Quasi-Governmental
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QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL

Homeowners’ associations today function in many respects as small municipal governments regulating many aspects of the daily lives of their members. (Chantiles v. Lake Forest II Master Homeowners Assn. (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 914, 922.) Associations are in effect "a quasi-government entity paralleling in almost every case the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government." (Cohen v. Kite Hill Community Association (1983) 142 Cal.App.3d 642, 651.)

COMPARISON CHART
  City               Association
  City Charter   CC&Rs
  City Council
     ·Brown Act
  Board of Directors
   ·Open Meeting Act    
  Mayor   President
  City Manager   Community Manager
  Citizens   Members
  Elections   Elections
  Taxes
     ·tax liens
  Assessments
   ·assessment liens
  Ordinances
     ·hearings
     ·fines
     ·jail
  Rules & Regulations
   ·hearings
   ·fines
   ·suspend privileges
  Police   Security
  Public Works   Maintenance Dept.
Parks & Recreation
     ·parks
     ·pools
     ·etc.
  Recreational Facilities
   ·parks
   ·pools
   ·etc.


Services Provided. "They play an important role ... in public-service functions such as maintenance and repair of public areas and utilities, street and common area lighting, sanitation and the regulation and enforcement of zoning ordinances.... In almost every case, the association provides its members with utility services, road maintenance, street and common area lighting, and refuse removal.... All of these functions are financed through assessments or taxes levied upon the members of the community, with powers vested in the board of directors ... or other similar body clearly analogous to the governing body of a municipality. This delegation extends not only to the common areas, but also within the confines of the home itself.” (Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 468, 475; internal cites and quotation marks omitted).

Mini-Government. "Indeed, the homeowners associations function almost as a second municipal government, regulating many aspects of [the homeowners'] daily lives. [U]pon analysis of the association's functions, one clearly sees the association as a quasi-government entity paralleling in almost every case the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government. As a mini-government, the association provides to its members, in almost every case, utility services, road maintenance, street and common area lighting, and refuse removal. In many cases, it also provides security services and various forms of communication within the community. There is, moreover, a clear analogy to the municipal police and public safety functions.... In short, homeowners associations, via their enforcement of the CC&Rs, provide many beneficial and desirable services that permit a common interest development to flourish." (Villa Milano Homeowners Ass'n v. Il Davorge (2000) 84 Cal. App.4th 819, 836; internal cites and quotation marks omitted).

Problems With The Analogy: While community associations are most often structured as private nonprofit mutual benefit corporations which are private self-governing organizations, courts and the legislature view them variously as a landlord, private business, or a quasi-government, depending on the issue. The problem with treating them as a quasi-government is that they lack the governmental immunities enjoyed by governments. Moreover, the boards are made up entirely of volunteers and only a small number of associations have paid staff to support the board. Smaller, self-managed associations often operate without a management company's support. Many who employ a management company, use them for financial services only. Yet, all are burdened with ever increasing and costly regulation.

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

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