Dwelling Units

Only a week after the CAI Day at the Capitol, and CLAC was already back to work reviewing newly introduced legislation. Assembly Member Friedman introduced AB 670, which would require associations to allow owners to construct additional dwelling Units on their property. This bill would void community restrictions on accessory dwelling Units on a single-family lot, unless those restrictions were recorded prior to January 1, 2020. AB 670 defines two types of structures. First would be an “accessory dwelling unit,” which is a second unit on a lot up to 1,200 square feet in size. As drafted, the language allows accessory dwellings to either be completely detached or contained within the walls of the house on the lot, and allows those dwellings to include cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. Second would be a “junior accessory dwelling unit,” which can be up to 500 square feet that has an outside entrance and cooking facilities, but may share bathroom facilities with the main house on the lot. This bill would significantly impact associations’ ability to manage growth and enforce standards within their community. Architectural standards are an important part of maintaining an overall community, and ensuring that owners can have input on decisions that affect the value of their homes. CLAC is asking associations to oppose this effort to move architectural control from communities to Sacramento. Richardson|Ober will continue to dedicate a portion of our newsletters to update key legislative updates as we learn more from CLAC. You can also track the bills as they make their way through Sacramento at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Written by Matthew A. Gardner Matthew A. Gardner is...
R|O Returns with Updates from CAI’s Legislative Day

R|O Returns with Updates from CAI’s Legislative Day

This month, Richardson|Ober was proud to participate in CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee’s (CLAC) Legislative Day in the Capitol. Every year, community managers, board members, homeowners, and business partners from throughout California gather together at the Capitol to be the voice for community association owners throughout the State on pending legislation impacting their communities. Building upon last year’s legislative successes the two-day strategic planning advocacy and summit gave grass roots supporters many opportunities to meet with California representatives and make CAI’s case for the upcoming legislative calendar.  The following is an overview of some of the most significant pending legislation. SB 323  Although CLAC worked to successfully defeat SB 1265 last year, the substance of that bill has returned this year as SB 323. Senator Wieckowski is once again attempting to push a one-size-fits-all approach to community elections. SB 323 would restrict the selection of election inspectors, would not allow communities the right to set their own qualifications for directors serving on the board, and would increase oversight by courts in routine election processes. CLAC will need support to once again defeating the harmful efforts of this bill. SB 434 The remaining bills demonstrate where CLAC supports creating good law to help communities. CLAC encourages legislators to support Senate Bill 434, introduced by Senator Archuleta. SB 434 incorporates best practices within the management industry and requires management companies to transfer association records in a timely manner. Both CAI and CACM came together to support this common sense legislation that helps communities run more smoothly. SB 754  CLAC also supports Senate Bill 754, sponsored by Senator Moorlach, which contains familiar...
2019 Bills Proposing New HOA Laws Are A Mixed Bag

2019 Bills Proposing New HOA Laws Are A Mixed Bag

This year Sacramento presents another spring season full of ideas for HOAs – some bad, some good, and some well-intentioned but needing revision. SB 323 Senate Bill 323 is a recycle of last year’s SB 1265, a bill vetoed by Governor Brown in September 2018. SB 323 would add burdensome new elements to the HOA election process and dictate to HOAs who could or could not serve as directors. The bill is as bad an idea this year as it was last year. As Governor Brown wrote while vetoing its predecessor, SB 323 “takes a once-size-fits-all(sic) approach, but not all homeowner associations are alike. If changes to an election process are needed, they should be resolved by the members of that specific community.” Associations should set their board eligibility standards, not Sacramento. SB 652 SB 652 addresses the conflict between architectural conformity and religious observance. Does a Jewish Mezuzah or Christian cross violate rules banning alteration of doorways? SB 652 would add a new Civil Code 4706, prohibiting associations from limiting or prohibiting display of religious items on entry doors of a member’s residence. There is no limitation on size, number, or appearance of doorway decorations, so long as they are religious. Perhaps some reasonable limit could be stated. Coauthored by sixteen legislators, it awaits committee assignment. SB 434 SB 434, authored by Senator Archuleta of Southeastern L.A. County, proposes to add a new Civil Code 5382. The proposed statute would require managing agents to produce the association’s records and property (manuals, transponders and keys, for example) within a certain time after termination and/or association request. Managers could not...
Community Association Legislative Update New Laws for 2018

Community Association Legislative Update New Laws for 2018

2017 was one of the most active legislative years for Community Associations in recent memory. Perhaps it was the Governor’s “official” end of the drought that left State lawmakers with time to micromanage our communities on issues from free speech to solar; from new disclosure obligations to recording fees. Now that the dust has settled, we are left with the following legislation for our communities to adjust to in the coming year. SB 2 (Sen. Toni Atkins) Building Homes and Jobs Act (Imposes a $75.00 fee on recorded real estate transition documents (excluded commercial and residential sales) to provide funds for affordable housing.) Under the guise of funding affordable housing throughout the State, beginning January 1, 2018, SB 2 imposes a $75 fee on every real estate instrument, paper or notice required or permitted by law “per each transaction, not to exceed $225 per transaction.” The fee does not apply to documents recorded in connection with a real estate sales transfer. The fee does attach to grant deeds, deeds of trust, abstracts of judgement, notices of default and liens and releases of liens. In other words, this law will impact community association assessment collection by adding to the fees an association is charged for recorded documents, fees which ultimately will be passed on to the delinquent owner. The author of SB 2 describes the bill as establishing a vital ongoing funding source for affordable housing. The law requires the funds collected be deposited into the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund to be allocated to affordable housing programs and to local governments for affordable housing and homeless related programs...
HOA Election Glitches [Part 1]

HOA Election Glitches [Part 1]

Dear Mr. Richardson, Is there any restriction on note taking while inspecting election ballots in a delegate-based election? I believe copying is not allowed, but isn’t note taking considered to be different and unrestricted? Thank you sincerely, T.R., Rancho Santa Margarita Dear T.R., In most HOA elections, any candidate or member may witness the vote counting, under Civil Code 5120, and inspect the ballots after the election, under Civil Code 5125. However, the voting by delegates is not subject to the election procedural requirements of Civil Code 5100-5145, per Civil Code 5100(d). So, during the member voting for delegates, the members may observe the vote counting, but not the voting of the delegates. I cannot imagine the rationale of barring you from taking notes while you inspect the ballots. Thanks for your question,Kelly Kelly, Our management company had our board hire an outside company to mail out ballots, receive them, and count them. The ballots are to be counted at their office and if a homeowner wants to go there for the process they may do so. The company is 30 minutes away. They also put the annual election after the regular homeowner meeting and then the executive meeting so if anyone wanted to stay for the election results they could do so by waiting outside until the board had finished their executive meeting. Some homeowners feel that they are disenfranchising residents. Can you provide some insight? D.H., Newport Beach Dear D.H, The votes must be openly counted at either a membership meeting or at a board meeting convened to count the votes. A meeting at the management company may...

What Sacramento Did For (Or is it to?) HOAs in 2017

The California Legislature was quite active this year in creating laws affecting HOAs, as six bills take effect in 2018. SB 2 Senate Bill (SB) 2, known as the “Building Homes and Jobs Act”, was signed by the Governor on September 29 as an urgency statute, which means it took effect on the day it was signed. Its stated goal is to increase housing supply and reduce homelessness, and it creates a fund called the “Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund. The new statutes are Government Code Section 27388.1 and Health and Safety Code Sections 50470 and 50470.5. The Fund will receive the proceeds from a new tax of $75 per document on documents recorded with County Recorders, except for documents recorded as part of a transfer of property ownership. Despite being called an urgency statute, it practically does not begin until January 1, 2018, when the County Recorders start collecting the $75 fee on recorded documents. In the future, various documents commonly recorded by HOAs will be subject to the $75 fee, such as amendments to CC&Rs, common area alteration agreements, and liens and lien releases. Delinquent members will now face an additional $150 cost, as the cost to the HOA of recording an assessment lien and later removing the lien will be passed along to the member as part of the delinquency. AB 534 A bill which brings some help to HOAs is Assembly Bill (“AB”) 534. Civil Code 4615 previously barred contractors from recording a mechanics lien (yes these in the future will also be subject to SB 2’s $75 fee) against an entire condominium project...