Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association Law May 2, 2021
The one good thing to come out of the pandemic last year was the significantly reduced legislative activity in Sacramento. It meant we did not have to hold so tightly to our wallets.

Unfortunately, legislators are back in session and more legislation is being pushed through — some good and some bad.

My partner, Nathan McGuire, is a member of the Community Association Institute's California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) and will report on some key bills from week to week. Below is his report on SB 9 & SB 10. 

Senate Bills 9 and 10 both have negative consequences for associations. SB 9 will allow two homes on every lot zoned for single family homes. It will require local jurisdictions to administratively approve duplexes or lot splits. When coupled with recent ADU legislation, it means existing single family lots in a planned development could end up with 6 dwellings per lot instead of one.

Negative Consequences. The League of California Cities opposes the bill, as does CAI-CLAC. While we understand the need for more affordable housing, this approach doesn’t make sense in the context of an HOA. It would mean increasing the burden on amenities, parking, roads, utility infrastructure, and other facilities not designed for it. In addition, associations would have to amend their governing documents, maps, voting structures, and assessments every time a lot is split. This would be costly for associations.

Multi-Family Zoning. SB 10 is similar. It directs cities to streamline the re-zoning of single family lots to up to 10 units per lot if they are in a jobs-rich, transit-rich, or urban infill area, as designated by the Department of Housing and Community Development. HOAs could not stop the approved construction. In other words, a single family lot in an HOA could be up-zoned and an association could not stop a 10-unit apartment building from being constructed. Like SB 9, this would be a logistical and practical nightmare for associations.

CALL TO ACTION. CAI-CLAC has issued a Call to Action on SB 9 and is working on the response on SB 10. Please click on our Call to Action and send an email to the Legislature asking them to VOTE NO on SB 9. -Nathan McGuire




A piece of good legislation is Senate Bill 391. It allows associations to conduct meetings by video conference during a state of emergency, as is now being done via Zoom and other video platforms.

Physical Location. Under current law, boards must designate a physical location where members can meet to listen to board meetings when the meeting is by video or teleconference.

None Available. During an emergency, gathering in a physical location is not always possible. For example, the 2018 Camp Fire was the most destructive wildfire in California's history and wiped out entire associations, displacing all HOA members; the 1994 Northridge Earthquake destroyed thousands of buildings, displacing entire memberships; and the current pandemic prevented gatherings of any size, anywhere, affecting every association in California. In each case, members needed to address important issues, but could not gather in a physical location.

State of Emergency. SB 391 authorizes associations to meet by video or teleconference without the need for a physical location when (i) a state of disaster or emergency has been declared by the federal government; (ii) a state of emergency has been declared by the Governor; or (iii) a local emergency has been proclaimed by a local governing body or official.

Marjorie Murray Opposition. Unfortunately, Marjorie Murray's Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL) is on record opposing the bill. I cannot see a rational basis for her opposition. It's a common sense solution in a declared emergency. You might politely ask Ms. Murray to withdraw her opposition to the bill by sending her an email.

Feedback. I received feedback from a reader that people should not blame Ms. Murray for drafting bad legislation and persuading legislators to carry her bills. Instead, homeowners should blame legislators who vote for her legislation. I agree that some blame rests with legislators, which is why we need to educate them on the merits of particular bills. CAI-CLAC is our voice in Sacramento. To that end, readers should support their efforts to fight bad legislation and encourage good legislation. When the time is right, we will alert everyone to send emails in support of SB 391. -Adrian

Charcoal Grills. In our association, every unit owner has a charcoal grill on their tiny patio. Our CC&Rs require the board to maintain property and casualty insurance. No insurance company will write us unless we agree to eliminate charcoal grills. What do we do? –Glen G.

ANSWER: Immediately prohibit charcoal grills and ask your insurance carrier if they will allow propane grills. Premiums on fire insurance are skyrocketing everywhere in California, and many associations are reporting cancellations. You should do everything possible to make your association as fire-safe as possible.

Executive Session Meetings. Davis-Stirling lists confidential subjects that may be discussed in executive session. Are boards limited to only those subjects? -Luka R.

ANSWER: The Davis-Stirling Act's list is not exhaustive when it comes to matters that should be discussed in executive session. Civil Code §4935 lists five matters:

   1. Litigation;
   2. Formation of contracts;
   3. Member discipline;
   4. Personnel matters; and
   5. Delinquent owner payment plans.

