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Chambray-300x169It’s our privilege to welcome Chambray Neighborhood Corporation to Tinnelly Law Group’s growing family of HOA clients.

Chambray is a beautiful condominium community located in the desirable Ladera Ranch community. It features 2 story townhome style condominiums surrounded by numerous community parks, pools and recreational amenities.

hoa law firm Our HOA lawyers and staff look forward to working with Chambray’s Board and management.

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anti-SLAPP*Unpublished Opinion

The recent unpublished opinion of Chemers v. Quail Hill Community Association et al. (2018) shines some light on the oft-misunderstood California Anti-SLAPP statute and its effectiveness as a defense for actions by a homeowners association’s board of directors.  The Fourth District California Court of Appeal held that certain actions by the board in a dispute with a director were not in furtherance of the right of free speech or petition as to be protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.

Plaintiff Evan Chemers (“Chemers”) was a member of the board of directors for defendant Quail Hill Community Association (“Quail Hill”), a planned unit development located in Irvine, California.  A series of disagreements and escalating tension between Chemers and other members of the board resulted in the board taking affirmative steps to remove Chemers from the board permanently.  In June 2016, the board proposed a resolution to create an executive committee consisting of all board members except for Chemers, and in July 2016, the board proposed a resolution to declare Chemers’ board seat vacant on the ground that he did not meet the member-residency requirement.  Chemers was not afforded an opportunity to present any evidence of residency, address the board, or have his legal counsel present when he was formally removed.

In October 2016, Chemers filed a lawsuit against the association and other directors, alleging eight causes of action including breach of governing documents, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, declaratory relief, and various violations of the Civil Code and Corporations Code.  In response, the defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion seeking an order striking the complaint and the eight causes of action within it.  The trial court granted the moving defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion as to six of the eight causes of action.

Chemers subsequently appealed the trial court’s decision, and the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court erred by granting the anti-SLAPP motion as to the claims alleged against Quail Hill for breach of contract, violation of Civil Code section 5850 et seq., and for two counts of declaratory relief.  The Court of Appeal reasoned that none of those four causes of action arose out of protected activity – whether speech or petitioning activity – within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute.

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AltanaWe are proud to announce that Altana Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Altana is the first single-family home community in the 230-acre Civita master planned community.  Residents enjoy rooftop decks, private courtyards, views of Mission Valley, and easy access to the 14.3 acre Civita Park.

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

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SurfsideWe are proud to announce that Surfside Homeowners Association No. 1 has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Surfside is an attached single-family home community located in Huntington Beach. Residents enjoy two community pools, two clubhouses, a basketball court, tot lot, barbecue area, and easy access to the beach.

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

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employee-vs-contractorIn the recent case of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court set forth a new test that employers should utilize to determine whether their workers are appropriately classified as independent contractors or employees.  (Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 903.)  The new test will likely have a significant impact on the obligations and liabilities of employers for matters involving payroll taxes, worker’s compensation insurance, IRS reporting, and minimum wage and overtime requirements. In light of the Dynamex decision, all California employers, like homeowners associations, should re-evaluate whether they have appropriately classified their third-party vendors as independent contractors.

The Supreme Court simplified the test that was previously used to classify workers.  Prior to the decision in Dynamex, a multi-factor test was utilized.  The principal factor was whether the employer had the right to control the manner and means in which work was performed.  However, the courts also considered several other secondary factors, such as whether the employer could discharge the worker at will; the level of skill required to perform the work; whether the employer supplied the tools and location to work; the length of time to be worked; the method of payment (whether by time or by job); whether the worker usually performed this type of work; and the subjective beliefs of both parties.  This “totality of the circumstances” test created a substantial amount of uncertainty among employers.

The new Dynamex test, referred to as the “ABC Test,” makes is easier for employers to determine in advance whether their workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors.  Although the new test is easier to utilize, employers will now find that it is more difficult to classify their workers as independent contractors.  The ABC Test begins with the presumption that all workers are employees.  To classify a worker as an independent contractor, the employer bears the burden of proving three elements.

