Homeowners associations in California are generally governed by the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. The Act can be found in California Civil Code section 4000, et seq. Through the development of common law and the Act, nearly every homeowners association in California is governed by a written set of Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&R’s). These CC&R’s are often supplemented by Rules & Regulations promulgated pursuant to the CC&R’s.
The CC&R’s which govern homeowners associations and its members are considered covenants which run with the land or equitable servitudes. This means that once a property becomes bound by CC&R’s, the CC&R’s will apply to the property even if it is sold or transferred. This is done to ensure consistency as time passes and to ensure that all properties within the dominion of the CC&R’s stay under the control of the CC&R’s.
Homeowners associations are typically governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by the members of the association. The members of the association usually consist of owners of the properties located in and subject to the association. Through the CC&R’s, the Board of Directors is empowered to take administrative action on behalf of the association such as hiring management, supervise and approve the association budget, enforce violations of the CC&R’s, attend to member concerns and provide general governance for all association matters. Under the eyes of current law, homeowners associations are looked upon as quasi-governmental entities or mini-societies which operate for the benefit of their members. As such, members are instilled with the ability to openly speak at association meetings, petition to the Board of Directors regarding grievances and run for the Board.
Although homeowners associations and CC&R’s were originally designed to ensure harmonious living under a single set of rules or plan, their advent has spawned significant civil litigation over the enforcement of the CC&R’s and Rules & Regulations. Typical homeowners association involve issues such as: arbitrary enforcement of the rules governing the association, membership voting rights issues, approval of construction, landscaping or other improvements, view restrictions, encroachments, unauthorized animals. Although the Davis-Stirling Act contains a host of provisions which protect homeowners, California courts have consistently issued decisions which uphold the validity and enforcement of the CC&R’s and Rules & Regulations issued pursuant thereto so long as they are reasonable and not enforced in an arbitrary or capricious manner.
Litigation can be expensive. Fortunately, the Davis-Stirling Act contains provisions generally requiring that the parties attempt resolve any dispute prior to litigation. This resolution process is called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In fact, the Davis-Stirling Act requires that all homeowners associations provide fair, reasonable, and expeditious procedures for resolving homeowner disputes under the Act.
Whether you are a homeowners association or individual homeowner, Hamilton & Associates, APC can provide you with the legal advice and representation that you need to resolve your homeowners association dispute. Homeowners association disputes can be particularly stressful and frustrating as they involve a person’s home, family and living space. Hamilton & Associates, APC not only strives for excellence in representation and service, but also understands that each client has their own individual needs and concerns.