLATION OF CC&Rs

Q. 
I live in a homeowners association and recently received a letter from our management company indicating that I am in violation of the CC&Rs. I believe that I am being treated more harshly than some other members of the association. Do I have the right to obtain, from the association or the management company, copies of violation letters sent to other homeowners?

A. 
You do not have such a right unless you are involved in litigation with the association. The constitutional right to privacy will protect other members of the association from allowing you inspect their files, unless you are involved in litigation. During litigation, all parties have the right to subpoena relevant records, including the violation letters sent to other homeowners. Top


AMENDMENT TO CC&Rs

Q. 
The board of directors of our townhome association would like to update our CC&Rs because they are over six years old.  Our CC&Rs require that the mortgage lenders approve certain types of amendments.  Is this provision legally enforceable by a mortgage lender?

A. 
Yes.  A mortgage lender has a vested interest in the CC&Rs of an association in which it has made a loan, because the town home is collateral for the loan.

Some CC&Rs amendments directly affect the security interest of a mortgage lender.  Others will indirectly affect the interest of a lender.  All mortgage lenders may become owners of units through the foreclosure process. Top


ONE YEAR LIMIT ON ASSOCIATION CONTRACTS

Q. 
I was recently elected to the board of directors of our townhome association in Ventura.  After becoming a member of the board, I reviewed several contracts that the prior board had signed.  Notwithstanding the fact that our CC&Rs limit association contracts to one year, the prior board signed a contract for master satellite dish services for a period of five years.  Our current board is not unhappy with the contract other than the fact that it violates our CC&Rs.  What are your comments?

A. 
There are statutory exceptions to the one-year limitation on contracts commonly found in association CC&Rs.  Entering into a contract with a third party to furnish goods or services to the association or its members for a term longer than one year is permitted as follows:

1) Agreements for cable television services and equipment or satellite dish television services and equipment are permitted so long as they do not exceed five years.

2) Lease agreements for laundry room fixtures and equipment are permitted so long as they do not exceed five years.

3) Agreements for the purchase or lease of burglar alarm and/or fire alarm equipment, installation and services are permitted so long as they do not exceed five years.

One stipulation is that contracts exceeding one year may not be entered into with an entity in which the developer has a direct or indirect ownership interest of ten percent or more.  Also, other contracts for a term not to exceed three years that may be terminated by the association, after not more than one year, without cause, penalty or other obligation, upon 90 days written notice of termination are also permitted. Top


EQUAL RIGHTS OF MEMBERSHIPS

Q. 
When a corporation for a homeowner association issues memberships, must the rights of each member be equal?

A. 
No.  In accordance with Section 7330 of the California Corporations Code, a corporation may issue memberships having different rights, privileges, preferences, restrictions, or conditions, as authorized by its articles or bylaws.  However, except as provided in or authorized by the articles or bylaws, all memberships shall have the same rights, privileges preferences, restrictions and conditions. Top


ENFORCEMENT OF CC&Rs

Q. 
We live in a large townhome development.  My neighbor has been in violation of the CC&Rs for several years.  The homeowners association has taken no action and probably will take no action in the future.  How long do I have to start an action against my neighbor for violation of the CC&Rs?

A. 
Per the California Code of Civil Procedure, you have five years from the time you discovered, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the violation.  However, your neighbor may have other defenses.  Consequently, the matter should be reviewed by an association attorney at the earliest possible time in order to make certain that your rights are not extinguished.

Q. 
Can a member of a homeowner’s association act independently to enforce the CC&Rs against another owner?

A. 
Yes.  The means for enforcement is either the court system or alternative dispute resolution (mediation or arbitration) depending on the type of violation. Top


FAILURE OF BOARD TO ENFORCE CC&Rs

Q. 
The board of directors of our homeowner association in Huntington Beach is permitting members of our association to grow ivy on the exterior stucco of our buildings.  The stucco is common area that must be repaired by the association if the ivy damages it.  Since I don’t want to be responsible to pay for stucco repairs through my association dues in the future, what should I do?  

A. 
First, point out to your board the specific provisions in your CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) that obligate the association to maintain the stucco.  Next, point out the fact that future stucco repairs are only one potential liability being created by permitting the ivy to grow on the stucco.  When ivy or other vines cause the water-proofing quality of stucco to be destroyed, moisture can enter the buildings causing substantial interior damage, including but not limited to mold infestation.  Some molds are highly toxic resulting in immune system disorders and other serious medical problems.  In short, your board is assuming a big and unnecessary risk by allowing ivy or other plant materials to grow on the stucco.
Top


FAILURE OF BOARD TO MAINTAIN COMMON AREA

Q. 
The common area of our homeowner association in San Diego floods around the area of my townhouse every time we get a strong rain.  The water easily reaches a depth of six inches which causes foundation movement and resulting interior damage.  The flooding and damage are due to the failure of our board of directors to maintain the existing drainage system and to enhance it where needed.  Is our association legally responsible for such maintenance?

A. 
Probably.  In accordance with section 1364 (a) of the California Civil Codes, “Unless otherwise provided in the declaration of a common interest development, the association is responsible for repairing, replacing, or maintaining the common areas other than exclusive use common areas***”

While you should check your CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions), it is highly unlikely that they require anyone other than the association to maintain the area described. Top


RESERVE ACCOUNTS

Q. 
Our homeowner association in Beverly Hills recently lost money on its mutual fund account.  Is a board of directors allowed to invest association funds in a mutual fund?

A. 
Absolutely not.  All funds must be placed in an insured account in a bank, savings and loan association or credit union. Top


TENANT USE OF RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

Q. 
Can an owner’s tenants and guests use the common area recreational facilities?

A. 
Yes, however, some CC&Rs place certain restrictions on use by guests. Top


OBTAINING GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

Q. 
I own a townhome in Lakewood but don’t have a complete set of governing documents.  How can I obtain a copy?

A. 
Within ten days of an owner’s written request, an association must provide copies of all governing documents including, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules, CC&Rs and either a subdivision map or condominium plan. Top


INSTALLATION OF SATELLITE DISHES

Q. 
Under the FCC rules, does an owner within a homeowner association have the right to install a satellite dish within the common area?

A. 
No. Top


INSTALLATION OF SATELLITE DISHES

Q. 
What types of restrictions apply to a homeowners association in establishing rules concerning the installation of satellite dishes?

A. 
There is only sufficient space in this column for the short answer.  You should contact an attorney for a complete answer.  

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibits restrictions that impair a viewer’s ability to receive signals from their property or exclusive use common area.  The federal law applies to rules that attempt to regulate property within the exclusive use or control of the dish owner where the user has an ownership interest in the property or rents it.

A restriction impairs if it:

1)         unreasonably delays or prevents use of,

2)         unreasonably increases the cost of, or

3)         precludes a subscriber from receiving an acceptable quality signal. Top


ARCHITECTURAL VIOLATIONS

Q. 
May our homeowners association record a “Notice of Violation of CC&Rs” against a member’s property for a serious architectural violation?

A. 
No.  Recordation of such a notice is not permitted.  However, such a notice is required by law to be provided to a prospective purchaser by the owner of the subject property. Top


BOARD REFUSAL TO ENFORCE CC&Rs

Q. 
We live in a home governed by a homeowners association in Garden Grove.  One of the members of the association is in violation of the CC&Rs on a continuing basis.  Is the association board required to sue the offender if other means are unsuccessful?

A. 
No.  A board may exercise prudent business discretion in deciding whether or not to sue for a violation of the governing documents. Top


ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Q. 
As a member of our homeowners association, I am very unhappy with several of the policies established by our board of directors.  Does the ADR process (Alternative Dispute Resolution) apply?

A. 
Only if the decision of your board relates to CC&R enforcement.  Otherwise, ADR does not apply.  Disputes not involving CC&R enforcement should be remedied through the election process.  Top


TOWING OF VEHICLES

Q. 
Our homeowners association in Northridge has an owner who insists on parking his vehicle in a marked fire lane.  What can we do?

A. 
The association may cause the removal (towing) of any vehicle, without notice, if the vehicle  is:

1)      Parked in a marked fire lane;

2)      Parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;

3)      Parked in a space designated for handicapped persons without proper authority; or

4)      Parked in a manner which interferes with any entrance to, or exit from, the common interest development or any separate interest contained therein.

If the offending vehicle is parked in an unauthorized area other than one of those areas set forth above, all of the following requirements must be satisfied before the vehicle may be towed:

1)      A sign (not less than 17 x 22 inches in size with lettering not less than one inch in height) must be placed at each entrance to the common interest development that contains:

a)      A statement that public parking is prohibited and that all vehicles not authorized to park will be removed at the owner’s expense, and 

b)      The telephone number of the local law  enforcement agency.

          The sign may also indicate that a citation may be issued for the violation.

2)      If the identity of the registered owner of the vehicle is known, or readily ascertainable, the president of the association, or his or her designee shall, within a reasonable time, notify the owner of the removal by first-class mail.

3)      If the identity of the owner of the vehicle is not known or ascertainable, the president of the association or his or her designee shall immediately notify the Department of Justice in Sacramento in accordance with Section 22853 of the Vehicle Code.  Top


MINIMUM AGE TO USE POOL

Q. 
I work for a small company that manages homeowner associations in Los Angeles County.  What is the minimum age allowed by law for unsupervised children to use a swimming pool or spa?

A. 
Unsupervised use by children under the age of fourteen is prohibited.  In addition, warning signs are required in accordance with Section 3119B.5 of the California Building Code and Title 22, Section 65539(c) of the Code of Regulations - Environmental Health.  Your pool maintenance company should be familiar with these requirements. Top


APPROVED COLORS FOR PAINTING

Q. 
After my recent election to the board of directors of our homeowners association, I carefully reviewed our governing documents.  I noted that while the CC&Rs require that all buildings be repainted one of five alternative colors, at least two prior boards have ignored this provision of the CC&Rs .  This has resulted in several members using unapproved colors.  The current board wants to enforce the CC&Rs from this point forward.  Are there any problems with this?

A. 
Probably not.  Unless there has been a clear intention by the association to waive enforcement of a certain use restriction, the failure to enforce it will generally not preclude the association’s right to enforce it in the future so long as the board does not discriminate or act in an arbitrary manner.  There are no California statutes that directly address the issue and no California cases precisely on point.  Consequently, it would make sense to have your association’s lawyer review all of the facts and then advise you accordingly. Top


REQUESTING FINANCIAL REPORTS

Q. 
I own a townhome in Santa Monica, but am not on the board of directors.  While attending a recent board meeting, I asked our management company representative for a current financial statement.  My request was denied and I was told that I am only entitled to a year-end report.  Is this correct?

A. 
No.  California law requires a board of directors to provide every member with a year-end financial report but it does not preclude you from receiving interim reports.  You are entitled to a monthly report, less the member delinquency report, but will be required to pay the cost of duplication.  You are also permitted to inspect association records for any association related purpose. Top


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Q. 
Our homeowners association has a restriction against members attaching anything, including lighting, to the common area.  The common area includes the roofs and exteriors of the buildings.  We interpret this to mean that members cannot attach Christmas lights to the exteriors of their townhomes.  Can the board make an exception to the restriction so members can put up their lights?