First, the worker must be free from the employer’s control and direction, both in actuality and in contract.  This prong is essentially a restatement of the principal factor in the pre-Dynamex test, which requires genuine independent contractors to control the manner and means in which they perform their own work.

Second, the worker must perform work for the employer that is outside of the employer’s usual course of business.  For example, a homeowners association would likely be able to satisfy Part B, when dealing with workers hired to perform janitorial or landscaping services.  This is because homeowners associations are not in the janitorial or landscaping business; rather, homeowners associations are in the business of managing and maintaining Common Interest Developments.

Third, the worker must be customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature of work performed for the employer.  Using the example from above, a homeowners association could satisfy Part C of the test, if it could show that its janitor or landscaper provides the same janitorial or landscaping services for other homeowners association as well.  True independent contractors have their own business cards, a separate place of business, and their own book of clients.

California HOA lawyers It is important to note that the Supreme Court specifically limited its Dynamex holding to disputes involving Wage Orders issued by the Industrial Welfare Commission.  In order words, the case’s holding should only be applied to lawsuits that allege violations of Wage Orders (i.e., involving meal and rest breaks and overtime wages).  At this point, it is uncertain whether the new ABC Test will be applied to all other legal claims brought against employers.  Nonetheless, homeowners associations that routinely hire independent contractors should carefully re-evaluate their hiring procedures to ensure that their workers are properly classified under the ABC Test.

-Blog post authored by TLG Attorney, Sarah A. Kyriakedes, Esq.

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Bressi-RanchWe are proud to announce that Bressi Ranch Community Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Bressi Ranch is a master planned community located in the City of Carlsbad. Residents enjoy the Village Club, which includes a lap pool, spa, wading pool, BBQ area, outdoor fireplace, fitness room, and playground.

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

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We are proud to announce that Jade-TreeJade Tree Owners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Jade Tree is a brand new condominium community by KB Homes. Located in Chino Hills, Jade Tree is convenient to Vellano Country Club and Western Hills Country Club. Residents enjoy Jade Tree’s community park or exploring the nearly 12,500 acres of nearby Chino Hills State Park.

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

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*New Library Article!

electronic-funds-transfer-help-e1542145539349Assembly Bill 2912 (“AB 2912”) was recently enacted by the California Legislature.  Its changes to the law, which take effect January 1, 2019, are intended “to protect owners in a [HOA] from fraudulent activity by those entrusted with the management of the [HOA’s] finances.”  To that end, AB 2912 (a) significantly increases the financial review requirements of HOA boards of directors, (b) limits the ability for automatic transfer of HOA funds without board approval, and (c) imposes a requirement for the HOA to purchase and maintain a fidelity bond.

In the wake of AB 2912’s passage, questions and concerns have surfaced as to how HOAs and management companies may need to adjust their current operational procedures to comply with the new state of the law.  Our HOA attorneys have authored a new article to address some of those questions and to clarify some of AB 2912’s key components.

hoa laws The article, entitled “AB 2912: New Protections Against the Misuse of HOA Funds,” is available for download from our firm’s library. You can access the article by clicking here.

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We are proud to announce that JuniperJuniper at Portola Springs Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Juniper at Portola Springs is a brand new condominium community by Richmond American Homes. The latest addition to the Villages of Irvine®, Juniper at Portola Springs offers easy access to shopping, dining and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy—comprising 50,000 acres of open space, lakes and trails.

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

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DoradoWe are proud to announce that Dorado Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their association’s legal counsel.

Dorado is a brand new single-family home community by Pulte Homes. Dorado is close to many attractions including the Queen Mary, The Pike, Aquarium of the Pacific, Cal State Long Beach and the delicious culinary scene downtown. Ideally situated between Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Dorado is conveniently located in Long Beach.

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