Coronavirus & Natural Selection
Adams Stirling PLC

  California's Leader in Community Association LawApril 3, 2020

I’m confident your newsletter advice doesn’t constitute binding legal advice although good, informative and certainly using common sense and humor (so needed). Nonetheless, it is greatly appreciated as it often triggers something we should at least consider or be aware of in operating our HOAs.

I wish owners had some idea of the complexity of issues boards face almost daily and have greater tolerance of the hard decisions we often have to make. In my opinion, the real pandemic is the wide-spread case of STUPID that has enormously impacted everyone in this country. If only there were a cure for that, short of natural selection. -Joe G.

RESPONSE: You're right, my newsletters can only give general information and point people in the right direction. That's why I keep referring everyone to their own legal counsel. Readers may have circumstances unique to their association that vary from the norm and must be treated differently. Boards who don't retain experienced counsel are being short-sighted.


Reducing Fees. We are considering several methods of temporarily reducing our HOA fees during this national shutdown. What would be the logical and correct way to proceed? -Dan W.

RESPONSE: A temporary reduction may be in order if you can reduce expenses sufficiently to cover the reduction and still pay for essential services. How you implement it is something you should work out with your management company.

Short Term Rentals. Our POA has many homes that are used as short term rentals. We have an owner who recently rented to a large group who were all noted to be sick when they came and still sick when they left. We are a small isolated community. Having a group of COVID-19 visitors could be devastating for our community. What can we do about this? -Peggy H.

RESPONSE: Contact the local Health Department and ask them to issue an order to the owner to cease renting their home until the stay-at-home order is lifted. In addition, have legal counsel send a cease and desist letter to the owner.

Tot Lot Closed. We closed the tot lot but I have seen residents and their children continue to play on it. I’m concerned that this may be an HOA liability issue. -Janet S.

RESPONSE: Children are the worst at carrying and spreading viruses. The board should yellow tape the area and post signs telling parents not to use the tot lot.

Virucide Treatment. Our association had our pest control service treat all of our enclosed common area buildings with virucide, sterilizer and sanitizer. The company has been routinely treating professional sports locker rooms and gyms among other businesses, and schools during the pandemic. The sprayed solution is 100% effective in eliminating bacteria and viruses and lasts for at least 30-days. We feel this treatment is a big step toward protecting everyone. The cost is reasonable and we may repeat the treatment. -Connie S.

Elevators. Could you please give some guidance on elevator protocol in highrise condo buildings. I have posted signs suggesting limited occupancy and an owner is screaming that I am over-managing owners. -Helene D.

RESPONSE: Some people have their heads deeply buried in the sand. Keep the signs posted. Social distancing is key to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Yesterday, the Mayor of Los Angeles asked everyone to wear masks when outside. The CDC is considering the same recommendation. To limit the spread of the coronavirus, boards may need to ask condominium residents to wear masks when in hallways and elevators.

Zoom Meetings. Can we hold meetings solely by Zoom during the shelter in place even though not all homeowners have access to the internet and we don't have a physical location where we could enforce social distancing? -Marian B.

RESPONSE: Under the circumstances, emergency shelter-in-place orders take precedence over Davis-Stirling requirements of a physical location for meetings. Providing meeting attendance to as many homeowners as possible via Zoom meetings is your best solution. They are easy to use and the moderator has the ability to mute attendees so as to eliminate background noises (and attendees who try to disrupt meetings). There are other services available as well and boards should decide which service is best for them.

Goat Reserves. Yes, you need to reserve for goat replacement. You would need to consult a specialist as to the condition assessment and life expectancy estimations. -Scott C.

RESPONSE: Don't goats self-replicate?

Vendor Restrooms. Keeping restrooms open for vendors is extremely helpful and important! Our crews continue to service communities and rely on public restrooms for relief. Given current restrictions, the number of public restrooms has drastically diminished. We have been reaching out to the communities with onsite restrooms to grant us access to continue use but at our own discretion and caution. Our employees carry hand sanitizer and soap so they disinfect areas before and after use. We understand many facilities need to be closed to residents, but if they can keep them open to vendors, we’d greatly appreciate their cooperation in helping us keep our employees healthy and safe! Thank you!!! -Valerie H.

