Adams Stirling PLC

  California's Leader in Community Association Law December 4, 2016

With the passage earlier this year of Senate Bill 918, associations must annually provide written notice to the membership of their obligation to provide the following information:

1. The address or addresses to which notices from the association are to be delivered.

2. An alternate or secondary address to which notices from the association are to be delivered.

3. The name and address of a legal representative who can be contacted in the event of the owner’s extended absence.

4. Whether the separate interest is owner-occupied, rented out, or vacant.

If an owner fails to provide contact information, the property address shall be deemed to be the address to which notices are to be delivered. (Civ. Code §4041.)
See sample form prepared by senior attorney Wayne Louvier.


Airbnb is an online service that connects short-term renters (STRs) with people who have rooms or homes to rent on a daily or weekly basis.

Hotels & Cities. The site has grown spectacularly since its founding in 2008 so much so that 50,000 renters per night are using Airbnb. This is costing hotels $450 million per year, depriving cities of $226 million in tax revenues per year, and removing tens of thousands of homes from the long-term rental market.

Impact on Associations. HOA owners and investors have jumped into the lucrative market and are using Airbnb to create a steady stream of weekend rentals in violation of their CC&Rs. Such rentals significantly burden associations, some of which resulted in litigation. The court of appeals  recognized the burden created by STRs:

That short-term renters cost the Association more than long-term renters or permanent residents is not only supported by the evidence but experience and common sense places the matter beyond debate. Short-term renters use the common facilities more intensely; they take more staff time in giving directions and information and enforcing the rules; and they are less careful in using the common facilities because they are not concerned with the long-term consequences of abuse. (Watts v. Oak Shores.)

Other problems include security breaches, vandalism, litter and higher maintenance costs.

Typical CC&R Restrictions. STR restrictions are understandable since associations are intended to be stable communities with homeowners occupying units. To that end, almost all CC&Rs prohibit STRs. They often contain language prohibiting hotel-like use of residences as well as requirements that rentals be for at least 30 days, six months or one year.

Coastal Commission. The enforcement of STR restrictions has taken a twist for associations along the coast. The hyperactive California Coastal Commission has taken steps to prevent associations from enforcing their CC&Rs by threatening large, punitive fines.

The Coastal Commission argues that its heavy-handed approach increases the public's access to the water. My firm obtained documents from the Coastal Commission where they cite tenuous authorizing language under the California Coastal Act for their actions. We reviewed the law and flatly disagree with their interpretation.

RECOMMENDATION. If your association gets a "cease and desist" letter from the Commission, you should immediately contact legal counsel. If you have questions about restricting short-term rentals, contact me.

Thank you to senior litigation attorney Ronald St. Marie for his research on this issue.


I am looking for an attorney for my Los Angeles office to work as general counsel with community associations.

If you have at least 5 years experience in litigation or real estate transactional work and are interested in making a move, contact me at 800-464-2817 or by email.


Smoking Weed #1. Your newsletter is right on about pot smoking in the common areas. We follow your directions with our residents. We notify them, with a polite letter, and then help them, if appropriate, to seal their front doors so they can enjoy their pot without disturbing their neighbors or the common area. Respecting their rights, as well as the rights of their neighbors really works well. Excellent advice, as always. -Bill B.

Smoking Weed #2. I don't like California's voter initiative ballot proposals. We pay state legislators to make laws not poorly informed voters. The governor of Colorado was quoted recently as saying that the marijuana initiative in Colorado, which he supported, was one of the worst decisions he made in his political career. I wonder if the people in this state will ever wake up and smell the Folgers and cease acting as an ad hoc legislature. -John A.

Smoking Weed #3. As attorneys you a great. As physicians you fail. For cancer patients, among several terminal illness, Cannibus must be through oral applications. Please stick to your specialties. -Don G.

RESPONSE: The next reader agrees with my diagnosis.

Smoking Weed #4. Have to comment on your blurb about marijuana smoking. Most medicinal users will not smoke marijuana. That is an old-fashioned concept. Today, most doctors will prescribe pills containing isolated THC or recommend using it in cookies or other bakery products. Seldom will you see someone smoking medicinal pot in public areas. -Walter D.

Smoking Weed #5. As a new owner and board member your newsletter has helped me considerably. In our HOA we don’t have a problem with public smoking of marijuana. However, we do have one owner who smokes it heavily in his unit. He has been asked to smoke with his windows open so as not to bother the other owners. We don’t know if he is complying with this request or not but the hallway reeks with the smell of marijuana all day long. Any suggestions? -Phil H.

RESPONSE: Residents have a right not to be assaulted by the smell of pot. You have a number of options, see controlling nuisance odors.


My story about a condo president helping elect our next U.S President brought a mix of responses. Half were happy and half not so. Following is a sampling:

President #1. Once again your newsletter makes my Sunday morning. I especially liked the story about how Trump found a condo executive to guide him into the presidency. You are correct about the challenges of running an HOA. Ever onward!!!! -William B.

President #2. “Thanks to her steady hand…” Seriously? Or satire? -Greg P.

President #3. If the President-Elect of the U.S. can be totally unqualified and lacking in knowledge required to do the job, why should it be any different for an HOA president? -Nancy K.

President #4. Loved the Kellyanne Conway story. Forwarded it to my brother who lives in a small community in AZ. Thought he would enjoy the irony of the story. -Judy B.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.

We are friendly lawyers. For quality legal service, boards should call (800) 464-2817 or email.


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