More Bills of Interest to Help (or Harm?) HOAs in 2018

More Bills of Interest to Help (or Harm?) HOAs in 2018

Last week’s column discussed SB1265, a terrible bill for HOAs. There are several other bills which, if passed, would make major and minor changes to HOAs in 2019, and they are a mixed bag. SB 1016 Senate Bill (“SB”)1016, authored by Senator Allen, would add Civil Code 4745.1 to the current 4745 (regarding electric vehicle charging stations). Civil 4745.1 would require associations to cooperate with owners who wish to install “time of use” (“TOU”) meters on their electric vehicle charging stations. So long as members meet the requirements, encouraging electric vehicles is a good thing, and SB 1016 helps that good thing in HOAs. SB 1016 was approved by the Senate, and is pending in the Assembly. SB 1128 SB 1128, authored by Senator Roth from Northern Riverside County, would reduce wasted motion in HOA elections. If passed, this bill would create Civil Code 5100(g), which would allow an association to declare candidates elected by acclamation if, after the period for nominations has closed, there are no more candidates than openings on the board. The bill would also allow homeowners to elect to notify the HOA via email (instead of a “hard” copy) that the homeowner wishes to receive notifications via email rather than postal mail. The bill passed the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and is awaiting hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is practical, a quality sorely needed in the HOA governance world. SB 721 Senate Bill 721 is a major bill applying to both apartment and condominium buildings. SB 721 arises from the 2015 tragedy in Berkeley in which 6 persons died and 7...
Bad News for Beachfront HOAs Regarding Vacation Rentals

Bad News for Beachfront HOAs Regarding Vacation Rentals

While short term rentals present an opportunity for members to make a profit on their home when not in use, such rentals also present many potential problems for both the municipality and the association. Weekender occupants are more likely to be less courteous and responsible to neighbors. Many will argue short term rentals to be “non-residential” use of the residence, more akin to a hotel. Cities may wish to limit hotel-type usage in this context, where they have no control nor collect bed tax. Many associations amend their governing documents to ban rentals shorter than one year, ban subletting, or just specifically banning vacation short term rentals. Short term rentals are often perceived as a “non-residential” or business usage of the common interest development residence, and are therefore deemed inconsistent with most residential HOA CC&Rs. An Oxnard association of homeowners was surely quite disappointed with a Court of Appeals ruling announced on March 27, 2018 in the case of Greenfield v. Mandalay Shores. The Mandalay Shores Community Association, formed in 1959, consists of 1,465 detached home lots on public streets. There are recorded CC&Rs but no common area. Its board of directors adopted a resolution banning rentals shorter than 30 days. The resolution proved to be controversial, and a group reported to consist of about 60 homeowners supported a lawsuit by a homeowner named Greenfield to challenge the policy. After an adverse finding at the trial court level, Greenfield appealed. There have been other recent legal challenges to short term rental bans in beach areas, but this appears to be the first case in which the opinion was published....
11 Sure-Fire Ways to Frustrate HOA Elections

11 Sure-Fire Ways to Frustrate HOA Elections

Most associations have member voting at least annually, and the process required by statute applies to all HOAs, whether 2 units in Redondo Beach or 3,000 units in Oakland. Avoid these mistakes which can doom HOA elections. 1. Ignore the procedure Civil Code Sections 5100-5135 provide a process which must be followed on member votes regarding major assessments, governing document amendments, grants of exclusive use rights, and board elections. Many smaller HOAs either intentionally or ignorantly do not follow the process, leaving their elections open to challenge. 2. Don’t have election rules Civil Code 5105 requires HOAs have written election rules in place. These rules help answer questions in advance, making for more organized and fairer elections. 3. Forget to appoint an inspector of elections When setting an election, associations occasionally fail to appoint or hire an inspector to conduct the process. This appointment must occur in an open board meeting. Inspectors may be paid professional vendors or may be homeowner volunteers. 4. Allow proxies Most developer-supplied original HOA bylaws allow for the use of proxies, by which members give to another member the right to vote on their behalf. California statutes provide little guidance as to what is a valid proxy, and proxy disputes (and sometimes chicanery) are a common problem in HOA elections. Proxies are unnecessary, since on most important HOA votes members receive ballots 30 days ahead of the election. HOAs are better served by, through member vote, amending governing documents to ban proxies except for the narrow purpose of achieving quorum. 5. Skip vote counting in uncontested elections It may make no sense to go...
The Drought Emergency is Over. Back to Business as Usual?

The Drought Emergency is Over. Back to Business as Usual?

On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17, formally ending the drought emergency, which can be read in its entirety at https://www.gov.ca.gov, the Governor’s web site. The Order is not only confirmation of good news for California, but also immediately changes the applicability of two important statutes in the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. The Declaration of Drought Emergency was issued by Governor Brown on January 17, 2014, the culmination of several water conservation orders. Shortly after that Declaration, the California Legislature swiftly passed emergency legislation, adding certain protections to the Davis-Stirling Act regarding water conservation. Civil Code 4735 Civil Code 4735(c) prohibited associations from fining or assessing an owner who let their yard “go brown” by not watering it during a declared state of drought emergency. Now that the statewide emergency declaration is rescinded, the statewide prohibition against enforcing landscape maintenance obligations against owners who refused to water their yards also has ended. This section still may apply if a local jurisdiction (city or county) has its own declaration of drought emergency still in place, so managers and boards would be well advised to check with their local jurisdiction for any such local declaration. Civil Code 4736 Civil Code 4736 rendered unenforceable any requirement that an owner pressure wash the exterior of their home, so long as a statewide or local declaration of drought emergency is in place. Associations which require their residents to wash their exterior walls may again enforce that requirement, unless the local jurisdiction has its own declaration of drought emergency still in place. While these drought-related laws are no longer in force,...