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Does Anyone Know Anything About California HOA Laws..Davis-Stirling Act?

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posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:08 AM
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The state of California has mandated that every planned development and common interest development, such as condos and walled or gated communities, must form a Homeowners Association, AKA HOA, to govern and oversee the common interests of the homeowners and is to be regulated by the Davis-Stirling Act.

Personally, I hate the idea of being governed by my neighbors and find it very Orwellian, but the "law is the law", right?

So, I purchased a manufactured home and the land it sits on in this walled community, on city streets, about a 1 1/2 years ago, and ran into trouble with the HOA during escrow. It seems the President/office manager refused to provide the disclosure documents, required by law, claiming that "we're not a common interest development." The escrow company begged to differ and, long story short, if I wanted the house I had to sign a disclaimer/release.

Six months down the road I get a flyer announcing the Annual Meeting of Homeowners, so I go, and find out that we have governing documents, Articles of Incorporation, Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and Bylaws, that assert in several places that our community is a common interest development and our annual dues goes to promote the common interests of the homeowners' and the upkeep of our common areas.

Now, the HOA sold the clubhouse years ago, and the only common interest that we have now are these nice walkways that run behind the houses that people use to ride bikes, walk their pets, etc. However, the HOA asserts that each homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these walkways from the edge to the middle.

Also, the governing documents say that each "perimeter" homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and up keep of their portion of the outside wall. The HOA owns no property, pays no property taxes and holds no liability insurance should someone injure themselves tripping on a crack or something.

Another sneaky thing, instead of providing the disclosure and governing documents to new homeowners, they sent me a greeter to take a picture of my driver's license and gave me a rule book. The Rule book was chocked full of illegal rules, like a $10 dollar per month late fee, when dues is only $75 per year, or a rule stating that all cats must be kept on leashes. The law only allows for a one time $10 dollar late fee/fine, and after that 1% per month. California state animal protection laws state that cats must be allowed to roam uncollared.

So, my question is, if we're NOT a common interest development, as the president and the board of directors assert, and not governed under Davis-Stirling, don't follow the laws dictated by the Davis-Stirling Act, unless it benefits them, like collecting a Davis-Stirling allowable transfer fee, but NOT providing the legally required disclosure documents, ignores the "open meeting" laws, then what law gives the HOA the right to collect dues or escrow transfer fees, or to govern at all? Does Davis-Stirling only kinda apply, because we're only kinda a common interest development, as the board asserts.

What recourse do discontent homeowners have?



edit on 24-3-2016 by windword because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:18 AM
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If your home is part of an association, you must follow the association rules. This isn't to say that many of the rules may be overbearing or idiotic, but HOAs setup rules to prevent any one homeowner from destroying the home values of the majority. In other words, just because you think it would be cool to put pink Flamingos in your front yard, does not mean the other homeowner's would agree. Hence why you have HOA rules.

If you don't like the rules, you can always join the HOA board and lobby to have them changed.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:25 AM
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a reply to: windword

The only thing I know about HOA's is that I'll NEVER by a house where someone else dictates what I can and can't do!

Sorry you're dealing with a shady HOA.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:44 AM
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I agree. F the HOA's. I'm not part of one, but my SO and I have lobbied and fought with our town council on several occasions to gain the rights to do what we want (large scale gardening, raising chickens, allowing our dog to roam freely on our land, etc.) on our land, which is bought and paid for.

You need to get to those meetings and show them that sure, you'll obey the laws of your state, but rules aren't laws. I'd rent that home out to someone who loves rules and telling on neighbours for flamingoes, etc. and buy a property as far away from the city as is practical and profitable.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: Edumakated




If you don't like the rules, you can always join the HOA board and lobby to have them changed.


I tried that. When I went to the Annual Meeting, homeowners were up in arms about the way the HOA was being run, board members receiving illegal, under the table salaries, etc. We had 2 elections that were contested, and a third that wasn't, but 1/2 the board asserted the other half was illegitimate. As a result, we spent around $13,000 from our reserves on elections and legal fees. The third and final election was held and the new board, of which I was a member, was instated in July 2015.

I was appointed treasurer by the new board. My goal was to bring the HOA into fiscal compliance with the law. I inherited no homeowners' contact list or information, no accounting of who paid dues, when and how much they paid, and who did not. There were NO books of accounting at all!

