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Sea-RidgeWe are proud to announce that Sea Ridge Condominium Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Sea Ridge is a condominium community located in the City of Dana Point, in close proximity to pristine beaches and the St. Regis Resort.  Residents enjoy expansive ocean and greenbelt views, tennis courts, a community pool, and clubhouse.

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

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hoa-artificial-grass-turfNew Legislation*

In recent years the California legislature has proposed bills that would require homeowners associations (HOAs) to permit the installation of artificial turf (grass) in their communities. Those bills never made it into law, and were vetoed by the California Governor due to the Governor’s belief that “[t]he decision about choosing synthetic turf instead of natural vegetation should be left to individual homeowners associations, not mandated by state law.”

AB 349, proposed earlier this year, marked the latest attempt by the California Legislature to restrict the authority of HOAs to prohibit artificial turf. AB 349 was proposed as an urgency statute based upon the following rationale of the California Legislature:

“While in the middle of a water shortage crisis, homeowner associations are not allowing homeowners to make voluntary sacrifices and are still forcing them to maintain grass lawns, by installing artificial grass, and are fining them if they are out of compliance. [AB 349] ensures that all homeowners have the right to better conserve water by voluntarily replacing grass with artificial grass. Property owners who pursue water conservation by installing artificial grass should be encouraged, not sued or fined. Thus, this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.”

The prolonged California drought has apparently lead to a reversal in the Governor’s position on this issue and AB 349 was signed into law on September 4, 2015. As a result, Civil Code Section 4735 has been amended to render void and unenforceable any provision of a HOA’s governing documents (i.e., a HOA’s architectural standards) that “prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.” (Civ. Code § 4735(a)(2).)

This language was modeled after similar protections already existing in Section 4735 for homeowners seeking to use “low-water using plants.” An additional amendment to Section 4735 as a result of AB 349’s passage includes the incorporation of new subpart (d) that protects homeowners from having to “reverse or remove” water-efficient landscaping measures that were installed in response to a government-declared drought period once the drought period concludes.

hoa laws AB 349’s changes to the law take effect immediately as an urgency statute. HOA boards, architectural committees and management professionals must take note of the changes to Civil Code Section 4735. While AB 349 does not address what types of restrictions (as opposed to flat prohibitions) a HOA may place on the installation of artificial turf, HOAs should endeavor to amend their architectural standards in order to provide some guidance to homeowners on this issue and to deter the use of low quality turf materials.

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hoa-pool-water-testingThe requirements for operating and maintaining “public pools” have been subject to various regulatory changes in recent years. Those changes have impacted pools within private homeowners associations (HOAs), as the California Legislature and Department of Health have defined the term “public pools” to include pools located within private HOAs and residential developments. (Health & Safety Code §§ 116049.1(a), 116064.2(a)(4)(B); 22 CCR § 65503(a)(9).) The more notable changes include those which mandate (1) new parameters for water characteristics, (2) strict monitoring of pool facilities and requirements for written records, (3) enforcement of specific safety and first aid equipment, (4) requirements that newly constructed public pool enclosures have at least one keyless exit and self closing latches, and (5) the imposition of health restrictions for employees or pool users. Some of these changes are discussed below.

Daily Testing
The most significant change is that which requires HOAs with twenty-five (25) or more separate interests to test pool and spa water chemical composition and temperature on a daily basis, and to keep a daily log of the testing. (22 CCR § 65523(a).) Daily testing may be performed “using a properly calibrated automatic chemical monitoring and control system” if allowed by local enforcing authorities. (22 CCR § 65523(a).) For HOAs with fewer than 25 separate interests, testing must be performed and documented “at least two times per week and at intervals no greater than four days apart.” (Health & Safety Code § 116048(a).)

Safety Equipment
Other notable changes deal with the installation/maintenance of safety and first aid equipment. For example, that equipment must include a 12’ minimum length rescue pole and a 17” minimum (exterior diameter) life ring with an attached throw rope having a minimum of 3/16” diameter. (22 CCR § 65540(a).)

Health Restrictions
Previous regulations prohibited persons with diarrhea from using the pool. Now, pool access must be denied to any person, including pool monitors, that have symptoms “such as a cough, cold sore, or nasal or ear discharge or when wearing bandages.” (22 CCR § 65541(b).)

Pool Enclosures; Gates & Doors
Finally, there are specific requirements in Section 3119B of the California Building Code for at least one gate/door into the pool enclosure to allow for egress, without a key, for emergency purposes. If all gates/doors allow for keyless exit, no special signage is necessary, otherwise the keyless exit(s) must have signage stating “EMERGENCY EXIT” in at least 4” high lettering.

hoa laws The requirements and technicalities governing pool use and maintenance are numerous and complex. Now, more than ever, HOAs should ensure that their pool maintenance vendors are aware of these requirements and understand the need for strict compliance.


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Rocking-HorseWe are proud to announce that Rocking Horse Ridge Estates Homeowners’ Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Rocking Horse Ridge is a guard-gated community of custom estates located in the City of Orange.  Residents enjoy expansive views, tennis courts, a community pool, clubhouse, playground and park.

hoa laws Our HOA attorneys and staff look forward to working with Rocking Horse Ridge Estates’ Board and management.

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hoa-fha-loansNew Legislation*

Civil Code Section 5300 requires a HOA to prepare and distribute to its members an annual budget report. The annual budget report serves as a consolidated disclosure statement which must include numerous items of information, such as information pertaining to the HOA’s reserve funds, operating budget, and insurance policies.

