California Lockdown
Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association Law March 20, 2020

Overnight, California went into lockdown. The Governor ordered 40 million Californians to stay home. (See Executive Order.) To get the pandemic under control, only those in essential services are allowed to work.

No Timeline. The dramatic move does not have a timeline. The order is in place until further notice. If everyone complies, the immediate cessation of human contact should stop any new cases of the coronavirus.

Even with a complete lockdown, the number of reported cases will continue to rise as testing identifies people who already have the virus but don't know it.

HOA Management. The order exempts essential services like grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and doctor’s offices. I believe management services are essential to association operations but I suspect the Governor does not. Management company CEOs will need to decide who to send home and who is critical to their continued operations.

Condominium Highrises. What about condominium highrises? They will need at least skeleton crews to respond to plumbing emergencies, facilitate package deliveries, etc. Since all residents need to stay home, it's unlikely valet services would be deemed essential.

What Now? If we hope to get back to normal any time soon, we need to stop the spread of the virus. That means temporarily stopping all social contact. You may want to invest in Disney+ and Netflix since, for now, people will be spending a lot of time parked in front of their TVs.


Thank you for your newsletters. It is comforting to read your common sense and positive replies to all of the HOAs in California. We will get thru this together! -John

Does your mask come in different colors? :) Thanks for the continuing no-nonsense guidance with a bit of added humor. -Shirley P.

Love your newsletter. Thank you! -Michael W.

Hahaha…I agree some we should always practice social distancing _ hahahhaa ! Sending love and thanks for all you do… -Elizabeth B.

What??? Threatening lawsuits if they met using electronics ??? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read that! But thanks always for all your wonderful information! -Elaine J.

Our association is having a Zoom board meeting, but they keep our restaurant open. We also have not limited access to the club house. Most committees are shutting down but clubs continue to meet. Would it be prudent to at least put up a warning sign to avoid potential lawsuits? -Finn M.

RESPONSE: It would be prudent to stop all meetings, except those conducted electronically.

I'm the president of our 12-unit HOA and a freelance writer by trade. I've been tamping out fires for many of my clients and reiterating the same thing: use your social media to keep your customers informed. So HUGE THANK YOU for utilizing your list and continuing to send very relevant information. Many, many thanks. -Christine K.

I, for one, have always practiced safe computing. So you're a little late with the mask! Seriously, though, thank you so much for your newsy newsletter. I am president of our HOA board and trying to keep up with everything can be quite daunting. I know that whatever you are writing, I can trust and use it for our own explanations. -Nadine S.

“I can think of a few people who should continue to practice social distancing.” BAAAHAAA! Love it. Love the newsletter. Constantly cutting and pasting tidbits for my boards and other managers. -Sam N.

Thank you for providing such great information. -Jennifer C.

How about an article on how to hold HEARINGS by teleconference. Yes I know we should postpone them but then you know how some clients can react to that suggestion. -Michael H.

Great stuff, as always. However, I found an error at the end of paragraph five--I’m sure you can think of more than a FEW who should continue to practice social distancing… Thanks for keeping us updated. -Scott C.

I love that response. I can't believe some are dumb enough to threaten a lawsuit. Too much! -Alexander P.

Your messages are highly appreciated! As former president of an association and now an active owner and volunteer, I see the great value in your advice and suggestions. -Kerry G.

As the longtime president of a 14-unit townhouse HOA, I really appreciate your newsletter. It’s not only super informative, but also funny and easy to read. So thank you! Regarding annual elections and the new voting requirements: is it necessary to have an outside person count the votes if the election is uncontested? We are planning on distributing the ballots ahead and opening them at the start of the meeting which we are going to conduct via Zoom. With only 14 units and 5 positions on the board, contested elections are never an issue. Thank you. PS, love the face mask. -Janet G.

RESPONSE: I am an advocate of elections by acclamation. I don't like wasting people's time and money on meaningless elections when the outcome is already known. Even though others disagree, if elections by acclamation are authorized in your bylaws, I believe they can be done.

Thank you for your newsworthy emails. I enjoy them thoroughly. Question, what is your opinion since I have not seen it mentioned as to charging late fees or interest during these trying times? -Randy S.

RESPONSE: I believe late fees and interest on delinquent accounts should be suspended for now.

Any advice about closing down tennis/pickleball courts? If the tennis committee decides it’s a good idea? Can the president authorize it or does there have to be a meeting? Can the Board vote by email? -Kate L.

RESPONSE: It's the board's decision about facility closures. Swimming and tennis could probably be done safely but...

I’ll bet when you started the A/S Newsletter you never imagined you would get so much love from your readers. It’s a reflection on your genuinely good nature and compassion. Razor sharp analysis, with the ability to solve problems with an eye to not creating new problems in the process. And your humor takes the edge off of some painful subjects. If you were President of the United States, Governor of California, or Mayor of San Francisco, I’d feel better knowing a wise and thoughtful adult was running the show. Best wishes to all of your staff–stay well! And continue working to slay those dragons. -Tony V.

RESPONSE: Many thanks for the compliments. However, if nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will the other direction.

Closing Comments. Everyone stay home and stay safe. The crisis will soon pass but we need to do our part to make it happen.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Boards can contact us for friendly, professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
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