Fair or Unfair Housing

Fair or Unfair Housing

Hi Kelly, I recently read your earlier article on Fair Housing laws being violated by HOAs trying to enforce state-mandated signs that prohibit children from using HOA pool and spa. We have a large sign at the spa in our community pool section stating that “Children under 14 are prohibited from using the spa.” It’s just a flat out ban of children under 14, with or without a guardian. My 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son were devastated when a security guard told them they’d have to get out because of the sign. There was no one else in the pool or spa section other than us and our children. He said he feared losing his job if he didn’t try to enforce this. Is this a violation of the Fair Housing laws? If so, can you provide a link or legal reference to this? Thank you, E.A., Menifee Dear E.A., HOAs are currently required by Title 24 California Code of Regulations Section 3120B.4 to post a sign banning use of pools by children under the age of 14. At the same time, the Fair Housing laws ban discrimination against children, and do not contain an exception for safety. There have been several reported federal court cases in California in which housing providers have been sued because they tried to enforce the policy stated in the sign. The state Department of Public Health was considering amendments to its regulations to resolve this conflict in the law, but so far no changes have been announced on its web site. There are other instances in which safety concerns clash with Fair Housing laws, such...
We Have Unwritten Rules

We Have Unwritten Rules

Dear Mr. Richardson, Our board frequently adopts new rules, generally following the required process of providing 30-day notice to homeowners prior to voting at an open board meeting. The new rules are documented only in the board meeting minutes. Consequently, many of these rules have been “lost” throughout the years as homeowners come and go and memories fade. New homeowners moving in have no knowledge of these undocumented rules and naturally they are upset when the board enforces them. So, where should new and/or modified rules be documented? D.W., Cerritos Dear D.W., If the rule change is not published in writing, it is not a rule, per Civil Code 4350(a). Once the board has completed the rule-making process, the final steps are sending notice of adoption of the change and amending the rules document to include the change. If a new owner is not provided a copy of the rule, it might not be enforceable against that owner. Also, per Civil Code 4525(a)(1), all governing documents are to be provided to a member upon request so that they can be given to a prospective buyer. Rules are part of the association governing documents, per Civil Code 4150. Hoping this is helpful,Kelly Dear Kelly, I showed our president your article which said Civil 5850 requires associations to have a list of fines and that the list is part of the Annual Policy Statement packet. He said that there is no annual list of fines as we have an Assessment and Collection policy in place, and that the board is not empowered to change it. Our C.C.& R’s on two pages mentions...
Candid Cameras in Our Association

Candid Cameras in Our Association

Mr. Richardson, Can the HOA install a camera in one garage area but not others? The HOA also installed a camera in the pool in order to catch one person’s possible violations. Is this legal? K.Y., San Jose Mr. Richardson, We are fans of your weekly column. Have you written about security cameras? Can you offer any direction as to legal issues and sound policy? Thanks so much, B.D., San Diego Hello Kelly, I would like to find out if installing a camera with audio in the parking area is legal in California. Please advise. Thank you, C.R., Encinitas Dear Kelly, Our complex has had a number of trespassers who have hopped locked pedestrian gates or tailgated resident cars through garage gates into resident parking areas. The board refuses to circulate images of these trespassers captured on surveillance cameras. Many of us want this video/image information in case we see the intruders or their vehicles in the future. We strongly believe this is a personal safety issue. The board says this is a possible liability issue.  Can the board appoint a volunteer committee of residents to review the surveillance videos, with the committee deciding whether to circulate the trespasser-related images to all residents? Thanks, B.A., Newport Beach  Dear K.Y., B.D., C.R., and B.A., As the affordability and technical quality of surveillance increases, cameras are increasingly considered by associations. However, cameras are not an answer to all HOA problems, and can create more problems. For example, placing a camera only to surveil a single resident will almost certainly offend the resident and create a possible claim of privacy invasion. If surveillance...