Articles Posted in Disclosure/Code Compliance

By Sandra L. Gottlieb, Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, California Community Association Attorneys

A regular question posed by the board members of our community association clients is, “Can or should Board meetings and/or meetings of members be recorded by audiotape or videotape?” While some members may advocate taping meetings in order to promote transparency, taping of association Board meetings and meetings of members is illegal, unless each and every attendee, including the Board members, approves of the recording, in advance. Regardless, it is our opinion that the Board should not allow taping of any association meetings.

California Penal Code, Section 632, states that it is a crime to record a conversation that would be expected to be confined to the parties present without the consent of those present. This statute makes exceptions to public gatherings that one would expect to be overheard, including any legislative, judicial or executive proceedings open to the public. But homeowners associations, unlike many other quasi-governmental agencies, are not required to have meetings open to the public. In fact, meetings are generally open only to members of the association. Thus, the statute supports the argument that there is an expectation of privacy among those in attendance at those meetings. Although minutes of meetings are to be made available, upon request, to homeowners within thirty (30) days after a meeting of the Board, thereby leading some to believe that the discussions are also intended to be made available to those attending the meeting, that is not the case. Minutes are only supposed to include brief descriptions of items of business, motions and resolutions, not discussion. Therefore, a recording of any meeting would include discussions, as well as back and forth banter and comments, not just resolutions. Further, free speech is inhibited if people know that their every word would be on the record. If a member insists on recording after being told to stop such recording so that the Board can conduct the business of the association, the Board should adjourn the meeting.

checklist.jpgIt’s that time of year again — time to get the community association’s budget together and ensure you’re making all the proper disclosures under the Annual Budget Report and Annual Policy Statement, as required by the California Civil Code. In order to assist you with this process and other required notices and disclosures, we have again updated our disclosure checklist reference.

Download the new 2014-2015 disclosure checklist here.

Not much has changed in the most recent legislative session with regard to community association disclosures, other than some clarifying language that was added regarding property transfer disclosures. To review our prior blog post regarding that legislation, follow this link.

By Mark Petrie, Paralegal/Marketing Coordinator and David Swedelson, Partner, SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys.

condo_disclosures_-_Google_Search.pngNew legislation amending two of the transfer disclosure sections of the Davis-Stirling Act, Sections 4528 and 4530, will be effective January 1, 2015. Follow this link to review the changes and new language that will be effective next year.

As you may be aware, Section 4530 establishes the responsibility of an association to provide copies of governing documents, certain financial disclosures and other documents to an owner, or any other recipient authorized by the owner, within 10 days of receipt of a written request for same. The requirement to provide documents and information applies to the sale of a unit (in a condominium building), lot (in a planned development) or stock (in a co-op). We would have liked to have seen a change here to delete “any other recipient authorized by owner”, as there are issues raised by the association providing transfer disclosure documents directly to parties other than owners, e.g., the association has no privity of contract with those parties. But for now, the current language will remain.

We regularly advise our association clients to include a disclaimer when directed by an owner to provide transfer disclosure documents directly to a third party: “These documents are being provided to you in the limited scope of complying with a request of the owner of the unit/lot for same in accordance with Civil Code Section 4525, et seq. The delivery of these documents to you shall not constitute establishment of privity between you and the association, and such delivery shall not create any further responsibility for the association with respect to further disclosure of documents to you.”
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By Robert Nordlund, Association Reserves and David Swedelson, SwedelsonGottlieb

Reserve%20article.pngThe body of statutory law (as opposed to case law) governing California Community Associations, known as the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, went into effect on January 1, 1986. As the industry developed and matured over the last 27 years, approximately 50 changes and amendments were made to the Act. While those adjustments were well-intended, the net effect yielded a disorganized and confusing body of law. To address this problem, a multi-year effort was launched to rewrite the Davis-Stirling Act. This “new” Davis-Stirling Act, signed into law in 2012, becomes the guiding law for California residential community associations on January 1, 2014. So you are probably asking what are the major changes and how does the re-write affect reserve funding issues? The answer is no major changes have been made regarding reserve funding. For the most part, the new updated law amounts to new set of Civil Code references for reserve funding matters. Fortunately, the majority of the changes are just re-organization and renumbering. But there have been changes made to the Act as it applies to reserves.

To read the article prepared by David Swedelson and Robert Nordlund, follow this link.

Have you seen our videos from our recent event, “What’s New in the Davis-Stirling Act?” SwedelsonGottlieb Senior Partner Sandra Gottlieb explains it all for you – we’ve edited some video into sweet bite-sized sections. Follow the link below to access our videos and enjoy!
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By David Swedelson, Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Condo Lawyer and HOA Attorney

Disgruntled homeowner association members often want to share their “issues” with the other owners hoping to garner sympathy. They ask for the names and addresses for all owners, which the association will likely have to provide. But more and more, we are seeing owners asking to be provided other owners’ email addresses as well.

Neither the Davis-Stirling Act nor the Corporations Code provides much guidance to condo and homeowner associations regarding whether they are required to provide the email addresses of the members in response to another members’ request. However, a 2010 California appellate court case, Worldmark, the Club v. Wyndham Resort Development Corp. comes very close to answering that question.
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Email-Mailbox.jpg The Greater Los Angeles Chapter of Community Associations Institute has published its May/June issue of Focus Magazine, which features an article by David Swedelson, Esq. describing case law which affects California community associations’ disclosure responsibilities. As David describes in the article, associations may be obligated to provide owners’ email addresses to an owner upon request. Follow this link to read the article.

Have questions regarding whether your association should disclose email addresses? Contact David Swedelson at

By the Community Association Attorneys at SwedelsonGottlieb

diarrhea.jpgHave you heard the latest regarding new required pool signage at California community association pools? Our attorneys have been receiving a lot of inquiries about whether a new “poop sign” is required to be posted at community associations that have pools. We have to report that a diarrhea sign is now required. In 2012, the California Building Standards Code (the “Code”) was amended, effective September 1, 2012. The Code states that it applies to “public pools.” At first glance, one would think that just as the Americans with Disabilities Act does not generally apply to community associations, as they are not “places of public accommodation”, the Code also does not apply to community associations. However, it is made clear in the scope of the Code that it applies to condominiums, townhomes, and homeowners associations. (See Section 3101B.)
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By David Swedelson, SwedelsonGottlieb Senior/Founding Partner

path.pngUnless you have been sleeping with Rip Van Winkel for 20+ years (and if you have been, then maybe you have a disability), you are likely aware that there are a number of laws that deal with the rights of disabled individuals to be accommodated. This would include the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (“FFHA”) as well as California Fair Housing Act (“CFHA”). These laws deal with public and private facilities, and to some extent include condominium and homeowner associations. These laws address who is responsible for making modifications or changes to common area to accommodate individuals with disabilities – the owner or the association. It is important to understand the distinctions in the law, as many disabled individuals may insist that their community association is obligated to comply with the ADA, and that can be expensive as well as complicated. The fact is that the ADA likely does not apply to your association. See my prior article entitled Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Apply to Your Association? Probably Not! and my latest article on this subject entitled Fair Housing and ADA – Dealing With The Legal Rights of Disabled Condo and HOA Residents. You may also wish to review our Fair Housing Outline.

David Swedelson can be contacted at

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