Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association Law October 10, 2023

QUESTION: My 55+ association has a community center with amenities and activities for residents. Despite our no-guest rule, the activities committee recently decided to make exceptions for residents to invite non-residents they’re “dating” to association-sponsored activities. Yet other residents can’t invite family or friends. Isn’t this discrimination based on relationship status/marital status? –Ellen S.

ANSWER: Dating in a 55+ community? Will wonders never cease? I applaud the committee's decision. It is unlikely residents showing up with a date will overload the community center. Just think of the endless hours of joy it would bring to the community. It would give everyone a reason to get together and gossip--I mean socialize. Activities and happiness are good for the heart--both for the dating couple and the onlookers.

RECOMMENDATION: Go with the flow. Find someone to bring to the Community Center and put love in the air.


QUESTION: I read with interest your recent newsletter that if bylaws have a term limit provision, recalled board members could not immediately run again if termed out. Two different law offices informed us that state law prohibits term limits for HOAs. Is this correct? -Chris

ANSWER: It used to be true. The two law firms were probably thinking of the dumpster fire legislation sponsored by Marjorie Murray's Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL) that went into effect in 2020. The poorly drafted legislation voided term limits in every association in California. It also increased the cost and length of elections, and imposed a greater burden on small associations and senior communities. It created such an outcry of protest that the right to adopt term limits was reinstated in 2022. (Civ. Code  § 5103(d)(2).)

RECOMMENDATION: Associations should be careful not to implement strict term limits that force directors off the board even when no one else is willing to serve. Term limitations should only take effect when there are volunteers willing to serve on the board. Otherwise, associations could find themselves without a board of directors.


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With the legislative year wrapping up, Laurie Poole and I will review new laws effecting associations.

We will also discuss new cases and how courts are interpreting the laws passed by the Legislature.

Boards and managers will want to attend our presentation as we wrap-up 2023 and head into 2024.

There is no cost to attend our webinar. It will be held Thursday, October 26, at noon.
You can REGISTER here.

Board Emails. Please provide suggestions for an email system that only includes board members and is password protected. –Melinda F.

RESPONSE: Let's put the question to our IT readers and see what they recommend.

Dog Park & Pickleball #1. Worst answer ever on dog park and pickleball court. Yes, it should be a vote. –Nancy C.

Dog Park & Pickleball #2. Ouch. Your response about “free” amenities was way off. Dog parks are typically horrible. Free to install does not mean free to maintain. They are typically a blight to the landscape, noisy, smelly, and unsanitary. The people closest to the dog park may well see a substantial decrease in property values. And the idea that non-dog owners would want to sit around and watch other people’s dogs play. Oh puhleeze. Have you ever been to a dog park? This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Pickleball? Okay, it’s a fad, but the homes closest may lose quiet enjoyment of their homes. -Tony K.

Dog Park & Pickleball #3. Depending on the size of the association, the free amenities, in this case a dog park and pickleball courts, may represent a sizable increase in HOA fees as well as a contribution to the reserves. What if that investment would be in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars? Where do you draw the line? Boards should always include the membership in any such investments. -Gus K.

RESPONSE: The size of the association and the location of the amenity are important factors. In a large association with large open common areas, the board would normally appoint a committee to review the impact of the offered amenity. Upon recommendation of the committee, the board could accept the offer and install it. The smaller the association and more limited its open space, the greater the need to take the offer to a vote of the membership.

Dog Park & Pickleball #4. My doctor tells me there’s an exceptional increase in health care emergencies caused by this sport and I would be concerned the board is opening the HOA to potential law suits. Regarding dog parks, I live in a metropolitan area and few HOAs have room for parks with benches. I think a more common description would be a smallish smelly area with barking dogs, increased upkeep for maintenance, and added cost for refurbishing lawns, AstroTurf, etc. -Dan P.

Dog Park & Pickleball #5. You don’t mention the large number of lawsuits from pickleball which is a very invasive sound especially if close to residents…..many, many lawsuits. –Spirit W.

RESPONSE: I am not aware of any lawsuits over pickleball.

Dog Park & Pickleball #6. Wow. I am so surprised at your response regarding “dog park and pickle ball.” You made no mention of liability, noise or completion bond on donors part. That’s what the neighbors closest to the park are concerned about. What’s wrong with letting the residents vote whether they want it there or not? As far as board members are concerned, I think managing the common area is a far cry from reconstructing it. -Verity H.

Dog Park & Pickleball #7. How is a dog park and pickleball court any different than installing a cell tower without the members vote? Our HOA board tried to do that in 2015. There was a huge uproar and they were all recalled. My concern is an answer like the one above could open the door to cell towers again. Many thanks, A former board member and avid reader. –Elise F.

RESPONSE: Many association boards have approved cell towers without a vote of the membership, thereby improving cell reception for the community. This is especially important in rural communities. If the community were adamantly opposed to it, they could take the route yours did and recall the board.

Dog Park & Pickleball #8. Doesn't anything in the common area require a vote of the owners? Gives the board way too much power. What's next a merry go round? How about a pet cemetery? -Bruce C.

RESPONSE: You made me think of Stephen King's novel about pets returning from the dead. I would definitely want the membership to vote on that. The vote you refer to is if an owner wants exclusive use of the common area. Unless there is a statutory exception, it requires a vote of the membership.

Virtual Meetings. If Gov. Newsom signs AB 648 that allows ONLY virtual meetings. Do you realize how harmful that will be to homeowners not to be there in person? With virtual some are not unmuted for open discussion, some are let in late, some are disconnected early before the meeting ends. I hope you will inform Newsom's office that he should send this bill back. -Ted H.

RESPONSE: Make sure you attend our webinar on new legislation. Laurie Poole and I will talk about this bill. You can REGISTER here.

Boards can contact us--we're friendly and our rates are competitive.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary, not legal advice. Boards need to retain an attorney to review all the facts and give a legal opinion on the issues they face. We serve as corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association.

PAST NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website, however, is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature.

I join Adrian in inviting you to contact us for your association's legal needs.

Hon. Lawrence W. Stirling, Senior Partner and author of the Davis-Stirling Act

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