Knowingly or unknowingly, sometimes boards adopt rules which are in conflict or more restrictive than the association’s CC&Rs. For example, they make specific rules regarding prohibitions on the installation of washing machines when the CC&Rs are silent on the matter. Boards sometimes prohibit hard surface flooring when this is likewise not covered by their association’s CC&Rs. We sometimes see rules that limit the number of or size of animals that homeowners are able to maintain when this is likewise not covered by the association’s CC&Rs. Sometimes, these rules end up in litigation, especially when the board tries to enforce same. Often the board of directors will argue that the court must defer to their discretion when they are performing their duties. While usually the courts will defer to the board of directors when it comes to decisions covered by the association’s governing documents, this is not true when the board has exceeded its authority.
Such was the case involving an association in Orange County, California, where the board decided they were not going to make homeowners “trim” their palm trees to eliminate a view obstruction and made a rule regarding this even though the association’s CC&Rs prohibited any view obstructions from landscaping. Firm attorneys David C. Swedelson and Stephanie M. Rohde have prepared an article entitled “Decisions of Boards of Directors Regarding Enforcement of Governing Documents Cannot Usually Be Second Guessed Unless the Decision is More Restrictive than the CC&Rs.” Click here for a PDF copy of this important and timely article.