QUESTION: We have a new neighbor who is causing huge problems. His newest campaign is to modify the CC&Rs to include the following: "Any assessment and any increase in the dues in excess of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) must be approved by 51% of the homeowners."
ANSWER: His efforts are understandable but misguided. Even if he is successful, the amendment would be void. Regardless of anything to the contrary in the governing documents, boards may increase regular assessments up to 20% and levy special assessments up to 5% without membership approval. (Civ. Code §5605(b).) This statutory authority by its express language overrides any restrictions in an association's governing documents. Moreover, a second statute establishes a hierarchy of authority that states that the law prevails whenever there is a conflict between an association's governing documents and the law.
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