Garbage Fees
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GARBAGE COLLECTION FEES

Planned developments (PDs) handle garbage collection in one of two ways; it either builds the cost into the association's annual budget or it bills the cost to owners as a separate fee.

Mandatory Fee. Most HOAs bill owners for garbage collection whether or not they use the service. The justification for mandatory fees is that people often resort to unlawful self-help techniques in order to avoid paying for voluntary garbage services, which results in significant litter and illegal disposal problems.

Authority to Charge Fee. CC&Rs typically authorize boards to adopt rules regarding β€œthe general health, welfare, comfort, and safety of residents in the development.” When it comes to garbage collection, β€œ[t]he accumulation of garbage and trash within a city is deleterious to public health and safety [and that] collection and disposal of garbage and trash . . . constitutes a valid exercise of police power . . . .” (Davis v. City of Santa Ana (1952) 108 Cal.App.2d 669, 676-77.) Municipal governments have authority to require their residents to pay for garbage collection from their individual homes, even if they do not want or need this service. (City of Glendale v. Trondsen (1957) 48 Cal.2d 93, 102; Perez v. City of San Bruno (1980) 27 Cal.3d 875, 885.) Given that HOAs function in the nature of a mini-government, and given that trash regulation is clearly in the public interest, instituting a mandatory garbage collection fee is within a board's authority.

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