A. 
I believe your board will be safe in making a temporary exception to the restriction, however, don’t be shocked if someone complains.

Any rule concerning Christmas lights should include the following:

1)      The first date they may be installed,

2)      The last date for their removal,

3)      Any limits on the number of lights permitted (if applicable),

4)      The type of hardware permitted to be used for installation, and

5)      Any daily fine to be imposed if the lights are not removed on time. Top


DISPUTED ASSESSMENTS

Q. 
The management company for our homeowner association has billed me for assessments that I dispute.  They are constantly making errors.  How do I dispute an assessment?

A. 
Section 1366.3 of the California Civil Code permits owners, under certain circumstances, to dispute the imposition of assessments by their association using alternative dispute resolution.  To challenge an assessment, an owner must:

         A.     Pay in full to the association:

1)      The amount of the assessment in dispute;

2)      Late charges;

3)      Interest; and

4)       All fees and costs associated with the preparation and filing of a notice of delinquent assessment (lien), including all mailing costs, and including attorney’s fees not to exceed four hundred twenty-five dollars ($425)

B.       State by written notice that the amount is paid under protest; and,

C.        Mail such notice and payment to the association by certified mail not more than thirty days after the recording of the notice of delinquent assessment.

          Upon receipt of such notice (and payment), the association must inform the owner that the owner may resolve the dispute through alternative dispute resolution, as set fourth in Civil Code section 1354, civil action or any other procedure to resolve the dispute that may be available through the association.

          The right of any owner to dispute the imposition of an assessment may not be exercised more than two times in any single year, nor more than three times within any five calendar years.  Top


TERMITE AND DRY ROT REPAIRS

Q. 
Who is responsible for termite and dry rot repairs in a homeowners association?

A. 
In a condominium or stock cooperative, unless otherwise provided in the CC&Rs, the association is responsible for termite and dry rot repairs in the common areas. Unit owners are responsible for their units and exclusive use common areas.

In a planned development (formerly a PUD), unless otherwise provided in the CC&Rs, each owner is responsible for termite and dry rot repairs. However, upon approval of a majority of all members of the association, the responsibility for such repairs and maintenance may be delegated to the association. Top


NUISANCE BY MEMBER OF ASSOCIATION

Q. 
We live in a planned development with CC&Rs. Our neighbor has created a nuisance by installing lighting that does not comply with the architectural restrictions. The board of directors refuses to do anything about it. What can we do?

A. 
The covenants and restriction in your CC&Rs, unless unreasonable, are enforceable by any owner of a separate interest (home), or by the association or both. Thus, you have the right to bring suit to abate the nuisance. Your suit can include a claim for money damages, including legal fees, as well as a request for injunctive relief. Top


CHILD CARE FACILITIES

Q. 
We live in a Moorpark neighborhood that consists solely of single family dwellings. Our neighbor began running a state licensed family child care home at their residence this year. We object to this business activity due to the traffic and parking problems caused by parents dropping off and picking up their children throughout the day. This situation is aggravated by the same neighbors keeping five vehicles on their premises, all of which are parked in their driveway and in the street. Their three-car garage is used solely for storage. A vehicle cannot fit in it. We also object to the increased liability we are exposed to should an accident occur involving us and their customers. The CC&Rs for our development state "The lots shall be used solely for private one-family residences" and "No lot shall be used in such a manner as to *** annoy the occupants of other lots by *** offensive trade or activity". There is not an active homeowners association to enforce these rules which are about 14 years old. What avenues are available to us to stop this business activity?

A. 
The California legislature (as set forth in Section 1597.43 of the Health and Safety Code) has found and declared the following:

Family day care homes operated under the standards of state law constitute accessory uses of residentially zoned and occupied properties and do not fundamentally alter the nature of the underlying residential uses. Family day care homes draw clients and vehicles to their sites during a limited time of day and do not require the attendance of a large number of employees and equipment.

Section 1597.40(b) declares:

          "Every provision in a written instrument entered into relating to real property which purports to forbid or restrict the conveyance, encumbrance, leasing, or mortgaging of the real property for use or occupancy as a family day care home for children, is void and every restriction or prohibition in any such written instrument as to the use or occupancy of the property as a family day care home for children is void."

Thus, under current law neither you nor your association can prohibit the operation of the day care facility.

On the other hand, if the operator (who is a member of the association) is violating parking restrictions as set forth in you CC&Rs, either you or your association can file suit against the member(s) to enforce the CC&Rs. In most cases, the prevailing party would be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable legal fees and costs.

Lastly, all licensed day care operators are required to have insurance as set forth in Section 1597.531. Pursuant to this Section, the operator can be required to name the association as additional insured.

The members of your association should definitely establish an active association in accordance with your bylaws and CC&Rs in order to protect both the association (of which you are all members) and the individual homeowners. Failure to do so, will increase your exposure to all types of risks and will likely result in lower property values. Top


INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS OF MEMBERS

Q. 
Can our homeowners association amend its CC&Rs to require each member to carry both earthquake and loss assessment coverages in addition to the standard coverages?

A. 
Yes. After the Northridge Earthquake, owners who had earthquake and loss assessment coverages faired substantially better than owners who did not have these coverages. Their associations also did much better. Consequently, we believe it is critically important for association members to have both earthquake and loss assessment coverages.

While we believe that a CC&R provision requiring owners to maintain insurance would be legally enforceable, we are not aware of any published court decisions that address this issue.

