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1-Channel-IslandWe are proud to announce that 1 Channel Island Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

1 Channel Island, by Shea Homes, is a brand new single-family home community located in Encinitas.  It was recently awarded Community of the Year by the Building Industry Association of San Diego County at the 2015 Icon Awards, in addition to awards for Best Architectural Design and Best Interior Design.  Homes in 1 Channel Island will feature coastal plantation architecture with outdoor Lanais, reminiscent of New Zealand and Hawaii, and a focus on environmental efficiencies.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with 1 Channel Island’s Board and management.

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The-CanneryWe are proud to announce that The Cannery Neighborhood Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

The Cannery, by The New Home Company, is a brand new master planned community located in Davis.  Winner of the 2016 Master-Planned Community of the Year Award, The Cannery is California’s first farm-to-table new home community. Residents will enjoy 4.7 acres of parks, trails, sports courts, amphitheater, and a 7.4-acre working farm.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with The Cannery’s Board and management.

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*New Case LawBusiness Judgment Rule HOA

Volunteer homeowners association (“HOA”) directors are fiduciaries who are held to high standards of conduct when making decisions or taking actions on behalf of the communities they represent. Sometimes those decisions, which may seem reasonable at the time, ultimately lead to problems for the HOA or its members. If volunteer HOA directors were made personally liable for the consequences of their erroneous decisions, it would be virtually impossible for any HOA to recruit individuals to serve on its board. For this reason, HOA directors are afforded several liability protections under California law.  One of those protections is a legal doctrine known as the “Business Judgment Rule.”

The Business Judgment Rule generally shields directors from personal liability that may result from their erroneous decisions, provided that the decision was made (1) with care, (2) in good faith, and (3) was based upon what the director believed to be in the best interest of the HOA. Making a decision “with care” generally requires that directors exercise reasonable diligence to investigate the issues surrounding the decision so that they are able to act on an informed basis.

But how broad are the protections of the Business Judgment Rule? Does it automatically shield a director who chooses to remain willfully ignorant as to the issues surrounding her actions or the scope of her authority? According to the Court of Appeal in the recent case of Palm Springs Villas II Homeowners Association v. Parth (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 268, that answer appears to be no… Continue reading

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Villa-PortofinoWe are proud to announce that Villa Portofino Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Villa Portofino is a planned development located at the southern gateway to the community of Tierrasanta in San Diego. Residents enjoy a clubhouse, pool, basketball court, tennis courts, and a park/playground area.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with Villa Portofinos’s Board and management.

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Woodbury-LafayetteWe are proud to announce that Woodbury Lafayette Community Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Woodbury Lafayette is a brand new condominium community by The New Home Company and is centrally located just a short five minute walk from downtown Lafayette. It consists of luxury Garden Flats and Terrace Flats, many with views of Mount Diablo.  Woodbury was recently honored with the “Community of the Year” award at the Bay Area Building Industry Association’s (BIA) 2016 Excellence in Home Building Awards.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with Woodbury Lafayette’s Board and management.

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Labor-Unions-Preventive-Practices-1024x683On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) published its decision in the Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. case (“BFI Case”). In that case, Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. (“BFI”) retained the services of Leadpoint Business Services (“LBS”) to provide staff to one of BFI’s recycling facilities. The contract between BFI and LBS recognized, and the parties understood, that the personnel staffed by LBS were the employees of LBS. Nevertheless, given the fact that the contract granted BFI with some control over the employees of LBS, the NLRB concluded that BFI was a joint-employer of LBS thereby obligating BFI to comply with federal labor laws.

In adopting a new legal standard for determining joint-employer status, the NLRB emphasized that such a determination should not be based solely on actual control over the employees of another, but the “existence, extent, and object of the putative joint employer’s control.” (Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. (2015) 2015 NLRB No. 672, *12 (Emphasis added).) Otherwise, employers would be able to insulate themselves from their responsibility to comply with federal labor laws. (Id. at p. *21) Accordingly, as long as a company retains (e.g., through the execution of a contract) the authority to control the employees of another, said company shall be given joint employer status. (Id. at p. *2.) This is true even if control is exercised indirectly (e.g., through an intermediary). (Id.)

Many associations retain a community management firm for the purpose of executing the duties of the association. These community management firms in turn employ community managers and support staff to manage these associations. While historically recognized as the employee of the community management firm (and an independent contractor of the association), the BFI Case raises some questions with respect to the nature of the relationship between the employees of a community management firm and the association. Accordingly, associations must be cognizant that a Court may find that it is a joint employer of the community manager (and support staff), notwithstanding the fact that it exercises no direct and immediate control over said manager.

