The California state legislature is constantly tinkering with state condo law, and recently enacted several bills that affect common interest developments (CIDs) such as condominium projects. The following is a brief summary of some recent changes to the primary state law governing CIDs, the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code Section 4000 et seq.). Of particular note are bills related to California’s persisting drought.
. This bill amends Civil Code Section 4735 to prohibit a homeowners association (HOA) from imposing a fine or assessment against a unit owner for reducing or eliminating the watering of plants or lawns, if the Governor or local government has declared a state of emergency due to drought.
. This bill also amends Civil Code Section 4735 and in this case allows an HOA to impose a fine or assessment against a unit owner for reducing or eliminating the watering of plants or lawns if the project uses recycled water for landscaping, if the Governor or local government has declared a state of emergency due to drought.
. And yet another bill to address the drought conditions in our state, this bill further amends Civil Code Section 4735 by prohibiting a project’s governing documents from restricting the replacement of existing turf (lawns) with low-water plants, if the Governor or local government has declared a state of emergency due to drought.
. This bill amends Civil Code Sections 5910 and 5915 to stipulate that a dispute resolution process involving a condo owner and an HOA must have a written resolution signed by both parties, and that written resolution is judicially enforceable so long as it is not in conflict with the law or the project’s governing documents. The bill also provides that both a unit owner and an HOA have a right, at their own cost, to have an attorney or another person present to explain their position during a dispute resolution procedure.
. This bill amends Civil Code Section 4775 to delineate the default responsibility between an HOA and a unit owner for repairing, replacing, and/or maintaining various spaces in a condo project. Unless otherwise provided in the project’s governing documents, the default rule provided by this bill is as follows: 1) the owner is responsible for repairing, replacing, and maintaining his or her condo unit; 2) the owner is responsible for maintaining the exclusive use common area appurtenant to his or her condo unit; and 3) the HOA is responsible for repairing and replacing the exclusive use common area. Typical examples of exclusive use common areas are private patios, decks, yards, storage rooms and parking spaces, but would include other portions of the common area that exclusively serve an owner’s unit. Note that this bill takes effect January 1, 2017.
. This bill amends Civil Code Sections 4528 and 4530 regarding disclosures that a condo unit seller is required to provide to a prospective buyer. An HOA must provide copies of the project’s governing documents and other policies if requested by a unit owner, so the owner can provide the documents to a prospective buyer. An HOA may charge reasonable fees to produce such documents. This bill requires the HOA to use a specified form to list the fees charged for the documents. Such fees must be separately stated and billed from all other fees and costs of the sales transaction, and must be paid by the seller. If any of the required documents are provided to buyer directly from the seller, then the seller may not charge a fee for such document. The required documents must be separately provided to a buyer, and not bundled together along with other documents related to the sales transaction.
This Update utilizes legislative information and material obtained from the California Bureau of Real Estate.
The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient. Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein. Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP is a full service real estate law firm. We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law. We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.