Beaumont Tashjian Law Blog

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 . . .


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Senate Bill 326: Balcony Inspections


On August 30, 2019, the Governor approved Senate Bill No. 326 (“SB 326”), which amends Civil Code Section 5551 and requires associations to conduct an inspection of their exterior elevated elements (i.e., balconies, decks, patios, stairways, walkways, and their railings) and the associated waterproofing systems, to determine if they are in a generally safe condition. The California legislature passed this bill in an attempt to prevent future balcony collapses like the tragedy that occurred in Berkeley in 2015, which left six people dead and another seven injured.
Read more . . .


Friday, September 4, 2020

TAKE ACTION NOW! ASSEMBLY BILL 3182

As you may know, AB 3182 is on the Governor’s desk, pending his signature or veto.  AB 3182, if passed, would effectively prohibit (with only a couple of exceptions) rental bans, to allow owners to rent out their homes or attached/detached accessory and junior accessory dwelling units. Your advocacy efforts are needed to urge Governor Newsom to veto AB 3182.

Rental restrictions, and the broad discretion the board is given to adopt and enforce them, are intended to preserve the residential character of the community by promoting stability, minimizing increases in insurance premiums, maintaining property values and avoiding transient tenancy. Assembly Bill 3182 (“AB 3182”), if passed, would limit this discretion and prohibit certain types of rental restrictions.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Fire Season Is (Sadly) Upon Us: How Should You Prepare?


Wildfires are currently starting to rage throughout the state, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. In fact, as of the date of this publication and only since August 15th, over a million acres have been burned in Northern California. Read more . . .


Thursday, August 20, 2020

The HOA Show Podcast EP4: Successful Rules Enforcement During Challenging Times

BT form partners, Jeffery A. Beaumont and Lisa A. Tashjian discuss successful rule enforcement during challenging times on The HOA Show, hosted by: Ryan Gesell, CIRMS, CMCA.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN


Read more . . .


Friday, August 14, 2020

A Step-by-Step Approach to Amending and Restating Governing Documents

It seems as though the laws change as frequently as the tides. Some years see more legal changes than others – changes that greatly affect the way boards manage the association’s affairs. The laws governing community associations have experienced so much change within the past three to four years alone that it may make your community’s governing documents unreliable, especially as they relate to homeowner rights and the functions of the board, officers, and management. It only makes sense to have governing documents that are updated and reflect modern law. Moreover, relying on outdated, antiquated governing documents may expose associations, board members and even management to liability.

Step #1: Evaluate the Existing Governing Documents

The first step in amending or restating governing documents, whether the CC&Rs or Bylaws, is to review and evaluate the documents to determine whether any provisions are inconsistent with laws. To the extent there is any conflict or inconsistency between the law and the CC&Rs, the law will prevail. To the extent there is any conflict or inconsistency between the CC&Rs and Bylaws, the CC&Rs will prevail. Reliance on a provision of the CC&Rs or Bylaws that is inconsistent with the law exposes the association to liability. For example, many older Bylaws allow the board of directors to make decisions outside of a duly noticed meeting provided all directors unanimously consent. However, the Open Meeting Act now prohibits directors from taking action outside of a duly noticed meeting, unless in the event of emergency. 

Read more . . .


Friday, July 24, 2020

Assembly Bill 3182: The Undoing of Rental Restrictions in Common Interest Developments


Rental restrictions have long been a hot button issue and source of debate, from the state/legislative level, down to the rules in your unique community’s governing documents. California law currently allows homeowners’ associations to adopt reasonable rental restrictions, such as minimum lease terms, occupancy requirements prior to leasing and caps on the total number of homes in the community that can be rented at a given time. Generally speaking, as long as the restrictions and limitations the board chooses to adopt are reasonable and consistent across the governing documents, a court would uphold them.

 

Rental restrictions, and the broad discretion the board is given to adopt and enforce them, are intended to preserve the residential character of the community by promoting stability, minimizing increases in insurance premiums, maintaining property values and avoiding transient tenancy. Assembly Bill 3182 (“AB 3182”), if chaptered in its current form, would limit this discretion and prohibit certain types of rental restrictions.
Read more . . .