Most importantly, such a CC&R provision would be effective only if the board of directors carefully monitors the submission of insurance certificates. Should the board fail to enforce such a provision and a disaster takes place, an owner may attempt to hold the board and/or the association responsible for any damages. Top


EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE COMMON AREA

Q. 
The CC&Rs of our condominium association prohibit the association from conveying an interest in the common area to anyone. Given this restriction, can the board grant an exclusive easement over the common area to an individual homeowner?

A. 
No. Granting an exclusive easement over the common area to a homeowner is a conveyance that would be prohibited. Under no circumstances should your board attempt such a transfer. Top


DISCRIMINATORY LANGUAGE IN CC&Rs

Q. 
We live in a home located in a subdivision created in the 1940's. The CC&Rs include restrictions against selling to certain persons based on their religion. We know the restriction is unenforceable. Can we ignore it, or are we required to take some other action?

A. 
In 1948 this type of restriction became unenforceable. Until the end of 1999, no action was required. However, beginning January 1, 2000, a new law required that any CC&Rs or other governing documents that include a restrictive covenant in violation of the law must be amended, by action of the board of directors, to repeal such language. Further, any person may bring an action against the association for injunctive relief to require it to remove such a provision. In addition, a court may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in such an action.

The law also provided that after January 1, 2001, the existence of such a restrictive covenant constitutes prohibited discrimination, regardless of whether the covenant is accompanied by a statement that it is repealed or void. Top


LEAK FROM CONDOMINIUM ABOVE

Q. 
The condominium above ours has a defective shower pan that leaks into our home. Our management company insists that we must deal directly with the person above us and will offer no assistance. Their position is that the association has no power to act. Are they correct, or should they take action to force the owner with the leaking pan to repair it?

A. 
Your association has the power to act whenever common area property is being damaged by a member of the association. If the defective shower pan is allowing water to wet the internal structure of the building (common area), it may cause dry rot, electrical problems, or other damage. Thus, the association has the power to act.

If your management company and association will not provide you with assistance, you may take legal action yourself. Before filing a suit against your neighbor, your attorney should review your CC&Rs. If a claim can be brought for the enforcement of the CC&Rs, you may be entitled to recovery of legal fees. Top


AMENDING ASSOCIATION CC&Rs

Q. 
Our homeowners association in Inglewood is intending to amend its CC&Rs. Will it be necessary to obtain the approval of the California Department of Real Estate to any amendment?

A. 
Possibly. When a proposed amendment to CC&Rs affects the rights to ownership, possession, or use of the common area, at a time when the subdivider holds at least 25% of the voting power (that can vote for the proposed amendment), the amendment constitutes a material change, and the Department of Real Estate must then give its approval prior to any solicitation of the members for a vote on the proposed amendment. Top


RESTRICTING SALES

Q. 
Our association in Studio City has recently adopted an amendment to our CC&Rs that requires purchasers of homes in our community to put at least 50% down. The intention is to discourage buyers who cannot afford to pay our association’s assessments. We are tired of dealing with delinquency problems. Is this amendment enforceable?

A. 
Probably not. Courts will not enforce unreasonable restraints on alienation (the sale or leasing of property). A 50% down payment requirement will probably be considered unreasonable because most second trust deed lenders do not require such large down payments or equity positions. Your association is effectively in the same position as a second trust deed lender, in terms of risk. Top


CONFLICTS IN GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

Q. 
In reviewing the bylaws and CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) of our homeowner association, our board has noted several conflicts. Which document takes precedence?

A. 
CC&Rs take precedence over bylaws when a conflict occurs. Top


RENTING GUEST PARKING SPACES

Q. 
The board of directors of our townhome association in Pasadena has decided to rent out several guest parking spaces to individual members of our association. Can they legally so this? Their
action has created a shortage of visitor parking spaces.

A. 
Absent a highly unusual provision in your CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions ), the answer is no. The common area is owned by all members of the association and may be used by or for the benefit of all members except in cases where sixty-seventy percent of the members vote to grant an exclusive right to use the spaces.

In addition, many cities prohibit the conversion of guest parking spaces to non-guest use.

You may check with your local city or county building department concerning such restrictions. Top


LAKE MAINTENANCE ASSESSMENTS

Q. 
I live within a large homeowner association in Agoura Hills that includes a lake which is surrounded by homes. My home is not within view of the lake, nor do we use it. It seems unfair for us to be assessed for the maintenance of the lake when we can’t even see it. Do we have any recourse?

A. 
Other than moving, no. If your CC&Rs ( Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) require that you pay a share of the maintenance, you must do so. It is a contractual obligation you agreed to when you purchased your home.

Even if you cannot see the lake or don’t use it for recreational purposes, it is a unique amenity that increases the value of your property. Top


WHAT ARE GOVERNING DOCUMENTS?

Q. 
The CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) of our homeowners association refers to the term "governing documents". Are rules of the association included within the definition of governing documents?

A. 
Yes. Section 1351 of the California Civil Code defines governing document as CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions), bylaws, operating rules and articles of incorporation. Top


REIMBURSEMENT OF LEGAL FEES

Q. 
I intend to sue another member of our homeowners association who has created a serious nuisance which is a violation of our CC&Rs. Can I get reimbursed for legal fees?

A. 
Possibly. Section 1354(f) of the California Civil Code states that in any action to enforce the governing documents, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

Be certain to comply with the Civil Code’s ADR (alternative dispute resolution) requirements before filing suit. Top


INSURANCE COVERAGE

Q. 
Our homeowner association has a master insurance policy that covers the common area. Is the insurance company under a legal duty to review our CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) to determine the extent of our common areas before processing a claim for damages?

