Homeowner Associations


When You Have A Problem With Your Homeowner Association, Palm Springs Homeowner Association and Palm Desert Condo HOA Attorney Sebastian Gibson

Homeowner Association Laws in California

In 1985 the California Legislature passed the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. The Davis-Stirling Act still serves as a framework for homeowner associations in California, though many state laws have been passed since then to address complaints made by homeowners who are HOA members.

The Davis-Sterling Common Interest Development Act still specifies the roles and responsibilities of HOA boards. Responsibilities include collecting assessments, paying association bills, managing association finances, preparing and delivering budgets and running the association with a board of directors.

Palm Springs homeowner association lawyer Sebastian Gibson has been recognized by Palm Springs Life Magazine as One of the Top Lawyers of 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.  He’s been called “Brilliant” and “A Legend.”  If you want a top Palm Springs homeowner association lawyer on your side, call Sebastian Gibson at (760) 776-1810.

At the Law Firm of Attorney Sebastian Gibson, we have over 35 years of experience representing clients in the Palm Springs and Palm Desert area of the Coachella Valley and in Orange County in connection with actions taken by their Homeowner and Condo Associations.

Palm Springs Homeowner Association Attorney Sebastian Gibson, The Right Choice

Sebastian Gibson has been recognized by Palm Springs Life Magazine as One of the Top Lawyers for the past six years and by Avvo as a “Superb” Lawyer, their highest rating, for good reason.  With over 35 years of experience in California and internationally, Palm Springs homeowner association lawyer Sebastian Gibson has been representing individuals with their homeowner association problems in Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley, in Newport Beach and Orange County and throughout California.

Today, Palm Springs homeowner association lawyer Sebastian Gibson is frequently interviewed on radio and TV for his expertise, his wit and humor.  The author of thousands of articles on the internet, Sebastian Gibson has also written for the Los Angeles Daily Journal newspaper and the San Francisco Daily Journal and recently published his first book.

If you’re looking for the best lawyer for your homeowner association matter, consider Palm Springs homeowner association lawyer Sebastian Gibson.  With offices in Palm Desert and Newport Beach, Sebastian Gibson can assist you with your homeowner association issue in the Coachella Valley, Orange County and throughout Southern California.

Homeowners association boards in California set rules called covenants, conditions and restrictions, commonly called CC&R’s. These set the basic rules that homeowners must follow. HOA members who fail to follow these rules face penalties that include fines, suspension of use of common areas and, in some cases, civil actions that include the filing of foreclosure on a homeowner.

The Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act defines how civil actions can occur when they relate to HOA covenants and restrictions. In cases where the claim for damages is $5,000 or less, the state requires petitioners to submit to a form of alternative dispute resolution. Either party can also request this form of resolution for amounts that are higher than $5,000.00.

A party must serves the other a written request for resolution, which must include a brief description of the dispute, a request for alternative dispute resolution and a notice that the party has 30 days to respond. The party receiving the request has only 30 days to accept or reject alternative dispute resolution. If alternative dispute resolution is accepted, the petitioner has 90 days to complete the alternative dispute resolution process. Both parties are subject to paying the costs of dispute resolution.

The Davis-Sterling Act provides the association with the authority to assess fees to association members. It also allows for special assessments, which must be approved by the board. Annual increases in fees are allowed if the board association receives the approval of a majority of a quorum owners via a meeting or election. A board may not raise the regular assessment by more than 20 percent from one year to the next. When association members fail to pay their assessments, an association can claim a lien on the property by recording the debt with the county recorder’s office.

Unfortunately, homeowners often have a difficult time finding out how boards are spending the money they have entrusted to them.  Some associations are required to have financial records audited, but the auditor is chosen by the board, which controls the money.  This inherent conflict-of-interest can mean homeowners are sometimes kept in the dark by their boards.Palm Springs Homeowner Association Attorney Sebastian Gibson, The Right Choice

Until 2002, state law allowed associations to foreclose with minimal disclosure to the homeowner, minimal notice of the association’s intention to lien the property and no opportunity to discuss a payment plan with the board.  The bill originally sought to prohibit associations from foreclosing on property if the delinquent assessment was less than $5,000.  That, however was removed from the final law which requires associations to provide specific notifications to the homeowner at least 30 days before filing a lien on their property.  The legislation also stipulated that an owner must be notified that they may request the association to enter into a payment plan to take care of delinquent assessments.

An association can also place a lien on the property of a homeowner for unpaid homeowner association fees or assessments and for any fees incurred during the process, including attorney’s fees.

Among the types of actions taken by HOA and COA boards that can be in violation of the Corporations Codes which apply to HOAs and COAs are these:

Section 7510(b) – Failure to hold a regular meeting of the members; Section 7510(e) – Failure to hold special meeting after demand by 5 percent or more of members;  Section 7511 – Failure to provide notice of a meeting to members;  Section 7511(a) – Failure to provide timely notice of meeting to members.  Section 7512 – Transacting business not otherwise authorized in the bylaws at a meeting of members with less than a quorum;  Sections 7513, 7514 – Failure to provide members with properly conformed written ballot or proxy as authorized in bylaws;  Section 7520 Failure of mutual benefit corporation to provide for reasonable means of nominating and electing persons as directors; Section 8320 – Failure to keep books and records, minutes of proceedings, or list of members; Section 8321(a) – Failure to prepare an annual report; Section 8321(a) – Failure to provide annual report to member upon written request; and Section 8330(1) – Failure to allow inspection and copying of names and addresses of members upon written request.

In California, HOA laws protect volunteer association board members from personal liability as long as the member has acted in good faith, in the best interest of the homeowners association and with the care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.  California law also states that board members cannot be held liable if the HOA board has directors’ and officers’ insurance coverage, and damages are more than such insurance covers.

Call Palm Springs Homeowner Association Attorney Sebastian Gibson For Your Homeowner Dispute

California HOA laws allow an association’s board of directors to fine homeowners for breaking association rules or causing damage to common elements in the community.  The association board must follow specific guidelines.  The board must notify the homeowner of the alleged offense in writing at least 10 days prior to a board meeting. The homeowner then has the right to address the board at the next board meeting, and the board will determine if an offense was committed. If the board decides to fine a homeowner for violating a rule, the board must notify the owner of the fine in writing with 15 days of the board’s ruling.

Call Palm Springs Homeowner Association Attorney Sebastian Gibson For Your Homeowner Dispute

If you feel your homeowner association board has acted improperly or you need representation for an action taken against you, call Palm Springs Homeowner Association Lawyer Sebastian Gibson at (760) 776-1810.