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hoa-coastal*New Case Law

The issue of short-term rentals (or “vacation rentals”) is becoming increasingly significant for homeowners associations (“HOAs”).  The concerns and problems that arise from having revolving groups of vacation renters in HOAs are well-documented, such as the fact that vacation renters are often “less careful in using the common facilities because they are not concerned with the long-term consequences of abuse.” Watts v. Oak Shores Community Assn. (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 466, 473.

To avoid these problems, many HOAs have lease restrictions within their governing documents such as a restriction which prohibits the rental or leasing of a property for a period of less than thirty (30) days. Such a restriction was adopted in 2016 by the coastal community of Mandalay Shores Community Association (“Mandalay Shores”), together with a schedule of significant fines that may be imposed on the owners of the roughly 1,400 homes in Mandalay Shores who violate the short-term rental rule. Two owners filed suit against Mandalay Shores seeking an injunction to stay the enforcement of the short-term rental rule, contending that the rule violates the California Coastal Act (Pub. Resources Code Sec. 3000 et. seq) (the “Act”).

The injunction was ultimately granted on appeal.  The Court of Appeal noted that the Act was enacted to, among other things, “[m]aximize public access to and along the coast and maximize public recreational opportunities to the coastal zone consistent with sound resources conservation principles and constitutionally protected right of private property owners.” While Mandalay Shores did not erect a physical barrier to the beach, the Court believed that it erected a monetary barrier, which had the same effect.

The Court was not persuaded by Mandalay Shores’ argument that the short-term rental rule was to curtail parking, noise and trash problems. In his opinion, Acting Presiding Justice Yegan stated that such problems are to be addressed by the city and Coastal Commission: “The decision to ban or regulate [short-term rentals] must be made by the City and Coastal Commission, not a homeowner’s association.” Thus, in his opinion, a HOA may not adopt rules affecting “the intensity of use or access to single family residences in a coastal zone.” To read the Court’s holding in Greenfield v. Mandalay Shores Community Association, click here.

California HOA lawyers This case will have a profound effect on a HOA’s ability to adopt rules preventing short-term rentals in coastal communities. HOA attorneys and management professionals should be mindful of this case when receiving requests from coastal community clients to adopt/amend rules to include short-term rental restrictions.

-Blog post authored by TLG Attorney, Matthew T, Plaxton, Esq.

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CieloWe are proud to announce that Cielo Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Located in Rancho Santa Fe, Cielo inhabits one of the highest vantage points with elevations reaching over 1,450 feet. Many of the luxurious custom built homes and home sites have fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, the Pacific Ocean and south towards the Coronado Islands. It is surrounded by pristine and dedicated open space which adds to the appeal and privacy of the community.

Residents enjoy first class amenities including Club Cielo with catering facilites, a community park, fitness center, competition-sized pool, a children’s pool and play area, a spa, two tennis courts and much more.

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

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PrimroseWe are proud to announce that Primrose at Beacon Park Neighborhood Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Primrose at Beacon Park is a new courtyard condominium community by D.R. Horton. Located in Irvine, residents will enjoy a community park and pool.

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

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hoa-condo-solar

The California Solar Rights Act (“Act”), found at Civil Code §§ 714 and 714.1, provides certain protections for homeowners seeking to install Solar Energy Systems (i.e., solar panels) on their properties (“Systems”). The intent of the Act was to prevent associations from broadly banning Systems for aesthetic reasons—whether through an explicit ban, or through onerous architectural restrictions that greatly increase System costs or reduce performance. To that end, the Act rendered void and unenforceable any provision of an association’s governing documents that “effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system.” Civ. Code § 714(b). The Act does permit associations to place “reasonable restrictions” on the installation or use of Systems, as defined in Civil Code § 714(b).  However, in reality, those “reasonable restrictions” are extremely limited in scope.  To illustrate, any restriction which increases the cost of a System by more than $1,000, or which decreases its performance by more than ten percent (10%), from what was originally proposed by the homeowner is not a “reasonable” restriction and therefore unenforceable. Civ. Code § 714(d)(1)(B).

For planned developments with detached homes, the application of the Act is relatively straightforward because it applied to Systems that were installed on a homeowner’s “separate interest.”  However, what was less clear was the extent to which the Act applied to homeowners within condominium developments.  In a condominium development, a System would not be installed within or upon a homeowner’s separate interest.  Rather, the System would be installed on common area components such as the roofs, garages or carports.

This issue was at the heart of AB 634 which was signed into law in 2017. AB 634 amends Civil Code § 714.1 and adds Civil Code § 4746. Under the new law, which became effective January 1, 2018, associations are prohibited from establishing policies prohibiting the installation or use of Systems installed on the roof of the building in which the owner resides, or a garage or carport adjacent to the building that has been assigned to the owner for exclusive use. It also adds an exemption to the membership approval requirements associated with granting exclusive use of common area to allow for such grants for System installations. Civ. Code § 714.1(b)(1)-(2).  In simple terms, condominium associations are no longer able to broadly prohibit Systems from being installed on common area roofs, garages or carports.