However, there are other matters that require confidentiality, such as:

   6. Initiating foreclosure (Civil Code §5705);
   7. Disability requests (Calif. Code of Regs. 12176);
Seeking legal advice on terminating a contract;
   9. Discussing possible censure of a director;
Discussing problems related to the mental illness of a member; and
 11. Seeking legal advice on issues of potential liability.

Open Meeting Matters. If a matter does not fit into one of the above eleven categories, it must be discussed in an open meeting in front of the membership.

Federal Update. US Department of Health & Human Services issued a renewal that a public health emergency still exists nationwide.

The CDC issued What to Know about Possibility of COVID-19 Illness After Vaccination. It updated COVID-19 Vaccination and When You've Been Fully Vaccinated. It also updated Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings.

Statewide Update. The CDPH issued a 4/24/21 Statement supporting the FDA and CDC decision to resume use of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine.

Governor Newsom issued a 4/27/21 Press Release re: CDC Outdoor Masking Guidance.

The following Counties changed Tiers: Amador (Red Tier to Orange); Calaveras (Red Tier to Orange); Fresno (Red Tier to Orange); Glenn (Red Tier to Orange); Kings (Red Tier to Orange); Mendocino (Orange Tier to Yellow); Mono (Red Tier to Orange); San Luis Obispo (Red Tier to Orange); Santa Barbara (Red Tier to Orange); Sutter (Red Tier to Orange).

Northern California. Alameda County issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

Contra Costa County issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: 1 Million Vaccines Administered. The County issued new guidance for pools.

Fresno County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 4/21/21 Guidance re: School Surveillance.

Lake County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: 50% of County Partially Vaccinated.

Madera County issued a 4/19/21 Press Release re: Guidance for K-12 Performing Arts.

Marin County issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Remaining in Orange Tier as a result of an increase in cases. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Updated Plan for Vaccines. Marin County issued Pool Reopening FAQs

Mendocino County moved to the Yellow Tier and updated their Order to reflect these changes.

Mono County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. Mammoth Lakes issued a 4/15/21 Order Extending Restaurant and Retail guidelines.

Monterey County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: Residents Required to Follow State Gathering Guidance. Monterey County issued a 4/28/21 Press Release re: Residents Required to Follow State Face Mask Requirements.

Sacramento County issued a 4/15/21 update to pool guidelines.

San Francisco has updated gym guidance.

San Mateo County issued a 4/22/21 Update which indicates that the County may move to the Yellow Tier May 4. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/27/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Appointments Available due to increased supply.

Santa Clara County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: One Million Residents Vaccinated. The County issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Updated Vaccination Data.

Santa Cruz issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/26/21 Vaccine Interest Survey for Homebound Individuals.

Sonoma County issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Milestone. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Resuming Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

Tehama County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: Vaccines.

Southern California. Los Angeles County Press Release regarding County is beginning to meet yellow tier threshold. Issued guidance on return to work guidelines for employees who develop systemic symptoms post-vaccination and are differentiated from symptoms that are not associated with vaccination. Updated protocols for the following areas: Bars; Informal Social Gatherings; Libraries; Live Indoor Events; Live Outdoor Events; Public Pools (the County has not updated residential pools protocols yet for indoor pools but the public pools protocols may provide insight on recommendations); Private Events (Meetings, Receptions, and Conferences); Restaurants; Short Term Rentals.

City of Los Angeles updated its Safer LA Order to align with the County’s Public Health Order.

Orange County Press Release regarding closure of Disneyland Drive-Thru vaccination site as of April 30, 2021.

Riverside County Press Release regarding move of vaccine site from Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium to Lake Elsinore outlet mall. Press Release regarding reinstatement of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in County.

San Diego County Press Release no masks required outdoors in public for fully vaccinated persons unless in a crowd. Press Release all County vaccine sites now accepting walk-ins.
Press Release two deer mice test positive for hantavirus in Boulevard and how to keep safe from the virus.

San Bernardino County residents can apply for up to 12 months of rent relief from arrearages accruing from March 13, 2020 to present at the County’s site,, which will continue through end of the year or until all funds are exhausted.

Santa Barbara revised its health order to align with Orange Tier. Further, the County is now following the State’s mask and gathering guidelines. Press Release "I’ve been vaccinated! Now What?" Press Release County resumes Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Ventura County Press Release County resumes Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

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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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