In June of this year, we blogged about AB 596 (Daly), a bill proposed by the California Legislature that would require additional statements of information to be distributed with the annual budget report for condominium HOAs. Those statements would disclose the status of the condominium development as being a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) approved condominium project or a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved condominium project.

AB 596 was signed by Governor Brown on August 12, 2015. As a result, beginning July 1, 2016, Civil Code Section 5300 will additionally require condominium HOAs to provide the following statements in at least 10-point font on separate pieces of paper that accompany the annual budget report:

“Certification by the Federal Housing Administration may provide benefits to members of an association, including an improvement in an owner’s ability to refinance a mortgage or obtain secondary financing and an increase in the pool of potential buyers of the separate interest. This common interest development [is/is not (circle one)] a condominium project. The association of this common interest development [is/is not (circle one)] certified by the Federal Housing Administration.”

“Certification by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs may provide benefits to members of an association, including an improvement in an owner’s ability to refinance a mortgage or obtain secondary financing and an increase in the pool of potential buyers of the separate interest. This common interest development [is/is not (circle one)] a condominium project. The association of this common interest development [is/is not (circle one)] certified by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.”

The intent behind AB 596 is to ensure that condominium owners and prospective condominium owners understand the benefits of a condominium development being FHA or VA approved and how the availability of FHA or VA financing benefits the marketability of the condominium units within the development.

Industry experts have expressed concern that a HOA which was certified at the time of the disclosure may not retain that certification throughout the course of the fiscal year. However, AB 596 does not add a requirement for the disclosure statements to be revised mid-year should the HOA’s FHA or VA certification status change. FHA approval expires every two years and requires a recertification process. If a community no longer meets the FHA approval guidelines, recertification may be rejected. If approval is granted, but the FHA learns of additional factors, approval may be withdrawn. HUD does not currently have a notification system in place to inform the association that FHA approval has expired or been withdrawn.

hoa laws Condominium HOA boards and managers are encouraged to regularly check for FHA Approval at the Official HUD Directory and VA Approval at the Official VA Directory to verify the current status of their communities. 

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Portola-HillsWe are proud to announce that Portola Hills Community Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Portola Hills is a planned development located in Trabuco Canyon, surrounded by the Saddleback Mountains and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.  Residents enjoy a private recreation center, including a pool, jacuzzi, and tennis courts, as well as walking trails throughout the neighborhood.

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

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familyOn January 20, 2015, a tragic fire ripped through a condominium complex in the city of San Juan Capistrano, killing three, injuring six, and displacing eighty residents living in eight units.  The decedents were three of seventeen individuals living in a four-bedroom condominium.  In light of the deaths and their relation to the number of occupants living in the unit, efforts are now underway to examine state and local occupancy restrictions with an eye towards preventing an incident like this from occurring in the future.  To that end, questions have surfaced with respect to an association’s ability to adopt and enforce state and local occupancy standards, as well as to promulgate operating rules regulating the number of occupants living within a unit.

An association’s “operating rules” are regulations adopted by the board that apply “generally to the management  and  operation  of the  common  interest  development  or the conduct  of the business and affairs of the association.” (Civ. Code § 4340(a)) They relate to things such as the use of common area and separate interests, member discipline, and procedures for elections. (Civ. Code § 4355(a)(1)-(7))  In order to be valid and enforceable, the operating rule must meet several requirements: the rule must be (1) in writing, (2) within the authority of the Board of Directors conferred by law or the governing documents, (3) not in conflict with governing law and the governing documents, (4) adopted in good faith and in compliance with the procedural requirements set forth in Civil Code section 4360, and (5) reasonable. (Civ. Code § 4350) Accordingly, presuming that an occupancy rule is adopted by an association’s board of directors pursuant to the powers granted to it under the governing documents, the primary focus is whether the occupancy rule conflicts with governing law (i.e., California law).

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Crosings-RowhouseWe are proud to announce that The Crossings Rowhouse Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

The Crossings Rowhouse is a transit-oriented condominium community located in the city of Mountain View, 30 miles south of San Francisco. Residents enjoy a walkable and bikeable neighborhood, close to retail shops, parks, a daycare center, and the Caltrain commuter rail station.

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

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hoa-pet-restrictionOne problem that arises in the context of enforcing homeowners association (“HOA”) governing documents pertains to how consistently certain use restrictions in the governing documents are enforced over time. For example, if a HOA has historically failed to enforce a particular restriction, a decision to enforce that restriction against a particular owner may subject the HOA to claims of “selective enforcement” and/or that the HOA’s enforcements efforts are being exercised in an arbitrary and capricious fashion. These claims not only hinder the cost-efficient resolution of disputes, but could significantly undermine the HOA’s enforcement authority.

It is therefore difficult for a HOA’s Board of Directors to modify the HOA’s enforcement policies over time, especially when it desires to enforce a use restriction that was either never enforced or enforced inconsistently by the HOA in the past. However, the recent unpublished opinion in The Villas in Whispering Palms v. Tempkin (Cal. App. 2015) 2015 WL 2395151 (“Villas”) demonstrates that this difficulty may be overcome through providing proper notice to the HOA’s members and through enforcing the restriction consistently thereafter…

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SavannahWe are proud to announce that Savannah at Mountain House Owners’ Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Savannah is a brand new single family home community in the growing town of Mountain House being developed by Signature Homes. Residents will enjoy a true neighborhood vibe, where they can share a cup of coffee on the porch or entertain family and friends in spacious great rooms.

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