Does the new Balcony Inspection Law apply to your Community?

Mar 04, 2020
As of January 1, 2020, new California law imposes very specific inspections, reports and repairs for certain elevated exterior structures (balconies, walkways, etc.), that are maintenance, repair and replacement responsibility of California community associations. 
The required inspections, reports and repairs will be onerous and very expensive. As such, A CRITICAL FIRST STEP is to determine if your association is required to do them.

The new law applies only to association maintained “Exterior Elevated Elements” as that phrase is VERY specifically defined in the new law.  

If your balconies, elevated walkways or other elevated structures are not structurally wood,  if they are supported by pillars or posts, or if portions of them are surrounded by parts of the building structure, they may fall outside of the “Exterior Elevated Element” definitions.  If structures to not fall within that definition, they are not implicated by...
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SERIOUS Election Rule Misunderstandings!

Mar 04, 2020
The California requirements for Community Association elections have recently changed significantly. The new laws require that all California community associations adopt new or revised election rules.

Unfortunately, recent industry publications appear to have caused some confusion and misunderstanding about the new requirements.  Let’s clear the big one’s up right now:
  • The new law DOES NOT require that an association to amend it’s CC&Rs or Bylaws.  (This may be something your community would like to do, but it is not required). 
  • The new law DOES require that all California community associations restate or amend their election rules.  However, this DOES NOT require membership balloting or approval (although there are other much less burdensome logistics required).  
  • It is true that there are potential adverse ramifications if your association did not amend or restate its election rules on or before January 1,...
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Granting Exclusive Use to a portion of the Common Area – Membership Approval and Exceptions

Jul 01, 2019

It is very common for Association members to request that they be granted exclusive use of a portion of the association’s common areas. This can come in a multitude of forms: Requests to expand a patio, requests to maintain a common area slope adjacent to their residence, requests to add a window to a common area condominium wall, etc.

The general rule is that in order for the association board to do so, the association must seek and obtain the approval of 67 percent of the Association’s membership (Civil Code 4600(a))!  This is the same criteria as many CC&R amendments and can be VERY difficult and expensive to obtain.

However, there are thirteen statutory exceptions to the membership approval requirement (Civil Code 4600(b).  The most commonly used exceptions are those that provide that the Board can grant such exclusive use (without membership approval):

  1. To transfer the burden if management and maintenance of common area that is generally inaccessible...
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Emergency Assessments – Suprising simplicity BUT significant risk.

Jun 17, 2019

This week, I communicated with a community association board that is ready to impose an emergency assessment upon their membership.

We discussed the fact that imposing emergency assessments is very easy! All you need to do is have your board approve the emergency assessment and properly notice it to the association membership. It’s all very enticing since, no matter what amount, it does not require membership approval!

BUT… while IMPOSING it is easy, defending it (legally AND politically) can be very challenging! The simple fact is that emergency assessments carry a high probability of legal challenge (usually, when the association attempts to legally enforce it against a member that refuses or is unable to pay it) and carry a high probability of political upheaval within the community (think board removal petitions, hate mail, and “spirited” discourse at the next few board meetings).

Consequently, the imposition of an emergency assessment should not be...

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