Many California homeowners live in neighborhoods governed by a Homeowners Association, or a Common Interest Development. These associations create bylaws for the individual subdivisions under their umbrellas, and homeowners who purchase properties within their developments are obligated to comply with their rules, regulations and procedures.
Whether this will be your first HOA you will be living under, or you have lived in an association for years, there are some common issues many people aren't aware of. We've compiled an FAQ page to provide our clients with a better understanding of the laws within the state.
What is a Homeowners Association and What Type of Power Do These Bodies Have?
A homeowners association is a governing body that establishes rules, regulations and procedures for homeowners within a particular development or planned community. They are given their power under state law, which grants these associations the authority to allocate community funds as they see fit and to create a set of regulations for their own community. Most HOAs will provide homeowners with a basic set of rules and regulations that may pertain to the development of their properties, the maintenance of their landscaping and the fees associated with being a part of the association.
How Many HOAs are Currently Active in California?
There are more than 40,000 different homeowner associations in California, and it is estimated that about 25 percent of all residents who own property in the state live within an association. They are quite common in the state, particularly in luxury developments and planned communities.
Can HOAs Charge California Homeowners Fees or Penalties?
Yes, the homeowners association board has the power to assess fees on residents, typically in the form of dues. The HOA will decide whether the dues will be paid on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. In addition, in the event resident fails to comply with a rule or regulation, or if they do not pay their dues, the HOA also can enforce penalties on individual residents. The fees and penalty systems will vary based on the association, but they should be clearly outlined by the HOA.
What is the Procedure for Establishing Dues within a Community?
The homeowners association is a board of people, typically residents in the community, who work together in order to decide on the money needed for particular projects or events within the association. The board will determine an operating budget for the HOA, and then will create a system of dues based on that budget. In the event that a new event or project is approved, additional fees may be assessed if approved by the board. Depending on the association, a certain percentage of homeowners within the community may have to vote to approve new fees or assessments that will be enforced by the HOA.
Why are HOA Disputes Common?
Homeowner disputes against their HOA boards can be quite common in California, given the fact that the entire legislative power for the development is given to the homeowners association. There is not always a system of checks and balances, which can leave some homeowners feeling marginalized or frustrated within their development. It's important for homeowners to hold their associations accountable, however, and to verify that they are acting in accordance with California law.
What Can You Do in the Event of a Dispute With Your HOA?
In the event of a dispute with your homeowners association, you can partner with an attorney who will give you the insight, information and guidance that you need moving forward. Working with a qualified attorney will allow you to garner the information that you need in order to advocate for yourself throughout the dispute.
Whether you have just moved into your home and are beginning to deal with the HOA for the first time, or you have lived in a neighborhood for years and are experiencing a dispute with your HOA, it's important that you work with a qualified attorney who understands the homeowners association laws in California. To find out more information about HOAs in this state, contact our law firm today.
In the event of a dispute, it's critical that property owners partner with an experienced attorney that specializes in real estate law and homeowners association laws in California.