A. 
No. They are only required to review the insurance policy issued to determine what is covered. Top


DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE

Q. 
Does the Department of Real Estate assist with the enforcement of homeowner association bylaws and CC & Rs?

A. 
Homeowner associations are subject to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code Sections 1350 et seq.), which is designed to provide homeowners with a system of self government and dispute resolution. The Department of Real Estate reviews the legal framework of all new homeowner associations to ensure compliance with the Subdivided Lands Law through the public report application process prior to the homes being offered for sale to the public. Once sales have commenced, the Department’s jurisdiction is limited to the subdivider’s obligations under the public report, which does not include intervention in association disputes. Presently, there is no state or local agency that regulates associations or their members. Top


BOARD REFUSES TO ENFORCE CC&Rs

Q. 
I live in a zero-lot-line homeowner association in Simi Valley, where the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) make the association responsible for exterior stucco repairs and maintenance except for situations where a member of the association has caused the damage. Each member of the association is responsible for interior repairs.

My neighbor has planted ivy in her yard which has attached itself to the exterior of my townhome in an area where only my neighbor has access. I am concerned that the ivy will eventually damage the stucco leading to water intrusion and interior damage. The board of directors seems to be reluctant to request that my neighbor remove the ivy. What should I do?

A. 
You should advise your board of directors in writing of their obligation as set forth in your CC & Rs . Specifically, you should point out that the board should either require your neighbor to remove the ivy, or agree to recommend to the full membership , a proposed amendment to the CC & Rs that would require the association to make both exterior and interior repairs caused by exterior plants.

It is highly unlikely that your board will choose to amend the CC & Rs as such. It is more likely that they will agree to request the removal of the ivy.

If the board fails to do anything, you probably will have documented your file sufficiently to hold the association responsible if damage takes place in the future. Also, to be safe, I recommend that you send copies of your correspondence to any new members who join the board at a later date. Top


AMENDING ASSOCIATION CC&Rs

Q. 
Our homeowner association is fairly old. Should we go to the expense of updating our governing documents?

A. 
If you answer "yes" to one or more of the following questions, you should seriously consider revising your governing documents:

1) Are your CC&Rsover five years old?

If so, the document does not reflect a substantial portion of the legislation specifically enacted by the state legislature to govern the conduct and administration of associations.

It is important to realize that one of the primary purposes of CC&Rs is to provide notice to the members (including new buyers) of their legal rights and obligations. Revised CC&Rs, which reference all of the current code sections, will meet the disclosure obligations of the board and management company.

2) Does your board find it necessary to regularly obtain legal opinions regarding provisions in the documents either because they are ambiguous or because they do not include recently enacted legislation?

While the need for future legal opinions may not be completely eliminated, well written, up-to-date documents (that are clear, concise and comprehensive) can substantially reduce the need for legal opinions and can save your association far more money, in the long run, than the short term cost of revision.

3) Do your governing documents adequately address possible disasters such as earthquakes and fires?

Until the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, many governing documents did not address this complex issue adequately. For example, after the earthquake, it became obvious that many governing documents required boards to make critical decisions before it was possible for them to become adequately informed on all relevant issues. This often resulted in less than optimum decisions that turned out to be very expensive for the association.

4) Do your governing documents include obsolete references to the developer and the rights of the declarant, which cause confusion?

These obsolete provisions can be eliminated, thus making the documents more concise and clear.

5) Do your governing documents omit important rules (such as parking rules) that, if included, would improve your ability to manage the association?

If your rules are inadequate, comprehensive (and legally enforceable) rules can be included in a revised set of governing documents. Top


DISCOURAGING RENTERS

Q. 
Is it possible to amend our CC&Rs so as to discourage renters?

A. 
Yes. While courts discourage unreasonable provisions to prevent owners from renting their properties, there are a number of ways to do so in a reasonable way. You should contact an attorney whose practice includes this area of law. Not all attorneys have the experience to amend governing documents for common interest developments.
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ASSOCIATION SUED BY MEMBER

Q. 
Our management company recently recorded an assessment lien against the property of a delinquent homeowner. Before recording the lien, they carefully read the CC&Rs and then followed the requirements, only to find out afterwards that the CC&Rs were outdated and did not reflect the current law. As a result, we were sued by the delinquent homeowner and forced to pay a large sum of money to settle the case. Can we recover from our management company?

A. 
I believe you have a good negligence case. Your management company fell below the standard of care by failing to comply with the current legal requirements. The recordation of liens can have serious consequences and should be supervised by an attorney.

The situation you have described clearly illustrates the importance of amending your association’s CC&Rs in order to make certain they reflect current law.
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PITBULL

Q. 
Someone just moved into our condominium association in Cerritos, with a large pitbull dog. It hasn’t attacked anyone, but it is very aggressive and nearly everyone is concerned about it. Our CC&Rs are silent on the subject expect for permitting members to own up to two domestic animals. What should we do?

A. 
It would have been easier to prevent this problem by amending your CC&Rs before the pitbull was brought onto the property. Attempting to deal with the problem after the fact is much more difficult, but not impossible. The dog may constitute a nuisance which is probably a violation of your CC&Rs. More facts are needed to adequately answer your question. The lesson is clear, however: It is far better to address these types of issues with a CC&R amendment before the anticipated problem becomes a real problem.
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SATELLITE DISH RULES

Q. 
How do I learn more about Satellite Dish Antenna Rules for homeowner associations?

A. 
Visit Satellite Dish Antenna Rules on our website.
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CAN'T AFFORD RESTATED OR AMENDED CC&RS

Q. 
Our homeowner association in Burbank is relatively small and can’t afford to restate or amend its CC&Rs even though they are obsolete. Do we have any options?

A. 
Yes. For a substantially reduced fee, we can review your CC&Rs and provide your HOA with a “CC&R Advisory” that can be distributed to the members of your homeowner association and attached to the association’s CC&Rs.

