Associations can impose penalties on members for driving violations of
members and their guests and tenants. Associations have the authority to
make and enforce rules for common area use provided the rules are reasonable
. Adopting a speed limit of 5 mph for streets would likely be unenforceable as unreasonable but might be suitable for alleyways.
If the association receives information about speeding or other
violations, it should investigate and determine whether a violation
Before the association can impose penalties, the accused is entitled to due process
which means notice and a hearing where the owner can offer his/her
version of the events. Since homeowners are entitled to challenge
information about the violation, the board cannot rely on anonymous
Fines and Suspensions
. The penalties imposed on those who violate the association's vehicle rules include fines
and the temporary suspension of driving privileges. Just as the state
can suspend driving privileges on public streets and highways,
associations can suspend driving privileges on its private streets.
Associations cannot suspend ingress and egress
rights, i.e., the association cannot block a member from getting to
their property. However, the association can regulate how they get to
their property. In other words, the member can walk, ride a bicycle or
take a taxi to get to their property but cannot drive a car on the
association's streets during the time of the suspension.
Flashing Lights & Tickets
. Although California has not yet addressed whether homeowner
associations can ticket persons for speeding on their streets, Illinois
has.The Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that associations can (i) stop drivers and issue tickets for violating the association's traffic rules, (ii) use amber flashing lights on security vehicles, and (iii) not be liable for false imprisonment when pulling over vehicles on their private streets, provided they have a strong and honest suspicion the person violated the association's rules.
. The Illinois court wrote “We can discern no logic in allowing a private homeowners association to construct and maintain private roadways, but not allowing the association to implement and enforce traffic laws on those roadways.” I believe that California courts would (and should) reach a similar decision.
: Based on the court's discussion and reasoning, associations should:
- Not attempt to enforce the Vehicle Code. Instead, associations should adopt and enforce their own traffic rules. So as to avoid the impression that the Vehicle Code is being enforced, security personnel should issue a "Rules Violation Notice" instead of a "Speeding Ticket."
- Ensure that if their security officers ticket a member's guest, the member is responsible for the fine not the guest.
- Ensure that if a security officer stops a person who is neither a member nor invitee of a member, a warning is given not a ticket.
To read the decision see Poris v. Lake Holiday POA
: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us
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