Articles

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Court Holds that Short-Term Rentals are Not Considered an Unauthorized “Business Use” - By: A.J. Jahanian, Esq.


With Assembly Bill 3182 taking effect this past January, community association boards lost significant leeway to exercise their discretion and adopt/enforce rental restrictions. Though many rental restrictions, such as minimum lease term requirements, and “caps” on the total number of rentals within the community at a given time are intended to help maintain property values and minimize increases in insurance premiums, the State is nonetheless prioritizing expanding the pool of homes available to renters. Similarly, the Court in Lastavich v. Nob Hill Homeowners Association recently confirmed that short-term rentals are not considered an unauthorized commercial use of the home.

In this case, owners were using their condominium unit as a short-term vacation rental when a neighbor sued the association after becoming fed up with the increased foot traffic and alleged noise emanating from the unit and its various tenants.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

COVID-19 Update By: Tawnza Sofranko, Esq.


As of the date of this publication, the State’s “Regional Stay at Home Order” has been lifted.  This order shut down gatherings and imposed a strict curfew.  What does this mean? 

As you likely know, every county in California has been assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and case rate.  In the absence of the Regional Stay at Home Order, associations should defer to county guidelines, which may begin to relax in the coming weeks or months, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases in the county.

The following summarizes the recent changes within each county which may or may not impact current association operations.
Read more . . .


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Maintaining Your Association’s Corporate Status: What’s the Big Deal? By: Tara Radley, Esq.


The vast majority of community associations in California are incorporated. This means they have filed Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State (“SOS”) and function as corporations within the meaning of the California Corporations Code. It also means the association must take on-going action to maintain its corporate status.

In order to keep the association’s corporate status in good standing, various administrative tasks are required. If these tasks are not completed and/or fall off the radar of the association, the consequences may be significant.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Senate Bill 1079 - Foreclosure Proceeding Changes Recently Enacted into Law

Senate Bill 1079, which was recently signed into law, changes practices for the sale of residential units/lots via nonjudicial foreclosure. This new law will be in effect between January 1, 2021 and January 1, 2026, and is intended to help “eligible bidders” (i.e., a tenant currently occupying the foreclosed unit/lot; a person that intends to reside in the unit/lot for no less than one year; and designated nonprofit housing entities) in securing affordable housing. Note, prior law required the notice of sale to contain specified notices to potential bidders and to the property owner.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

COVID-19: The Latest State Mandate by: A.J. Jahanian, Esq.

          As most have certainly heard by now, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a “Regional Stay at Home Order,” taking effect December 5, 2020. Among other things, it provides that the California Department of Public Health will be charge with identifying the adult ICU capacity for each particular “region,” and if those capacities fall below 15%, more stringent mandates/guidance will apply (i.e., individuals in those regions are “ordered” to stay at their place of residence, except for certain permitted activities, such as outdoor recreation, political expression and worship, seeking critical services, etc.).


Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

2020/2021 LEGAL UPDATE

This year’s legislative session was unlike any other, as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the State of California and its 2020 legislative session to suspend its routine schedule. As a consequence, the focus of the Legislature shifted to pandemic relief, and for our State’s 40,000+ common interest developments, this means changes to combat issues caused or exacerbated by the pandemic (see Assembly Bill 3182, for example).

What follows is a summary of noteworthy legislation, court decisions, news, and current events from this past year, which impact common interest developments. 

ENACTED LEGISLATION
The bills below have been signed and approved by Governor Gavin Newsom and will take effect January 1, 2021, as “New Law.”

SB 326: Exterior Elevated Elements

This Bill revises the Civil Code to require a condominium association with three (3) or more units to have a licensed structural engineer conduct an inspection of the building’s exterior elevated elements, at least once every nine (9) years.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

AB 3182 Checklist


As you likely know, Assembly Bill 3182 (“AB 3182”) recently passed and will go into effect January 1, 2021. Under AB 3182, any provisions of the governing documents which “unreasonably restrict” renting will be void and unenforceable, with limited exceptions. 

In light of the new law, we want your community to be prepared and have created an “AB 3182 Checklist” to assist you in evaluating the next steps to take.

 Review Governing Documents for Any Rental Restrictions.

 Determine Whether any Said Rental Restrictions Violate AB 3182:

o Rental Cap;
o Minimum Lease Term;
o Occupancy Requirements; or
o Any other provision that may potentially be deemed an “unreasonable” restriction on leasing.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Assembly Bill 3182: Undoing Rental Restrictions and “Forced” Governing Document Amendments


As you have probably already heard, Assembly Bill 3182 (“AB 3182”) was approved by the Governor on September 28, 2020. With this Bill comes changes to the law which will undoubtedly alter the character of California’s homeowners’ associations.

Starting January 1, 2021, the California Civil Code will be amended to encourage rentals and, in many ways, discourage property ownership. Any provision in your governing documents which prohibits or “unreasonably restricts” renting will be considered void and unenforceable, with two (2) exceptions:

  1. Associations can prohibit short-term rentals of thirty (30) days or less;
  2. Associations can limit the total number of rental homes in the community, to twenty-five percent (25%), but no less.

Moreover, the law will require homeowners’ associations to amend their governing documents to reflect these changes, by December 31, 2021.
Read more . . .


Friday, September 25, 2020

What Actions, If Any, should be Taken When a Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19?

Undoubtedly, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has interrupted the normal routines and operations of associations and their boards and management. While state and local health officials' orders may be lifted or relaxed (or tightened in some cases), depending on the rise and fall of the infection rate, we can expect many of the last several months' changes to association operations to stay intact for some time. The board's and management's due diligence and consideration for how to mitigate the possible transmission of the virus within their communities will continue to be relevant, even once virus related orders are completely lifted.

With this in mind, a common question that boards and managers might have is, "What do we do if there has been a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or some other communicable disease within the community?”

At the outset, given the unprecedented nature of this pandemic, and the health and safety risks posed by COVID-19, the board is entitled to require members and residents to inform the association (via phone or email) if in fact they have contracted or tested positive, or have traveled to what health organizations (the CDC, WHO or others) might consider a "high-risk" location. Note that while boards must be sensitive to confidentiality and privacy, associations are not subject to the privacy protections in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These protections apply to healthcare providers only, such as doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, dentists and the like.

 


Read more . . .


Friday, September 25, 2020

Addressing Homeowner Delinquencies in the Era of COVID-19 By Lisa Tashjian, Esq. and Calvin Rose, Esq.


Addressing Homeowner Delinquencies in the Era of COVID-19

Question: I’m serving on my homeowner association’s board of directors, and we are noticing an uptick in delinquent homeowner accounts in our community that may be due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Is there anything we can do to address this?

Answer: Community associations, through their boards of directors, are charged with the fiduciary duty to operate and manage community association affairs, including managing and maintaining the common areas. This also includes, among other things, enforcing the provisions in the CC&Rs, and any related collection policies that speak to the timely payment of assessments. 

The “uptick” that you reference may, in fact, be due to the economic challenges faced by owners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

COVID-19: What is Next?

In a post-pandemic world, your community association has likely made significant and sudden changes to its operations and protocols. Since March, boards and managers have been tasked with responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and implementing new procedures, transitioning to virtual meetings, closing or restricting common areas, etc., as state and local health officials continue to revise/update their guidance and mandates, based upon best available information. 

Almost six months after Governor Newsom first declared a state of emergency, what have we learned, and how should your community be responding moving forward? Depending on the location of your community and its unique facets, such as size, demographics, budget, staff and range of common area amenities, the answer to this question will certainly vary.

First, read your local jurisdiction’s health department’s orders.

Read more . . .


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