Articles Posted in Disclosure/Code Compliance

By David Swedelson, Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Condo Lawyer and HOA Attorney

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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 dcs@sghoalaw.com.

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 dcs@sghoalaw.com.

Screenshot%20ExecCommittee.pngBlog Post by David Swedelson, Founding Partner SwedelsonGottlieb

Recent amendments to the Davis-Stirling Act have made it challenging for community association boards of directors to “deal” with important Association business. Don’t know what I’m talking about? As of January 1, 2012, the California Legislature has imposed a prohibition on Boards taking action on any “item of business” outside of a properly noticed Board meeting. Obviously, the inability of a board to make “decisions” via email can restrict a Board’s ability to make time sensitive decisions.

There are ways around this prohibition which would allow a Board of Directors to remain in compliance with the Civil Code. Specifically, Civil Code 1363.05 provides an exception to a board’s ability to conduct business by excluding “those actions that the board has delegated to any person or persons (management, agent, officer of the association, or committee of the board comprising less than a majority of the directors). But there may be issues as to how much authority a committee actually has to make decisions that normally the board would be required to make.

This is a busy time of year for community association managers and board members. For those associations whose fiscal year runs from January to December, and most do, it is budget time. But in addition to the budget, there are a number of other disclosure documents and notices that California condominium and homeowner associations are required to annually distribute to association members.

As we do each year, SwedelsonGottlieb has compiled a list of all of the documents and notices that are required to be prepared and distributed to owners on an annual basis. Follow this link to our checklist for 2012-2013. There were no changes to the Davis-Stirling Act regarding disclosures which apply this year or next year, and this list is not much different from last year’s.

By David Swedelson, Senior Partner, SwedelsonGottlieb; Condo Lawyer and HOA Attorney

email.pngApparently there are many of you out there that are not aware that as of January 2010, California community associations are permitted by law to distribute budget packages and most annual disclosure documents to owners electronically so long as owners give their written consent to receive them by email. Once that consent is obtained, budget distribution can become virtually paperless. To read the statute, follow this link for Civil Code § 1350.7. This statute was amended effective in 2010 to permit all notices listed in a new Index (read the statute) to be distributed electronically, by following the member consent requirements in the Corporations Code.
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By Sandra L. Gottlieb, Esq., Condo and HOA Legal Counsel

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Detailed minutes can prove troublesome for your association. Minutes are required at any association or board meeting. They serve as a record of the actions and decisions made at a meeting; however, they are not meant to be a transcript of everything that was said or done at the meeting. The more unnecessary, superfluous detail that is included in board meeting minutes, the more likely the board’s actions will fall under unnecessary scrutiny by homeowners.

Certain widely accepted guidelines will help your association take appropriate meeting minutes.
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By SwedelsonGottlieb Associate, Community Association Attorneys

We are often asked by California community association board members and managers as to the records members have the right to inspect and copy. One record request that can prove problematic is when a member requests a list of an association’s members. Under Civil Code Section 1365.2(a)(1)(I), an association’s member can request a membership list for the association, including the association’s members’ names, property addresses at the association’s development and mailing addresses (if different than the property address), if (1) the member requesting the membership list states the purpose for the request, (2) that purpose is reasonably related to the member’s interests as a member of the association and (3) the association reasonably believes that the information on the membership list will be used for the purpose stated.

If the association reasonably believes that the membership list will be used for a purpose other than the member’s stated purpose, the association can deny the request. However, if the requesting member brings an action against the association for that denial, the burden will be on the association to prove that the member would have allowed use of the information for purposes unrelated to the member’s interest as a member of the association (which may be difficult to prove). We suggest that any board considering such a denial consult with association legal counsel before denying the request.
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By SwedelsonGottlieb Community Association Attorneys

We are often asked by California community association board members and managers as to the records members have the right to inspect and copy. One record request that can prove problematic is when a member requests a list of an association’s members. Under Civil Code Section 1365.2(a)(1)(I), an association’s member can request a membership list for the association, including the association’s members’ names, property addresses at the association’s development and mailing addresses (if different than the property address), if (1) the member requesting the membership list states the purpose for the request, (2) that purpose is reasonably related to the member’s interests as a member of the association and (3) the association reasonably believes that the information on the membership list will be used for the purpose stated.

If the association reasonably believes that the membership list will be used for a purpose other than the member’s stated purpose, the association can deny the request. However, if the requesting member brings an action against the association for that denial, the burden will be on the association to prove that the member would have allowed use of the information for purposes unrelated to the member’s interest as a member of the association (which may be difficult to prove). We suggest that any board considering such a denial consult with association legal counsel before denying the request.
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