Articles Posted in Litigation

By David Swedelson, Condo Lawyer and HOA Attorney; Senior Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys

view.pngMany owners buy units, lots or homes at community associations that have views and are later shocked to learn that the view they cherish, the view that caused them to buy that home, is not guaranteed. The question that has been posed is whether or not property owners are entitled to an unobstructed view. With some exceptions, the answer in California is “no.” The California Supreme Court spoke on this subject in the late 19th century case of Kennedy v. Burnap and established the doctrine in California that one’s ownership of land does not imply a right to force owners of neighboring land to refrain from obstructing the view from the land or the light and air reaching the land. This law has not changed all that much since that case was decided in 1898.

Covenants, conditions and restrictions (“CC&Rs”) governing the use of land in common interest developments provide some protection for views. California law allows a community association’s CC&Rs to restrict view obstructions within the development as long as the restriction is reasonable. Restrictions on improvements or landscaping that obstructs a neighboring owner’s view do exist in CC&Rs in some, but not all, California condominium and homeowner associations. And they have been the subject of much litigation. And they have been successfully enforced. Some associations’ CC&Rs do not guarantee a view but only make an owner’s view a consideration when the association is considering another owner’s request to make a modification that would impact another owner’s view.

By David Swedelson, Condo Lawyer and HOA Attorney; Senior Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys

SatOfJudgment.pngSometimes, owners sue their condo or homeowners association in small claims court. And sometimes, they win, and there is a judgment to be satisfied. The association pays the amount of the judgment and then wants a receipt showing that the judgment is not owed any longer. They do not know what to do when a judgment or a portion of a judgment has been satisfied. How do you get the homeowner creditor, flush with the fruits of their lawsuit, to provide their association with an “acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment” (the form that should be completed and filed with the court to show that the judgment is no longer owed)? Board members and managers often ask why they would bother taking this step since the judgment is satisfied.

As soon as a judgment or a portion of a judgment has been paid and therefore satisfied, the association should insist – and the homeowner or their attorney should see to it – that an acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment or an acknowledgment of partial satisfaction of judgment is prepared, filed with the clerk of the court where the judgment was obtained, and recorded with the county recorder’s office in each county in which an abstract of judgment has been recorded.
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