Is it Legal for an HOA to Insure What it Does Not Own?

Apr 11, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: One board member keeps insisting it is illegal for the association to insure something it does not own. Is he right? –Pat Davis

ANSWER: It's not illegal. In a condominium association, common areas are owned by homeowners, each of whom owns an undivided fractional interest, yet the common areas are insured by an entity (the association) that does not have an ownership interest in the common areas.

Insurable Interest. An insurable interest can be established either through direct ownership or contractually, such as a lease or an easement. For associations, an insurable interest is established in the CC&Rs, which obligates the board of directors to insure the common areas. It can sometimes require insurance of structures which are owned by members individually (as with townhouses).

Insurance Trustee. In addition, governing documents often make the board an insurance trustee. As such, it can negotiate and settle claims and receive and distribute insurance proceeds. Depending on the nature of the claim, the board can be authorized to develop bid criteria for repairs, receive proposals from qualified contractors, and award contracts for repairs and reconstruction.

RECOMMENDATION: Boards should have an experienced HOA insurance agent review the insurance provisions in their governing documents to make sure their policies meet the association's needs.

Many thanks to Tim Cline of the Cline Agency Insurance Brokers for his assistance with this question.

THE BALCONY BILL
AND STOCK COOPERATIVES


QUESTION. Does Civil Code §5551 apply to co-ops? -Maury J.

RESPONSE: Good question. A stock cooperative is a
common interest development governed by the Davis-Stirling Act. Section 5551(l) of the Civil Code states that inspections of elevated wooden structures apply to multi-family structures with three or more units. If a co-op's buildings are multi-family structures with three or more units, it would seem to apply.

However,
the statute also states, "At least once every nine years, the board of an association of a condominium project shall cause a reasonably competent and diligent visual inspection to be conducted..." (Civ. Code §5551(b)(1).)

That language appears to let co-ops off the hook even though they own and are responsible for maintaining and repairing balconies and other elevated wooden structures.

If a balcony collapses and persons are injured or killed, the co-op would undoubtedly be sued. If the court decides the board violated the statute
by not inspecting their balconies, the co-op will automatically be deemed negligent (negligent per se) for not conducting inspections. At that point, all that's left is determining the size of the judgment against the association.

RECOMMENDATION: The statute's clear intent is to increase the safety of residents in associations with elevated wooden structures. If it were me, I would voluntarily follow the statute's requirements to inspect and repair all elevated wooden structures. Doing so protects residents and minimizes any potential for lawsuits.

WHAT IS AN
EMERGENCY MEETING?
 

The next in our series of 2-Minute Videos describes emergency board meetings. When and how can boards of directors conduct emergency meetings? How is an emergency defined?  

To learn about this form of meeting, watch:

  Emergency Board Meetings
 


Geckos. I appreciate your humor! You always make me laugh! I could just imagine my board members having a gecko on their shoulder! You make the issues light while delivering matter-of-fact answers. Thank you!!! -Lorna L.

Enjoy your newsletters and usually get your jokes. Keep up the good work. –Anonymous

Thanks so much for everything you do for homeowners associations. Been reading ALL your articles over the years which makes me more well informed of the "do's and don'ts" Keep up the good work! -Traude-Sophia S.

Another informative newsletter along with a great video. Wish I could talk our board into heeding your advice. –Rita D.


Snakes. Non-venomous snakes are harmless (except to mice and rats), and most cities have ordinances against keeping venomous snakes. As for pythons or boa constrictors large enough to kill a human, you'll find those in zoos, not in condo settings! -Elsie B.

RESPONSE: They're not just in zoos. Some people like to keep pythons as pets and give them cute names like "Monty." Incidents involving them are not uncommon.

In 2009, a python crushed a two-year-old girl while she slept in her crib. In 2013, two young boys were strangled in their sleep by a python. The snake crawled through an air duct and entered the room where the brothers were sleeping.

In 2015, one nearly crushed a pet store owner before police were able to pry it off him. It was wrapped around his head, neck, and torso. Last year, a Florida woman screamed her lungs out after discovering a python in her washing machine. She didn't realize it was a snake until she reached inside and felt it slither. Personally, I don't think snakes and condos are compatible. For a surprisingly long list of constrictor snake incidents, see HumaneSociety.org.