No Annual Meeting. What are the consequences to our board if we do not hold our annual meeting and election of board officers until after the coronavirus is no longer disallowing gatherings and meetings. -Rose L.

RESPONSE: Some associations are postponing annual meetings because they have not yet adopted new election rules required by SB 323. New election rules should be adopted as soon as possible. The bigger problem is the coronavirus and paper ballots--owners may be reluctant to open and return them. We've already discovered that some inspectors of election are refusing to open and count them.

Annual Review. I am a CPA conducting annual reviews for Associations with over $75.000 in gross receipts. How does the current coronavirus situation affect the 120 day due date? Many of my clients run by property managers are well behind due to staffing issues. -Michael D.

RESPONSE: I don't see how any penalties can be imposed if the annual financial statement is late. These are challenging times.


Had Enough #1
. In what world do those complainers live? Look at New York. Look at the refrigerator morgue trucks. NYC EMS has now been forced to issue order to not bring in cardiac arrest unless revived on the scene. That is what is coming to those in denial.

Our parents and grandparents were asked to go to war. We are only asked to stay at home in this war. The only way to stop the virus spread is to starve it. That means no personal contact. Period!

We own in Palm Springs resort HOA now 20 years. I was board president in past. Still look forward to your newsletter and SANITY of reality based critical thinking. Don’t back down. Semper Fi! -Leland B.

Had Enough #2. I just read your newsletter for 4/2/20. How selfish is that person talking about prison and it being too restrictive? Some of the people who respond to your newsletters are off their rocker. -Alyne S.

RESPONSE: It's those kinds of people that send boards running to legal counsel.


"I'm not sure about San Francisco, but I'm pretty sure San Diego is part of California." LOVE IT! Absolutely agree 100% regarding San Francisco. If not for your humorous asides in the newsletters my day would be very bleak, Adrian. I hope all your readers/fans take note of how we must maintain some link to reality these days…it’s getting to be a test for sure! -Marilyn B.

We thoroughly enjoy your newsletters as they allow us to keep apprised of the law and recommended practices. Keep 'em coming! -Netti J.

Thanks for all the valuable information that you have consistently provided. It is a pleasure to read your emails. -Frank S.

Thanks for sharing. We service over 1,400 communities and want them to be safe. -Patrick O.

Thank you so much for your news letter. It’s extremely informative and I love it!! -Janet S.

I have been reading your newsletter for years, but now in this coronavirus climate, I wait with bated breath for it to show up. I am the president of a three-member board at a 39-unit condo association. We have no managing company. We self-manage on a volunteer basis. We are in Indiana but nevertheless I find your California newsletter invaluable. It has given me MUCH direction in how to handle incidents -- and especially how to word my correspondence in incidents. Sure wish we had a resource like the A-S Newsletter in Indiana! Thank you. -Joann W.

Great sense of humor and I agree totally. (I'm not sure about San Francisco...) -Tim S.

I no longer watch or read the news–-I can stick my head in the sand for a few more weeks. BUT, I anxiously open my email for your newsletter. As a board member so many issues are dry and the publications we get put me to sleep. Just think what we could accomplish in this world with a little more humor! I have put a “new pair of shoes everyday” on my bucket list, a girl can dream can’t she? -Dena P.

Your newsletter is the first email I read. I love that it arrives daily now! And the goat discussion keeps me laughing. Thank you for all the informative info! -Peggy O.

A new reserve line item. Goats. Too funny! -Dave

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner

Because we invested in technology that allows us to operate during emergencies, ADAMS | STIRLING continues to respond to client needs when others cannot.
If you need anything,
call us at
(800) 464-2817
or send an email.

Boards needing emergency rules can
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