The CC&R Advisory is not a restatement or amendment and is not recorded. It does not have to be approved by the membership of your association. The CC&R Advisory is a legal opinion setting forth a summary of the major changes to the law enacted since your CC&Rs were approved and recorded. While not as beneficial as a restatement of your CC&Rs, it provides a valuable service at less than 20% of the cost. Top

 



ASSIGNMENT OF RENTS

Q. 
We have several homeowners in our association who are severely delinquent in paying their assessments but collect rent each month from their tenants.
What do you recommend?

A. 
If your CC&Rs include an "Assignment of Rents" provision, your association
can collect the assessments directly from the tenants. If your associations'
CC&Rs do not include this type of provision, your board should consider a
simple amendment. Otherwise, your association must follow the same procedure as though the units were not rented. It is far easier to collect assessments when the CC&Rs include an assignment of rents provision.
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DAY CARE CENTERS

Q. 
Our HOA recently sent a letter to one of our members demanding that she
cease using her condominium as a day care center. The owner refused and told us that we cannot stop her from running a day care center as long as the
number of children does not exceed 14. Is this correct?

A. 
Yes, however there are some additional conditions. The California State Legislature has determined that day care centers may be operated in residential communities so long as the number of children does not exceed 14 and do not stay over 24 hours at a time. Other conditions include licensing, insurance, proper supervision of the children, indemnification of the homeowner association, and following certain regulations and operating procedures.
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FINES ON FINES

Q. 
Can the board of my condominium association levy a fine on a member of our association for failure to pay a prior fine?

A. 
No. Fines may be levied only for violating the Operating Rules or CC&Rs of an association assuming they are written so as to authorize fines.

Your association can sue a member of the association in small claims court for failure to pay a fine. The likelihood of having a judgment entered against a non - paying member, which will harm their credit, may be a greater incentive to pay a fine levied by the association through its board.
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FIRE RISK

Q. 
One of the homeowners in our condominium building in Thousand Oaks barbeques on his covered balcony. The board is very concerned about the possibility of a fire. Do you have any recommendations?

A. 
The barbeque may be a violation of California Fire Codes Sections 308.3.1 and 308.3.1.1 which state that open - flame cooking devices may not be operated on combustible balconies or within ten feet of combustible construction. The law also places limits on propane containers. You should check to see if your city has adopted these codes. The only exceptions are for single family dwellings and buildings that have automatic sprinkler systems that include all interiors, balconies, and decks.

Even if your building is excepted, the association board may adopt a rule prohibiting open fires on balconies.
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RULES FOR CHILDREN

Q. 
Our association board is very concerned about the safety of the children living within our condominium complex. Can we create a rule prohibiting children from skateboarding within the common areas?

A. 
Such a rule would probably be considered discriminatory. A rule prohibiting all persons from skateboarding would probably be enforceable.
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EVICTION OF TENANT BY BOARD

Q. 
Can the board of directors of our homeowners association evict the tenant of a member if the tenant is violating rules of the association?

A. 
No. Only the owner of a property can evict the tenant. If the tenant is violating rules of the Association, the board of directors should take action against the member. This can be in the form of a nuisance lawsuit or fines. Some associations have included language in their CC&Rs allowing the association to evict tenants. I believe this is a dangerous approach.
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WATER INTRUSION AND MOLD

Q. 
My twenty year old condominium in Los Angeles is located on a large slope which means that part of my living room is below grade. The wall has been leaking for five years because of poor water proofing. I have complained to the board but they refuse to spend the money for repairs since I am the only owner with this problem. What can I do? I am certain the wall is full of mold. I cannot sell my unit under the circumstances and I have been turned down for a lower interest rate loan because of the problem.

A. 
If your CC&Rs are written like most, the HOA is responsible for the repair. There is no reason for you to suffer any longer. Experienced HOA attorneys will represent you on a contingency basis and will advance any costs required.
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WATER INTRUSION CLAIM

Q. 
What is the most common claim made by a condominium unit owner against the association and how is it typically resolved?

A. 
The most common claim made by the owners of condominium units against their homeowner associations is that their unit is experiencing water intrusion because the association has failed to maintain the common area. Generally, this involves leaking roofs, decks, planters, walls, and windows, and often improper slopes and drainage. When a condominium unit owner makes a claim against the association, it is generally because the statue of limitations has run and therefore a claim cannot be made against the developer of the condominium community.

When a condominium unit owner has exhausted his or her patience with the board and files a lawsuit against the association, (not the board), the association will almost always contact its insurance company. Assuming there is coverage, the insurance company will hire a law firm to represent the association and the law firm will hire any appropriate experts needed to investigate the situation and provide advice on how to remedy the problem.

As part of the process, the plaintiff's attorney will hire one or more experts to provide advice and repair cost estimates.

After all experts have completed their investigations, have developed a scope of repairs, and cost estimates, a mediation session will be arranged so that the parties can avoid further litigation and settle the matter short of going to court. In 99% of these matters, the dispute is settled in mediation.

Settlements usually, but not always, consist of the following:

The association agrees to repair the common area in a manner that is acceptable to the expert working for the plaintiff's attorney;
   
The association agrees to pay the plaintiff a dollar amount sufficient to make interior repairs and pay for loss of use; and
   
The association agrees to pay all of the plaintiff's attorney fees and costs.
   