Similarly, associations and management companies must take care when hiring maintenance and service providers for the community.  When managers, committee members, or board members are conducting job walks with a contractor’s employee, reviewing specifications, or receiving invoices, the management company and the association may become joint employers. In Heiman v. Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board, Cal: Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 2007 (“Heiman”), a community association manager hired an unlicensed and uninsured contractor on behalf of the association to install rain gutters on the condominium buildings.  An employee of the contractor was seriously injured on the first day of the project and sued the contractor, management company, and association for workers’ compensation.  The Court held that the contractor, the association, and the management company were all joint employers because the contractor hired the injured employee, and the management company, as agent of the association, hired the contractor.  The BFI Case seems to affirm this decision.

California HOA laws In order to insulate the association from a possible finding of joint-employer status, the association should ensure that its contract with independent contractors, requires all proper licenses and insurance, adequately sets forth the desired results, and sets forth the level of care and skill to be used in accomplishing the desired results. (See Id. at p. 12 (“mere ‘service under an agreement to accomplish results or to use care and skill in accomplishing results’ is not evidence of an employment, or joint-employment relationship”).) The agreement should also include a provision that requires the contractor to indemnify and hold the association harmless in the event a labor dispute arises.

Blog post authored by TLG attorney, Matthew T. Plaxton.

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MeadowviewWe are proud to announce that Meadowview Community Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Meadowview is a planned community of 900 homes situated over 1175 acres within the City of Temecula. Residents enjoy a beautiful 360 acre open meadow, clubhouse, two swimming pools, spa, tennis courts, basketball courts, an equestrian center, park and picnic area with tot lot, and an elaborate trail system that is enjoyed by bikers, walkers, runners, and equestrians, alike.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with Meadwoview’s Board and management.

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accolade ribbon-blogWe are privileged for the opportunities we have to build relationships with our HOA clients throughout the state of California. We are humbled when board members and managers take the time to express their appreciation for the work we provide to their communities:

“The HOA meeting went well and I feel the homeowners association is now on solid ground for the first time in our history. I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your hard work and dedication to the homeowners association.  We are now moving forward with reducing our assessment fees and this is very good news.”
(Board President, Planned Development in Moreno Valley)

“I just finished reading your letter/update on the [legal] matter. I loved it! I have to say that was one of the best letters I’ve ever read! I would normally scan through correspondence from legal counsel, but I actually enjoy reading your correspondence! You have a gift and are a breath of fresh air! … I think you were exactly what the Association needed to come full circle and finally have some resemblance of being on the same page!”
(General Manager, Planned Development in San Diego)

“Once again thanks for handling this so quickly and professionally. Your assistance is very much appreciated!”
(General Manager, Active Adult Community in Menifee)

California HOA laws Our firm strives to serve our clients with the utmost care and attention. We are committed to building lasting relationships with our clients and to advancing the professional standards of our industry.


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hoa-water-usageIn April of last year Governor Brown ordered mandatory water use reductions for the first time in California’s history in order to address the prolonged California drought crisis. That order directed the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to impose a twenty-five percent (25%) reduction on the state’s 400+ local water supply agencies. Complying with these mandated reductions caused communities throughout the state to immediately and drastically address their water usage and conservation practices, and to incur significant expense in doing so. This order was issued amidst a string of legislative and regulatory changes aimed at addressing the historic drought. For example, legislation was enacted to prohibit homeowners associations (HOAs) from fining homeowners for failing to water their lawns during the drought, and the SWRCB adopted emergency regulations that subject HOAs to fines of $500 per day for failing to comply with the SWRCB’s restrictions on potable water use.

In an apparent policy reversal, yesterday the Governor lifted the 25% mandated statewide water reduction. The Governor’s new executive order directs the SWRCB and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to work with water suppliers to develop rules and water use targets that are tailored to the unique conditions of their respective regions.

Under the new rules, which take effect on June 1, communities would set water reduction guidelines based on their own projection of water supplies with the assumption that the next three (3) years in California will be uncommonly dry. The state would then review the projections and impose restrictions on communities it determines are being unrealistic. These rules and restrictions are consistent with legislation proposed earlier this year (SB 814) that, if adopted in its current form, would require water suppliers to establish their own methods to identify and restrict excessive water use.

California HOA laws These rules may lead to a significant reduction, or even an elimination, of water reduction mandates that have compelled HOAs to drastically alter their water usage and watering practices at substantial costs to the HOAs and their membership. The $500 daily fine to which HOAs are subject remains in effect; however, allowing for water reduction mandates to now be established at local levels will hopefully result in more sensible water reduction targets.

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EsenciaWe are proud to announce that Esencia Neighborhood Corporation has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Esencia is a brand new master planned community located in Rancho Mission Viejo.  It is expected to include approximately 2,700 attached and detached homes within 33 distinct neighborhoods. Residents will enjoy trails, parks, indoor and outdoor retreats, a sports park, Esencia Farm, Oak Canyon, The Canyon House, The Hilltop Club, and Canyon Coffee.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with Esencia’s Board and management.