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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.

LanaiWe are proud to announce that Lanai Owners Association has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Lanai is a brand new single family home community by Shea Homes.  Located one mile from the Pacific Ocean Beaches in the heart of Carlsbad, residents will enjoy ocean views and easy access to beaches, entertainment, shopping, and dining.

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

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

Heirloom is a brand new townhome community by The New Home Company.  Heirloom at The Cannery presents an extraordinary opportunity to reside in California’s first farm-to-table new home community. Heirloom received the prestigious “Community of the Year” honor at the 2016 MAME Awards presented by the North State Building Industry Association. The idea for living at The Cannery in Davis is pure and natural: Surround homes with parks and a working farm.  Residents enjoy an urban garden, producing farm, market, pool and ranch clubhouse.

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


On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown signed Executive Order B-40-17, ending the drought state of emergency in most of California.  Drought restrictions will remain in effect in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolomne counties, which continue to face drinking water shortages and diminished groundwater supplies.  The new Executive Order rescinds the emergency proclamations from January and April 2014, along with four drought-related executive orders.

Over the last few years, the California legislature has passed several bills aimed at water conservation within community associations. AB 2100 amended Civil Code Section 4735 to prohibit associations from fining or threatening to fine an owner for failing to water vegetation or lawns during a state or local government-declared drought.  SB 814 also authorized penalties for excessive residential water use during periods of government-declared droughts. Now that the state of emergency has been lifted, these laws are no longer in effect, provided the local jurisdiction has not declared a local drought.

AB 2104 further amended Section 4735 to restrict an association from prohibiting low-water using plants as a group, and AB 349 amended Section 4735 to restrict an association’s authority to prohibit artificial turf.  Although the drought restrictions have been lifted, this legislation protects homeowners from having to reverse or remove any landscaping measures that were installed in response to the government-declared drought.

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) also adopted emergency regulations that subject associations to fines of up to $500 per day for violating the provisions of Section 4735.  These regulations will remain in effect until November 25, 2017, or until they are modified or repealed by SWRCB.

The decision to lift drought restrictions was partly based on unprecedented water conservation.  Californians saved more than 20% of urban water since the Governor mandated water use reductions in 2015.  Despite the record levels of water conservation, the State cautions, “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” said Governor Brown. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

Executive Order B-40-17 continues the provisions in the previous Executive Order, “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life.”  Permanent restrictions prohibit the use of potable water for:

  • hosing off sidewalks, driveway and other hardscapes;
  • washing automobiles with hoses not equipped with a shot-off nozzle;
  • using non-recirculated water in a fountain or other decorative water feature;
  • watering lawns in a manner that causes runoff, or within 48 hours after measurable precipitation; and
  • irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.
California HOA lawyers The SWRCB will continue to plan for future droughts and promote water conservation as a way of life, which may result in more legislation.  

Blog post authored by TLG Director of Business Development, Ramona Acosta.

new-client-PSD-file-to-editWe are proud to announce that Regency Villas Association of San Diego has selected Tinnelly Law Group as their associations’ legal counsel.

Regency Villas is an active adult community for seniors 62 and older in the University City area of San Diego. The community is ideally located within walking distance of shopping and restaurants, and just a short 10-minute drive to La Jolla beaches.  Residents enjoy a clubhouse with recreation room, gym, and barbecue area.

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

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.

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.

accolades3.pngSome condominium projects are unfortunately experiencing substantial, community-wide pipe leaks and failures due to substandard piping products used in development. In dealing with that very situation, one of TLG’s homeowners association clients, located in the City of Laguna Niguel, encountered various legal and financial issues. We are humbled by the recent comments made by its Board President in response to the assistance TLG provided over the past months in helping to resolve those issues:

“Thanks to [Rich Tinnelly] and [Steve Tinnelly] and [Kai MacDonald] for your advice, prompt responses, and patience in helping guide us through the maze.”

condo lawyer

We are privileged to have assisted the Board in taking the steps necessary to protect the interests of the HOA and its members. We applaud their diligence and determination in tackling the problem head-on and in preventing what could have been catastrophic damage to the community, the members’ properties, and the HOA’s financial well-being.

Arbitration provision contained in developer’s CC&Rs is not binding contract term…

Villa Vicenza Homeowners Association v. Nobel Court Development, LLC
(2011) WL 72200


*1 In this case the developer of a condominium project recorded a declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC & R’s) which required that a homeowners association arbitrate any construction defect claim the association might have against the developer. As we explain more fully below, we find CC & R’s are not an effective means of obtaining an agreement to arbitrate a homeowners association’s construction defect claims against a developer.1

Although both federal and state law favor the enforcement of arbitration agreements, neither federal nor state law countenance imposition of arbitration where no agreement to waive judicial remedies exists. Admittedly, in other circumstances our cases and Civil Code section 1354 treat CC & R’s as equitable servitudes which bind homeowners and homeowners associations with respect to claims they may have against each other. This treatment of CC & R’s is not based on any determination the parties bound by them are in privity of contract with either their co-owners or a homeowners association. Rather, CC & R’s are made binding in disputes between homeowners or between homeowners and a homeowners association because of their shared and continuing interest in the equitable and efficient operation of common interest developments. Here, the recorded CC & R’s, standing alone, are not a contract between the developer and the homeowners association, which only came into existence after the CC & R’s were recorded. Thus here there has been no showing the association entered into a binding arbitration agreement. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in denying the developers’ motion to compel arbitration.


Nobel Court Development, LLC (Nobel), purchased the 418 apartments, common areas, and common facilities which make up the Villa Vicenza project in 2004 and converted the apartments to condominiums in 2005. In the course of making the property a condominium project, Nobel recorded CC & R’s under which the Villa Vicenza Homeowners Association (the Association) came into existence upon the sale of the first condominium. By deed Nobel also transferred ownership of the common areas and common facilities to the Association. No consideration was provided by the Association to Nobel and the Association did not execute any documents in favor of Nobel in connection with the deed transferring the common areas and common facilities to the Association. In pertinent part, the CC & R’s require that both condominium owners and the Association arbitrate any claims they have against the developer.

Because following the first sale Nobel controlled the board of directors of the Association and because the initial condominium buyers noticed defects in common areas and common facilities and did not believe Nobel had provided a reserve fund sufficient to repair the defects, the condominium owners brought a derivative action on behalf of the Association against Nobel.2 Later, an independent litigation committee of the Association was appointed and filed a cross-complaint against Nobel. The committee alleged claims for breach of implied warranty, strict liability, negligence and as the third-party beneficiary of express and implied warranties Nobel made to individual homeowners. Following unsuccessful efforts to mediate the Association’s claims, Nobel filed a motion to compel arbitration under the provisions of the CC & R’s. The trial court denied the motion with respect to the bulk of the Association’s claims, but compelled arbitration of the express warranty claims. Nobel filed a timely notice of appeal. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1294, subd. (a).)

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Common Interest Developments>Governing Documents>Enforcement

California Civil Code § 1354.

Covenants and Restrictions in Declaration as Equitable Servitudes; Enforcement; Alternative Dispute Resolution

(a) The covenants and restrictions in the declaration shall be enforceable equitable servitudes, unless unreasonable, and shall inure to the benefit of and bind all owners of separate interests in the development. Unless the declaration states otherwise, these servitudes may be enforced by any owner of a separate interest or by the association, or by both.

(b) A governing document other than the declaration may be enforced by the association against an owner of a separate interest or by an owner of a separate interest against the association.

(c) In an action to enforce the governing documents, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

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