Monday, July 13, 2020

COVID-19: Fitness Center Closures Per Governor Newsom's July 13, 2020 Announcement

As of July 13, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all counties must close their indoor operations in the following sectors:

  • Dine-in restaurants;

  • Wineries and tasting rooms;

  • Movie theaters;

  • Family entertainment centers (e.g., bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades);

  • Zoos and museums; and

  • Cardrooms. 

Bars and pubs across all counties must also close, whether or not they are indoors or outdoors. What is more, counties on the State’s “County Monitoring List”, which include, among others, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Riverside and Ventura, must close the following facilities, unless they can be modified to operate outside:

  • Fitness centers;

  • Worship services;

  • Protests;

  • Offices for non-essential sectors;

  • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors;

  • Hair salons and barbershops; and

  • Malls. 


Read more . . .


Friday, July 10, 2020

Pandemic Awareness: Helping Boards be Adaptable to Government Orders and Future Health Crises


As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic remains very much a part of our lives at the time of this publication, community association leaders are undoubtedly straining to maintain a sense of normalcy while transitioning to virtual meetings, new common area rules and restrictions, sanitization and other health/safety protocols, etc. Complicating matters further, state and local health officials seem to be revising their pandemic guidelines, recommendations and/or mandates weekly (if not daily). Government orders are regularly either tightened or relaxed, depending on the rise and fall of the infection rate. These reactive responses are difficult to keep track of for community association boards and managers (and attorneys!). 

While the infection rate and government responses to the statistics are unpredictable, what can be controlled is the association’s preparedness for all scenarios.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Solar Energy Systems: What Can an Association Do to Best Protect the Community?

In recent years, the laws governing homeowners’ installation of Solar Energy Systems, or “SES” have been updated in order to address evolving technology and the increasing popularity of solar panels.  Under California Civil Code Section 714(a), owners’ associations are barred from adopting any regulations, restrictions or covenants that effectively prohibit the installation or use of a SES.  Any such restrictions are deemed “void and unenforceable” as a matter of law.

However, this does not mean that associations are unable to regulate the installation of SES in their community. Civil Code Section 714(b) allows associations to impose “reasonable” restrictions on the installation of SES.  “Reasonable” restrictions are those defined as “restrictions that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance, or that allow for an alternative system of comparable cost, efficiency, and energy conservation benefits.”

With SES installations come a variety of concerns. These concerns can include risk of property damage, as well as roof access, workmanship, conformity with legal requirements, protecting existing building improvements, protecting existing roof warranties and effecting repairs – especially with respect to an association’s ability to repair common area roofs and building components that may be covered by SES installations.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

COVID-19: Reopening the Common Facilities Per Los Angeles County’s


As of May 26, 2020, Los Angeles County has issued a revised Order, also referred to as a “Resilience Roadmap,” to safely reopening various facilities within the County, in conjunction with the State Health Officer’s Orders. Of significance to your community association are the following:

  • People leaving their residences are still required to wear cloth face coverings;
  • Recreational sites, such as fitness centers, children’s playgrounds and movie theaters, must still remain closed;
  • All events and gatherings remain prohibited;
  • Homeowners association pools may be opened;
  • Outdoor recreation activities at parks, trails, beaches and other open spaces are permitted, subject to “Social (Physical) Distancing”;
  • Shared outdoor facilities are permitted to be used, subject to Social (Physical) Distancing, such as tennis and pickleball courts, model airplane areas, community gardens, bike parks and equestrian centers.

With this said, “Social (Physical) Distancing” remains defined as: a) maintaining six (6)-feet of physical distance from individuals who are not members of the same household; b) frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds, or using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; c) wearing a cloth face covering when in contact with others who do not live in the same household; and d) avoiding all physical interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough, except for necessary medical care.

Significantly, based on Los Angeles County’s most recent guidance, community association boards and managers may begin to implement plans for reopening certain common area facilities as described above, including pools. But note, boards should continue to consult with legal counsel and factor in the demographics of the community as well as the feasibility of ensuring Social (Physical) Distancing, prior to making any decision on reopening.
Read more . . .


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