In addition there was no record of any proceedings or board meetings, i.e. minutes, for half of 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012....ever! I had to go to the county for our 350 unit community's ownership records, the bank for an audit of our deposits and after hundreds of hours, I finally set up a spread sheet/mailing list.

In addition, we had one homeowner, who happens to own 30 homes in the community, refusing to pay dues on the grounds that the budget was a "slush fund" for the illegally paid officers, a practice that I curtailed. His complaint was also based on the fact that the budget had never been approved by the board and didn't meet the timeline required by law to raise assessment fees. It violated state law as well as our governing documents. He was right. The HOA hadn't had a "legal" board approved budget in years, yet it raised the dues every year.

I introduced a motion to annul the illegal budget, which passed, and formed a budget committee to put out a new "clean" 2015 1/2 year budget and a 2016 budget. We lowed the dues, collected dues from the complaining homeowner, installed a collection policy and budgeted for a "reserve study", required by law, but never done. I also made sure that the escrow companies got their required disclosure documents. We also set up a webpage for dues payment and communication among membership.

We held an election in January 2016, and I wasn't reelected. Go figure.

I was the only person NOT reelected. The people I interacted with all said the same thing "We don't need no stinkin law!" Now, this board decided NOT to do a reserve study, scrapped the collection policy, the web page and are ignoring the legally approved budget, spending money on things not budgeted for, like buying new computers for each officer of the board. ??


edit on 24-3-2016 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:16 PM
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Years ago, I declined to buy a house, based solely on the fact that an HOA was involved. I had looked at it once before, but they had an open house, which I went to and really, really liked that house. It had pretty much everything I wanted and I was willing to pay what they were asking, since it was actually a reasonable price. Only at the very end of the tour was I introduced to the 3 people who were the main heads of the HOA. In all the time I had talked to the agent, it had not even been mentioned that one was involved.
I was asked several questions, such as : Where do you work, What do you do, What is your income, Are you single... to all of which I answered "None of your business". They seemed highly offended that I wouldn't answer any of their very personal questions and after I said that, I turned to the agent and said "I changed my mind, I won't be buying".
The agent literally followed me to my truck and did her best to convince me their rules were "suggestions" that I really didn't have to follow. I asked her if I had to sign a home owner's contract with them and when she relied "Yes", I said they're not just "suggestions", but rules I could be forced in to following.
Long story short, Stay as far as possible from HOAs. It's your money, your house and you damn well should be able to do what you want with it.
edit on 24-3-2016 by DAVID64 because: correction



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:24 PM
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a reply to: DAVID64

I didn't know that an HOA would be involved in my purchase until the escrow company alerted me that they were refusing to comply with their request for documents.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: windword

I realize its too late now, but I think you could have still backed out of the sale at that time, and I would have.

When I looked for a new house, the first thing at the top of my list for my agent was "NO HOA".

Maybe you should just find another home.
If they made you "treasurer" for the HOA when you don't even know exactly how it works, you are getting in over your head and could end up in trouble, even legal trouble. If the HOA is shady, you could get yourself involved on the receiving end of lawsuits.
If I were you, I would run for the hills.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:25 PM
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a reply to: BlueAjah




Maybe you should just find another home. If they made you "treasurer" for the HOA when you don't even know exactly how it works, you are getting in over your head and could end up in trouble, even legal trouble. If the HOA is shady, you could get yourself involved on the receiving end of lawsuits.


No joke! Fortunately, I was advised by attorneys and CPAs how to best to legally proceed as treasurer, and I think my ass is covered, according the board insurance policy. However, I am thinking of launching my own lawsuit against the HOA board. I know where the bodies are buried and I have lots of incriminating emails and recorded messages. I haven't yet contacted an attorney though. I need to get all my facts, minus my emotion, together in a "just the facts, maam" sort of way.


edit on 24-3-2016 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:25 PM
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a reply to: windword

A friend of mine lived in a development that fell under HOA rules in California, from his battles with the HOA it was discovered by my friend that if the HOA missed one annual meeting, all rules, CC&Rs, etc. become null and void. As your HOA had no records of such meetings for several years I would file a civil suit to make them provide such documentation or go away..



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: Justacasualobserver

Interesting. The first act of this new board was to reject the minutes from the annual meeting that I attended, citing it to be an illegal meeting, because the "open meeting" law requirements were not met. Ironically, every one their board meetings have violated open meeting laws.




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