Adams Stirling PLC


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The Legislature...finds that covenants and restrictions contained in the declaration, are an appropriate method for protecting the common plan of developments and to provide for a mechanism for financial support for the upkeep of common area including, but not limited to, roofs, roads, heating systems, and recreational facilities. If declarations terminate prematurely, common interest developments may deteriorate and the housing supply of affordable units could be impacted adversely. (Civ. Code §1265(a).)

CID Created. "A common interest development is created with the recording of the declaration, and other required documents, and there is a conveyance of a separate interest coupled with an interest in the common area or membership in the association. Each owner in a condominium project is a member of the association." (Treo @ Kettner v. Sup. Ct.)

Managed by an Association. Under the Davis-Stirling Act, a common interest development (CID) must be managed by an association. (Civ. Code §4800.) Associations are variously referred to as:

  • Common Interest Realty Associations (CIRA)
  • Community Associations (CA)
  • Homeowners Associations (HOA)
  • Owners Associations (OA)
  • Property Owners Associations (POA)
  • Residential Community Associations (RCA)

Association Defined. An "association" is defined as a "nonprofit corporation or unincorporated association created for the purpose of managing a common interest development." (Civ. Code 4080.) It is a private organization managing private property, whether it be residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use or otherwise.

Association Powers. Unless the governing documents provide otherwise, and regardless of whether the association is incorporated or unincorporated, the association may exercise the powers granted to a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, as enumerated in Section 7140 of the Corporations Code. (Civ. Code §4805.)

Board of Directors. Associations are governed through elected boards of directors who have general duties and authority to govern. (Civ. Code §4080.)

Relation to Members. "The relationship between individual homeowners and the managing association of a common interest development is complex (Lamden v. La Jolla Shores Clubdominium Homeowners Assn. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 249, 266), and their respective rights depend upon the nature of the particular dispute.

  • Landlords. In Duffey v. Superior Court (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 425, 428-429, the court observed that associations were sometimes treated as landlords (Frances T. v. Village Green Owners Assn. (1986) 42 Cal.3d 490, 499-501 [association could be held liable for rape and robbery of individual owner who was not allowed to install additional lighting at time of crime wave]).
  • Mini-governments. Courts sometimes treat associations as "mini-governments" (Laguna Publishing Co. v. Golden Rain Foundation (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 816, 844 [gated community could not discriminate among give-away newspapers]), sometimes as businesses (O'Connor v. Village Green Owners Assn. (1983) 33 Cal.3d 790, 796 [condominium project with age restrictions . . . was 'business' within the meaning of Unruh Civil Rights Act]).
  • Corporations. Courts also view associations as corporations (Beehan v. Lido Isle Community Assn. (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 858, 865-867 [board of directors' good faith refusal to take action against construction of house in arguable contravention of setback restrictions was protected by corporate business judgment rule])." (O'Toole v. Kingsbury Court.)

Dissolving an Association. See Dissolution of an Association.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC