Attorney General. According to the website of the State of California Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General does not handle most homeowners association complaints. Their website recommends contacting a private attorney for complaints involving:
- The Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code section 4000 et seq.)
- The HOA's rules, commonly referred to as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs)
- Services and amenities or maintenance issues
- Property management companies
- Accountability for common interest assets, i.e., landscaping, pools and clubhouses
- Parking and the towing of vehicles
- Dues, assessments and citations
- Costs related to written document production requests, such as copying or redaction fees
- Foreclosure proceedings
- Poor management, misappropriation or negligent handling of corporate assets
If the complaint is about violations of the Corporations Code, it can be submitted to:
Office of the Attorney General
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Department of Real Estate. The Department of Real Estate does not regulate homeowner associations or their management companies, nor does it have jurisdiction over the enforcement of CC&Rs, bylaws or Civil Code sections. The DRE is a licensing and regulatory agency empowered to discipline real estate brokers and agents. The DRE is also involved in overseeing developers of common interest developments. Once a developer turns over control of an association to its members, DRE's oversight ends.
Courts. Although the courts are not regulatory agencies, they can be used to sort out the legal rights and duties of parties, provide injunctive relief and award damages. Some matters involving the Davis-Stirling Act can be addressed by small claims courts, while others must be addressed through superior courts (following an offer of alternative dispute resolution).
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.