The board recently prohibited smoking on patios (our tenants enjoy an
occasional cigar). Do my tenants have to abide by this rule even though
my lease agreement was signed before the rule was adopted?
Yes, the rule applies to your tenants. The lease agreement between you
and your tenant affects rights and obligations between you and your
tenant, not the association. You can't agree with your tenant to impair
the rights of a third party, i.e., the association. The board has the
right to adopt rules regardless of anything to the contrary in your
Example. If, for example, loose dogs in
the common areas were causing problems, the board could adopt a rule
that all dogs be on a leash. Existing pet owners (including tenants)
could not exempt themselves from the rule because their dogs "ran free"
before the rule was adopted.
Nuisance & Safety Issues. For many, cigar smoke is even more offensive than cigarettes. The nuisance
provision found in most CC&Rs allows associations to define what
activities are a nuisance and then restrict those activities. In
addition, there are safety concerns by owners subjected to second-hand
smoke, which is widely recognized as carcinogenic. Accordingly, associations can ban smoking even though patios are "exclusive use" common areas. Your tenants will need to forgo their occasional cigar.
QUESTION: Our association
announces not only the winners of the elections but the vote count. That
seems an unnecessary embarrassment to candidates. Couldn't we meet the
letter of the law by having the specific count available to all members
in the office and only announce the winners' names?
ANSWER: The vote count can be embarrassing to losing candidates but
it still needs to be announced. Refusing to do so may create suspicion
that the election was somehow rigged. When municipal, state and federal
elections are held, the vote count is always published. The
Davis-Stirling Act requires that:
The tabulated results of the election shall be promptly reported to the
board of directors of the association and shall be recorded in the
minutes of the next meeting of the board of directors and shall be
available for review by members of the association. Within 15 days of
the election, the board shall publicize the tabulated results of the
election in a communication directed to all members. Civil Code §1363.03(g)The
sentence above highlighted in red states that boards "shall" publicize
the tabulated results. I think you have to publish the vote count even
though it may be embarrassing.
Humor. Adrian, I
had to email and let you know that I was roaring with laughter while
reading this week's newsletter! Thanks for the comic relief at the
absurdity of this business!!! -Barbara P.
Pet Cemetery #1. What happens if the owner of the pet wants to be buried alongside their pet when they die?
RESPONSE: Homeowner dues for eternity.
Pet Cemetery #2. This is THE BEST reading in town. I am HOWLING over the pet burial. -Helene S.
Pet Cemetery #3.
After nearly forty years in this industry, this is a new one. Now, I’ll
bet there be will some large age-restricted property that will take up this
idea and sell plots right on the common! “Offset increase in dues any
way we can.” Jim M.
Pet Cemetery #4.
I've got one to top your pet cemetery. About 5 years ago one of our
board members gave permission to the daughter of a homeowner who passed
away to bury her ashes in our common area by all the rose bushes the
deceased owner had planted. -Mary S.
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." -Book of Common Prayer
(Church of England, 1662). I bet the roses are beautiful.
Thanks for the humorous questions and answers. I will introduce a motion
at our next BOD meeting that requires all to stand when the president
arrives. We need a few laughs in the HOA business. -Norm H.
A wonderfully humorous (and informative) newsletter to read as I review
communications from home owners (or is it homeowners?). -John C.
Don't forget the perennial issue of "Homeowners" versus "Owners"
Association. And is it plural "Owners" or possessive "Owners'"? This
stuff is important! -William R.
RESPONSE: Who would have thought?
Inspectors of Election.
I read with interest your always-fascinating and informative
newsletter. A management company which provides services for
compensation to an association does not qualify as an "independent
inspector" unless specifically authorized by the Election Rules. Many
associations might not have adopted such a specific rule. I would
encourage your readers who are not sure about their arrangements to
consult with counsel to avoid unpleasant surprises. -Phillip M.
I can see an exception to a liability waiver for an exercise room
accident. The association has a duty of adequate maintenance of
equipment. If negligence were found, the tenant could win. -William H.
Spouses Not on Title.
Our HOA bans spouses not on title from attending the annual meeting. As
you can guess, its just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to
problems caused by the current board's attitude. -Jean R.
I'm laying down my pen for the holidays and spending Christmas with family.
you to everyone for the outstanding feedback you've given over this
past year. Without you the newsletter and Davis-Stirling website would
not be what it is today.
I appreciate all the business you sent us in 2011 and look forward to providing legal services to our clients in 2012.
May you and your families have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a healthy and prosperous New Year!