I am on the board of directors of my homeowners association located in Long Beach. We
have an architectural committee. Traditionally, the architectural
committee has been concerned with building code compliance. Is this
an appropriate matter to be commented upon by an architectural committee?
No. Architectural committees should be concerned about compliance
with the CC&Rs, Rules and Regulations and the appearance of
proposed modifications. Compliance with building codes should
be left to the local city or county. If your architectural committee
assumes responsibility for making comments on possible code violations,
it places your association in a position to be held liable in
the event that it makes an error in judgment. There is no reason
for an association to assume that responsibility. Top
SATELLITE DISH RULES
How do I learn more about Satellite Dish Antenna Rules for homeowner associations?
Visit Satellite Dish Antenna Rules on our website.
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
Yes. Section 4150 of the California Civil Code defines governing
document as CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions),
bylaws, operating rules and articles of incorporation. Top
What are the procedures that must be followed before an association
can fine one of its members?
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
Can our homeowners association establish a rule that prohibits
smoking in the common areas?
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
TO USE POOL
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
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
Our homeowner association would like to adopt a rule prohibiting
children from playing in the common area streets. The purpose
of the rule would be to minimize the risk that a child will be
injured. Can we legally adopt the proposed rule?
Assuming your association's governing documents do not prohibit
the adoption of such a rule, your board of directors can adopt
a rule that prohibits all people (not only children) from specified
activities on defined portions of the common area of your association.
By applying the rule to all persons, your board of directors will
probably avoid the claim that your association is discriminating
against children or families with children. Top
SHOULD REVIEW RULES
The management company of our association has offered to re-write
our rules. The hourly
rate is far below what our attorney would charge for the same
work. Do you have
any recommendations or comments?
Yes. Your management company
would not be doing the same work as your law firm. Only attorneys
are permitted to offer legal advice. Writing rules for an association
comes dangerously close to practicing law and may cross the line.
I recommend that any new rules be written by your attorney
or at least, reviewed and approved by him or her. Top
OF ARCHITECTURAL REQUIREMENT BY FORMER OWNER
We recently purchased a townhome in Valencia only to find out that the former
owners had previously been notified in writing by the board of directors
that their patio cover did not meet the architectural requirements
of the community. What can we do?
Section 4525 was added to the California Civil Code
to deal with this type of problem. Under this section, a copy
or a summary of any notice previously sent to the owner that sets
forth any alleged violation of the governing documents that remains
unresolved must be provided to the prospective purchaser as soon
as practical before transfer of title.
Any person or entity who
willfully violates this section can be held liable to the purchaser
for actual damages and, in addition, a fine not to exceed $500.00. Top
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?
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.Top
RULES FOR CHILDREN
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?
Such a rule is discriminatory. A rule prohibiting all persons from skateboarding would probably be enforceable. Top
Can homeowner associations prohibit members from installing solar panels?
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. Top
NUISANCE BY MEMBER
Can the burning of incense be considered a nuisance by the board of directors of our association?
Yes, if it satisfies the definition of a nuisance as set forth in the CC&Rs, or California Civil Code.Top
SUPERVISION OF CHILDREN
Our homeowner association in Valencia has several rules that require adult supervision of children under certain circumstances. Can we require that the adult be a parent of the child?
No. Any adult can supervise a child if acceptable to the parent. Top
CHILDREN'S USE OF SPA
Can our association prohibit children from using our spa? We are concerned about safety.
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.Top
USE OF CLUBHOUSE
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.
No. As long as all other rules are complied with, members may use the clubhouse for any religious studies. Top
FINES ON FINES
Can the board of my condominium association levy a fine on a member of our association for failure to pay a prior fine?
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. Top
PAINT COLOR RESTRICTIONS
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?
Yes. Many associations do this in order to maintain an attractive appearance.Top
SMOKING IN COMMON AREAS
Is it legally permissible for an association to prohibit smoking in common areas?
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. Top
COMMERCIAL USE OF RESIDENCE
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.
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. Top
MANAGEMENT COMPANY AS INSPECTOR OF ELECTIONS
Is it legally permissible for the management company for a homeowner association to act as the inspector of elections?
Yes, but only if the board has adopted an election rule permitting the management company to act as the inspector of elections. Otherwise, inspectors must fall into one of the following categories:
||A licensee of the California Board of Accountancy;
||A volunteer poll worker with the County Registrar of Voters;
||A Notary; or
||A member of the association who is not a candidate for the board of directors or related to a candidate, or a current member of the board of directors.