Most importantly, depending upon the insurance coverage, the cost of settling the case will be paid in part or completely by the insurance company.
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SOLAR PANELS

Q. 
Can homeowner associations prohibit members from installing solar panels?

A. 
According to California law, associations cannot prohibit solar systems, impose restrictions that significantly increase their cost, or impose restrictions that significantly decrease their efficiency. However, associations can prohibit members from installing their solar systems in or on common area property.
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NOTICE OF NON COMPLIANCE

Q. 
Can our homeowner association legally record a document against a lot within our community that would put a future buyer on notice that the home is in violation of our architectural requirements?

A. 
No. Up until a few years ago, an association could record a Notice of Noncompliance with the County Recorders Office describing any violation of the CC&Rs. The process worked very well in protecting associations as well as potential buyers. Unfortunately, an activist court over-ruled the State Legislature making the notice procedure unlawful.
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GRANDFATHER PROVISION

Q. 
What does it mean to grandfather something?

A. 
A grandfather provision or grandfathering creates an exception to a new rule. For example, if a new rule restricted members of an association from painting their home the color gray, a member who already had a gray home would not be required to change it. The restriction would apply to all homes not already gray. Grandfathering is standard procedure for most new rules but not in every situation.
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MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING

Q. 
Our governing documents do not include a definition of a "Member in Good Standing". How is it defined absent a provision in the CC&Rs and Bylaws?

A. 
A member in good standing is a member as defined in the Bylaws who is current in paying his or her assessments and not in violation of the governing documents. To declare a member to be not in good standing requires a due process hearing by the board in open session unless the member requests that it be held in executive session.
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NUISANCE BY MEMBER

Q. 
Can the burning of incense be considered a nuisance by the board of directors of our association?

A. 
Yes, if it satisfies the definition of a nuisance as set forth in the CC&Rs, or California Civil Code.
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CHILDREN'S USE OF SPA

Q. 
Can our association prohibit children from using our spa? We are concerned about safety.

A. 
Yes. You are probably safe in prohibiting children under the age of six from using the spa even with adult supervision. Children between the ages of six and thirteen must always be supervised by a responsible adult.
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USE OF CLUBHOUSE

Q. 
Can our association adopt a rule prohibiting the use of our clubhouse for religious study? We are concerned about the possible teaching from the Qur'an.

A. 
No. As long as all other rules are complied with, members may use the clubhouse for any religious studies.
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DISADVANTAGES TO MIXED USE PROPERTY

Q. 
I am considering purchasing a residential condominium in a mixed use development. I like the convenience of the retail stores on the lower level. What are some of the disadvantages?

A. 
Disputes frequently arise over the following:
  

Allocation of expenses,
Traffic and parking,
Nuisance issues such as cooking odors, and
Security considerations   Top
   


DON'T PURCHASE CONDOMINIUM

Q. 
We were about to make an offer to purchase a condominium in Los Angeles when we learned that the board's attempt to get restated CC&Rs failed to get approved. The existing CC&Rs were recorded in 1998 so they are totally obsolete and do not reflect the current laws. The proposed CC&Rs are in no way harmful to the membership, make many improvements, and most importantly, reflect the current laws. There is really no good reason for members of the association to vote them down other than ignorance. I am concerned and would like your opinion.

A. 
I would recommend that you purchase a condominium in another community. The type of community you have described is not a good place to invest your money. There are many condominiums on the market where the membership understands the value of modern CC&Rs.
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HEARING PROCEDURES

Q. 
Our board recently held a hearing to determine whether to fine a member for an alleged rule violation. The board allowed hearsay to be introduced. Is this allowable by law?

A. 
Yes. Boards are not required to follow the California Rules of Evidence used by courts. They may hear the evidence and then weigh it based on their own determination of its reliability.
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FINES ON FINES

Q. 
Can the board of my condominium association levy a fine on a member of our association for failure to pay a prior fine?

A. 
No. Fines may be levied only for violating the Operating Rules or CC&Rs of an association assuming they are written so as to authorize fines.

Your association can sue a member of the association in small claims court for failure to pay a fine. The likelihood of having a judgment entered against a non – paying member, which will harm their credit, may be a greater incentive to pay a fine levied by the association through its board.
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PAINT COLOR RESTRICTIONS

Q. 
We have had owners within our association in Newhall paint their homes some rather unusual and unattractive colors. Can we amend our CC&Rs to require owners to select from a list of approved paint colors?

A. 
Yes. Many associations do this in order to maintain an attractive appearance.
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SMOKING IN COMMON AREAS

Q. 
Is it legally permissible for an association to prohibit smoking in common areas?

A. 
Yes. Homeowner associations are commonly amending their CC&Rs to prohibit smoking in common areas. Many are also prohibiting smoking in balconies and in patio areas.
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LIMITING WATER USE

Q. 
Our association water bills have dramatically increased over the last few years. Can our community association amend our CC&Rs to prohibit the washing of cars in the common areas?

A. 
Yes. Your HOA can prohibit members from using the common areas to wash vehicles, boats and trailers. It can also prohibit members from using common area water for such purposes. Since car washes recycle their water, utilizing a car wash saves water and it transfers the cost to the users.
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PIT BULLS

Q. 
Can we amend our CC&Rs to prohibit pit bulls and other aggressive breeds of dogs?

A. 
Yes. Your insurance company will love you for it.
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NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY

Q. 
Our homeowners association in Lancaster is not being run properly by the board of directors. Is there a government agency that has the power to oversee homeowners associations?

A. 
Unless the developer is still involved as an owner, no such government agency exists in California. Every member of the association has the right to enforce the governing documents through the process of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which involves either mediation or arbitration, or through use of the courts.

If the developer is still involved, the California Department of Real Estate will have jurisdiction over some matters.

