Recent Community Association Appellate Court Decisions

Yan Sui v. Price (2011) 196 Cal. App. 4th 933
– A California Court of Appeal upheld a board’s adoption of a rule prohibiting inoperable vehicles.
– Plaintiff alleged discrimination on the basis that he was the only homeowner that had an inoperable vehicle.
– Plaintiff alleged the rule was not enforceable because it was not recorded with the county recorder.
– The Board properly adopted the rule pursuant to Section 1357.100 et seq., allowing 30 days for review and comment by the members before adopting the rule.
– No members sought a special meeting to reverse the rule change.
– The court found that the Plaintiff’s discrimination claim did not have merit, as the rule applied to all homeowners. Additionally, the court determined that the rule was reasonable, and the rule did not have to be recorded with the county recorder’s office.

Schuman v. Ignatin (2010) 191 Cal.App.4th 255
– This case involved an architectural dispute between neighbors over obstruction of views from new construction.
– The association’s CC&Rs contained a restriction against obstruction of scenic views from other lots.
– An owner who wanted to perform new construction that would obstruct several views claimed that the association’s CC&Rs had expired and were no longer enforceable.
– The CC&Rs provided they would remain enforceable until January 1999; an extension of the CC&Rs was recorded in December 1998.
– The owner who wanted to build claimed the 1998 amendment was ineffective because it was not signed by all lot owners.
– The court relied on the appellate case Costa Serena Owners Coalition v. Costa Serena Architectural Com. (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 1175 and found that any challenge to the validity of an amendment that occurs more than four years after the amendment was recorded is barred by the statute of limitations. The owner who wanted to build did not challenge the amendment until almost ten years after the amendment was recorded.

Ferwerda v. Bordon (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 1178
– An owner attempted to build a home on a vacant lot in violation of a manual of rules adopted by an association committee.
– Although the association’s CC&Rs authorized the committee to adopt and enforce the manual, and the manual included a provision for the association to recover attorneys’ fees in litigation, no provision was included in the CC&Rs for recovery of attorneys’ fees.
– Even though the owner was found to have violated the rule, the appellate court found that the manual’s provision for attorneys’ fees exceeded the scope of restrictions set forth in the CC&Rs, and the court did not award attorneys’ fees to the association.

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