Miscellaneous Lockdown Questions
Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association Law March 29, 2020
Brush Clearance. Our community is surrounded by open space on three sides and our association is responsible for all brush clearance. Prior to the coronavirus emergency, we asked our landscape vendor to get our community ready for fire season by clearing brush on the surrounding slopes. Our board believes that fire mitigation efforts constitute "essential services" and in any event it is remarkably easy for workers to practice social distancing. Can our board suspend paying the landscape vendor the monthly payment until such time as we see them working again? -Greg H.
RESPONSE: I agree with your board. Fire safety is an essential service. I believe it is reasonable to stop paying your landscape vendor until work resumes. Social distancing is not a problem for workers on hillsides cutting weeds and clearing brush. Have legal counsel review their contract and advise you how best to proceed. 
Tennis Courts. Some towns are opening their tennis courts to family groups. One of our board members is advocating that we open our tennis and basketball courts with the gates in the locked open position so gates do not have to touched to enter or exit. Do you think we should do this? -Lisa S. 

RESPONSE: California's website states the following:
Can I still exercise? Take my kids to the park for fresh air? Take a walk around the block?

Yes. So long as you are maintaining a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household, it is ok to go outside for exercise, a walk or fresh air. Gyms are closed.
County Websites. Counties have issued their own orders regarding the closure of recreational amenities. As noted in previous newsletters, many counties, such as Riverside, have closed all swimming pools. One thing is clear--it's difficult to navigate county websites when it comes to the coronavirus. It's almost impossible to locate information. I could not find any information related to tennis courts. 

Reduced Risk? Some believe that risks associated with playing tennis are lower than gyms, pools and hot tubs. If they play singles, people are able to maintain social distancing on the court. Doubles carry more risk since players can bump into each other. The one element they can't control in either scenario is the tennis ball. Everyone involved will be handling the ball. 

Legal Counsel. Boards should consult legal counsel on whether sufficient safeguards can be put in place to allow people to play tennis. 

OC Pools. HOA pools in Orange County--have they been ordered closed? -Ronald M.

RESPONSE: Cities have closed public swimming pools but I could not find anything on the county's website. Readers will need to follow the example of Ronald Z. and call the health department to find out. Ask about swimming pools and tennis courts and let me know what you find.

SD Pools. Have you addressed private pools in HOA communities in San Diego County? Statewide? Are they to be closed? -Stan D.

RESPONSE: Same answer as with the OC website. The county websites have pretty graphics but are generally useless when it comes to finding information. Someone needs to contact the County's Health Department and let me know what they find. 

Social Distancing. What should boards do about residents who are not heeding social distancing? In my association, parents are allowing their children to play with others in the common areas like it's summer vacation time. -Barbara M.

RESPONSE: There is very little you can do. Some things are under the board's control, such as closing the association's amenities, and others are not under their control. Social distancing is something each individual must practice per the recommendations of the CDC. If people engage in risky behavior, they may find themselves in the emergency room (or the morgue).

Taxes. Is there any chance the 4/10 deadline for payment of property taxes may be extended? This will probably eat up the entire forthcoming federal "stimulus" payment for owners who do not have impound accounts. The assessor's position at this point is to insist that this is a matter of state law that cannot be changed and that owners who pay late can appeal (paperwork, justifications, etc.) to have late payment fees (10% of the amount due) rescinded. -Irene F.

RESPONSE: I have to defer to the CPAs on tax issues. Maybe some of our CPA readers can write in with the answer.

Close Community Gyms. Thanks for all the informative Covid-related information. You spoke about closing down community pools. What about community gyms? -Alicia G. 

RESPONSE: Per the state's website, gyms and fitness centers are closed.  

No President. Can you have a HOA meeting without an elected president? We only have a treasurer, person at large, and a secretary. -Bill G.

RESPONSE: Yes, you can hold meetings. One of you needs to be appointed president. 

Conference Call Meetings. I found it very easy to use FreeConferenceCall.com. -Christine K.

RESPONSE: Many boards are learning that it's easy to use teleconferencing and videoconferencing for their meetings. We are using both in our meetings with boards. 

Kudos #1. Thank you for the wonderful newsletters! I love the humor injected into them, too. Fun, informative, and...virus-free! -Anonymous 

Kudos #2. Love your newsletter. Many thanks for keeping us up to date. What are the differences between policies and rules in a CID? -Jill B.

RESPONSE: Policies are not the same as rules. For more information, see Policies and Procedures. 

Mask. Could you measure the straps on your mask. I am making fabric ones and need to know the real measurement of the straps. -Jackie B.

No Computer Virus. Wearing gloves and mask while composing the newsletter? At least you know you won't get a computer virus. :-) -Lee G.

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.
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(800) 464-2817 
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