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New laws benefit HOA members

Homeowners' associations seem more like dictatorships rather than organizations meant to benefit the residents of a particular community, and not just here in California. If you have ever been at cross-purposes with your HOA, you may understand that sentiment. The law provides you with certain rights and protections, but that doesn't necessarily mean that your HOA follows them.

That didn't stop the state legislature and Governor Brown from passing additional laws to protect you and provide you with more rights when it comes to your property and community. Below are three of those laws that recently took effect.

What the new laws do for HOA members

The state conferred the following rights on HOA members in 2018:

  • Alternative, green and clean energies are making big strides in California. Even though HOAs can't keep you from using solar panels, this new law expands that right. Now, homeowners may put solar panels on the roofs of their houses or garages in common areas. However, the board may require you to insure the system and remain responsible for maintenance costs, repairs or damage the system may cause. If you live in an apartment style community, you may be able to install a solar system on the common roof under certain circumstances.
  • Another law allows you and your fellow HOA members to peaceably gather in order to communicate freely for political, educational or social reasons. You may also engage in other activities related to the right to assemble as well.
  • If your HOA uses a manager or management company, these managers must disclose any possible conflicts of interest. This includes any interests or monetary compensation that the manager or company holds or receives from potential vendors that may do work or provide goods or services to the community. The manager or company must provide such information within 90 days after accepting the job. The same disclosure must occur when bidding for services.

There is a good possibility that your HOA would not voluntarily inform you of these new laws and rights. It may be worth your while to gain a full understanding of your rights under these new laws.

When your HOA doesn't follow through on its legal obligations

Whether through ignorance or design, if your HOA violates these or any other laws that provide you with rights within your community, you may be able to take legal action. HOA boards like to give the impression they are untouchable, but that isn't the case. Even though they may have wide latitude under certain circumstances, that does not mean they have free reign to dictate every aspect of your life.

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