Some disputes are political in nature and have nothing to do with enforcement of the governing documents. These types of disputes can only be resolved through the election process. A board of directors of an association has the power to do a great deal of good or harm. Consequently, electing a quality board is critical to the success of your association.
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DAVIS-STIRLING ACT

Q. 
What exactly is the Davis-Stirling Act?

A. 
The Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act consists of sections 1350 through 1378 of the California Civil Code. These code sections deal exclusively with common interest developments, which includes community apartment projects, condominiums, planned developments, and stock cooperatives. Other laws which affect common interest developments are the Federal Communication Commission Regulations, California Health and Safety Code, Corporations Code, Code of Civil procedure and Government Code.
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WATER DAMAGE

Q. 
I own a condominium and have suffered a substantial loss due to water damage. I want to file a claim with the association's insurance carrier but our board and management company will not allow it. Am I within my rights to file a claim?

A. 
Yes. Members of an association are considered additional insureds under the association's policy and therefore have an absolute right to benefit from the association's coverage. It is your policy as much as it is the association's policy.

California Code of Regulations, Title 10 Chapter 5, Subchapter 8 states that an insurance agent is obligated to immediately transmit a notice of claim to the insurance company regardless of whether the claim is made by the association or homeowner.

Also note that in accordance with section 1365 (e) (I) of the California Civil Code, the association's board is required to distribute to all of its members a summary of its insurance policies, including but not limited to, the name of the insurer(s) within sixty days preceding the beginning of the association's fiscal year.
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COMMERCIAL USE OF RESIDENCE

Q. 
The CC&Rs of our association prohibit the commercial or business use of any home within our community. Notwithstanding, one of the owners is running a day care business and refuses to cease. What can we do? The entire community is upset with the constant traffic and noise.

A. 
Unfortunately for your community, the California legislature has determined that permitting day care centers in residential communities meets with their objectives.

The state has defined a “day care home” as a home that regularly provides care, protection, and supervision for 14 or fewer children for periods of less than 24 hours per day. Although homeowner associations cannot prohibit day care homes, they can adopt reasonable regulations as set forth in the California Health and Safety Code.
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TERMITE TREATMENT

Q. 
Our condominium association in West Covina calls for the association to treat for termites in the common areas and for homeowners to treat for termites in their units as set forth in the California Civil Code. Can we modify our CC&Rs to require the association to treat for all termites? This seems to be more practical.

A. 
Yes. Many condominium associations find this to be more practical than dividing the responsibility, and are amending their CC&Rs accordingly.  Top


RESPONSIBILITY FOR WATER DAMAGE

Q. 
Can our condominium association amend its CC&Rs to make every condominium owner responsible for interior damage caused by water intrusion?

A. 
Yes. However, unit owners may still claim that the association is responsible for such repairs due to negligence.  Top


FIRE DAMAGE

Q. 
Our association common areas were recently damaged by fire. Our, insurance coverage proved to be less than adequate. Can we amend our CC&Rs to require minimum insurance coverages?

A. 
Yes. Modern CC&Rs generally specify minimum insurance coverages. It is important that your CC&Rs adequately address this important issue.  Top


INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLE

Q. 
Our association just lost a case in small claims court over the issue of who is responsible for paying the association's insurance deductible. Can we amend our CC&Rs to address this subject?

A. 
Yes. It is common for associations and homeowners to argue over who has responsibility for paying the insurance deductible because many CC&Rs don't adequately address this subject.  Top


CC&Rs NEED TO BE RESTATED

Q. 
Our association has not restated its CC&Rs since 1978. Can we amend our CC&Rs to require that they be restated every five years?

A. 
No. Since the members of every association must approve amendments and restatements, your association cannot require that the CC&Rs be amended or restated. However, you can require that the board submit proposed restated CC&Rs to the membership for their approval every five years.

If you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, you should seriously consider revising your governing documents:

1. Are your CC&Rs over five years old?
   
  If so, the document does not reflect a substantial portion of the legislation specifically enacted by the state legislature to govern the conduct and administration of associations.

It is important to realize that one of the primary purposes of CC&Rs is to provide notice to the members (including new buyers) of their legal rights and obligations. Revised CC&Rs, which reference all of the current code sections, will meet the disclosure obligations of the board and management company.
   
2. Does your board find it necessary to regularly obtain legal opinions regarding provisions in the documents either because they are ambiguous or because they do not include recently enacted legislation?
   
  Revised documents will be clear, concise and comprehensive. While the need for future legal opinions may not be completely eliminated, well written, up-to-date documents can substantially reduce the need for legal opinions and can save your association far more money, in the long run, than the short term cost of revision.
   
3. Do your governing documents adequately address possible disasters such as earthquakes and fires?
   
Until the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, many governing documents did not address this complex issue adequately. For example, after the earthquake, it became obvious that many governing documents required boards to make critical decisions before it was possible for them to become adequately informed on all relevant issues. This often resulted in less than optimum decisions that turned out to be very expensive for the association.
   
4. Do your governing documents include obsolete references to the developer and the rights of the declarant which cause confusion?
   
  These obsolete provisions can be eliminated, thus making the documents more concise and clear.
   
5. Do your governing documents omit important rules (such as parking rules) that, if included, would improve your ability to manage the association?
   
  If your rules are inadequate, comprehensive (and legally enforceable) rules can be included in a revised set of governing documents.
  Top

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Q. 
Our board recently spent almost $500 on having our condominium buildings professionally decorated for Christmas. While the cost was less than $10 per unit, I would like to know if they have legal authority to use our funds this way?

A. 
Unless the CC&Rs of your association prohibit such an expenditure, the board can exercise its judgment by voting on the matter at an open meeting. The trend is for more and more homeowner associations to decorate their common areas for Christmas and other holidays such as the 4th of July.  Top


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