Retroactive Enforcement
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RETROACTIVE ENFORCEMENT

In a unanimous decision in Villa de Las Palmas v. Terifaj the California Supreme Court ruled that CC&R amendments apply to all owners, regardless of when they purchased their units.

Terifaj bought into a condominium complex with her dog even though she knew there was an unwritten rule prohibiting pets. After repeated warnings and fines, the association sued Terifaj. The trial court denied the association's motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the case to nonbinding arbitration. In the interim, the membership amended the CC&Rs to add a no-pet restriction.

Based on the amended CC&Rs, the Association filed an amended complaint alleging the same causes of action and seeking the same relief as the original complaint. Following a bench trial, the court ruled in favor of the association. Terifaj appealed.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the amendment was valid and enforceable. Terifaj appealed to the California Supreme Court and again lost. The Court ruled that new restrictions, i.e., CC&R amendments, apply to all owners, regardless of when they bought their units. The Court reasoned that limiting the enforcement of amendments would, in effect, give an owner veto power over them.

NOTE: The CC&Rs in this case were amended prior to the enactment of Civil Code §4715. As a result, the ruling does not give associations the right to amend their documents to ban pets.

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