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IslandsWe are proud to announce that Islands Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

The Islands HOA is an intimate community consisting of 117 beautiful California-style homes. Located in Aliso Viejo, this community has close and easy access to schools, family recreation, arts, entertainment, and business centers.

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

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Cinnamon-HollowWe are proud to announce that Cinnamon Hollow Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Cinnamon Hollow is a condominium community in Anaheim. Residents enjoy a pool, spa, and close proximity to shopping, restaurants, and transportation.

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

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Court-TrialPreliminary injunctions are temporary court orders requested by one party that prevents another party from pursuing a particular course of conduct until the conclusion of a trial on the merits.  A preliminary injunction is proper where the moving party proves the following two factors: (1) the likelihood that the moving party will ultimately prevail on the merits at the time of trial; and (2) that relative interim harm to the parties from issuance of the injunction weighs in that party’s favor.

Occasionally, HOAs seek preliminary injunctions as a means to enforce the HOA’s governing documents.  Among other reasons, the purpose behind that request for judicial relief is to restrain homeowner actions or omissions when such conduct potentially poses a threat of harm or risk to Association Property or the Association’s Members.  Examples include a homeowner’s unauthorized alteration of structural common area components (e.g. removal of a bearing wall within a condominium unit; unapproved building activities on common area property).

Under the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (“Act”), at the conclusion of a trial on the merits, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in an action to enforce the HOA’s governing documents (Civil Code Section 5975).  Historically, there has been some question as to whether a moving party may recover statutory attorney’s fees and costs if the court grants a preliminary injunction in a HOA enforcement action.  In January 2018, the California Court of Appeal addressed that issue in the case of Artus v. Gramercy Towers Condominium Association (19 Cal.App.5th 923).

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The-FaircrestWe are proud to announce that The Faircrest Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

The Faircrest is a new luxury single family home community by Emerald Homes and D.R. Horton located in the Faircrest Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Located on the former ten acre site of the historic KJH “Boss Radio” station, residents enjoy expansive back yards and close proximity to shopping, restaurants, and transportation.

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

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Morgan-HillWe are proud to announce that Morgan Hill Homeowners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Tucked away in the rolling hills and wine country of Temecula, Morgan Hill is a collection of luxury view homes showcasing new and innovative floor plans and distinguished architecture. Inspired by the vineyards of Temecula, ease and elegance live side by side in one of the most desirable communities in the Temecula Valley. Morgan Hill amenities include a private, three acre community center with swimming pools, spa, tennis courts, fitness center, game room, two ballrooms and outdoor fireplace lounge. The elegant wine country-themed master planned community is perfectly located in the beautiful Temecula Valley, where residents will enjoy access to highly acclaimed schools, excellent shopping and entertainment and notable golfing, such as prestigious Redhawk Golf Club, Temecula Creek Inn and Journey at Pechanga, all adjacent to Morgan Hill!

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

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hoa-membership-id-cards*Asked & Answered

Asked – Our HOA makes us take a photograph which they put on an ID card to use at the various amenities on site. Upon move out, they make us turn in the IDs. I found out that they don’t destroy the cards that have our name and photograph and what unit we are in. The HOA keeps it in the “unit file” in perpetuity. I don’t feel comfortable with this, but I turned mine and my husband’s in to avoid paying $25 each for not handing them in. My step-daughter has lost hers and I’m being charged $25. In finding out the fee does not go to defray any costs incurred by the board. This does not sound legal/in-line with privacy laws. Suggestions?

AnsweredThe HOA’s practice of retaining photo ID cards does not violate the law; however, the ID cards do not contain information that HOA’s are required to retain as HOA “records” such as copies of the HOA’s governing documents, minutes, financial records, and litigation files. There is no arguable reason for the HOA to retain photo ID’s of past members, so it would be our recommendation that rather than retain the photo ID cards the HOA shred them once they are surrendered, thereby preventing any opportunity for misuse of the information and photographs contained in the cards.

hoa laws The charge of $25 for members who fail to turn in their ID cards upon moving out of the community is probably a penalty charge listed in the HOA’s Fine Schedule.  As a fine, the charge is not required to be used to defray costs incurred by the HOA, but is a penalty designed to motivate members to surrender their cards, so they are not used for entrance to the HOA’s amenities by unauthorized individuals. The amount of the fine is not “unreasonable,” so it does not violate the Civil Code that governs homeowners associations.

Content provided by TLG attorney Terri A. Morris, Esq.

To submit questions to the HOA attorneys at Tinnelly Law Group, click here.