Science Teacher. Hello! Love the newsletter. I’m a science teacher and I’d like to tell you that your statement that “there are only five classes of animals” is incorrect. There are five classes of animals with backbones. Those are referred to as chordates. -Valerie T.

RESPONSE: You are quite right. There are five kinds of animals with backbones, which are classified as chordate subphylum vertebrata. In addition, there is a large category of spineless ones--I've met a few of them. There are also some without higher brain functions. I've met some of those too. They are generally harmless, until we elect them to office.


Zoom Meetings. Thank you for the valuable support you offer through your newsletter. We are experiencing a much higher owner participation of our membership meetings held via Zoom then we ever saw when we held in person meetings. My question is, are we required to go back to live in person meetings? Or, can we continue to meet via Zoom? –Frank S.

RESPONSE: You can and should continue to hold Zoom meetings after restrictions are lifted. Video conferencing via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex is the one good thing to come out of the pandemic.

Video conferencing makes it easier for both board members and homeowners to attend meetings. It also makes vendor presentations easier since they can put their presentations on the screen for all to see. Video conferencing also reduces legal expenses by eliminating the cost of drive-time for legal counsel to attend meetings.

RECOMMENDATION. I encourage boards to continue using video conferencing for their board and annual meetings.

 

Federal Update. CDC issued an order extending the residential eviction moratorium and updated its guidance on Employer Information for Office Buildings.

Statewide Update. CDPH issued guidance for Commencement and Graduation Ceremonies and updated guidance for gatherings, receptions, conferences and indoor live events.

The State issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: Availability of Vaccine for those 50+ as of April 1 and 16+ as of April 15.

The State issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Outreach to Asian American and Pacific Islander Californians. The State issued a 4/8/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Outreach for Black and African American Audiences.

As of April 15, the State will be updating the Blueprint. The State issued a 4/2/21 Press Release re: Updates to Blueprint. The updates will include changes to gathering limits, private events or meeting limits, and indoor live events or performances.

The Governor issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Moving Beyond Blueprint. The Governor indicated that the State will fully open its economy as of June 15 if: the vaccine supply is sufficient for those 16+ who want to be vaccinated and hospitalization rates are stable and low.

The CDPH issued a 4/2/21 Travel Advisory.

The following Counties have changed Tiers: Alameda (Red Tier to Orange); Butte (Red Tier to Orange); Colusa (Red Tier to Orange); Contra Costa (Red Tier to Orange); El Dorado (Red Tier to Orange); Fresno (Purple Tier to Red); Glenn (Purple Tier to Red); Humboldt (Red Tier to Orange); Kings (Purple Tier to Red); Madera (Purple Tier to Red); Mendocino (Red Tier to Orange); Modoc (Red Tier to Orange); Monterey (Red Tier to Orange); Napa (Red Tier to Orange); San Benito (Red Tier to Orange); San Joaquin (Purple Tier to Red); Santa Cruz (Red Tier to Orange); Siskiyou (Red Tier to Orange); Sonoma (Red Tier to Orange); Tulare (Red Tier to Orange); Tuolumne (Red Tier to Orange); Yuba (Purple Tier to Red).

Northern California. Alameda County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier.

Butte County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/29/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Open to Persons 16+.

Contra Costa County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Those 16+ Eligible for Vaccine.

El Dorado County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier.

Fresno County moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 4/8/21 Press Release re: Expanded Vaccine Eligibility. The County issued 3/25/21 Return to School Guidance.

Lake County issued a 4/2/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Eligibility Quickly Expanding.

Madera County moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 4/2/21 Press Release re: Eligibility of Vaccine for Those 16+.

Marin County issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Eligibility Expanding to Those 16+. The County issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant Detected.

Mendocino County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a new Order to comply with the changes and issued a 4/7/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County also issued an Order re: School Protocols. The County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variants Discovered. The County issued a 4/8/21 Press Release re: Reduction in Vaccine Allocation.

Monterey County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier.

Napa County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier.

Nevada County issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Moving Back to Purple Tier next week. The County issued a 4/7/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant Detected.

San Francisco issued a 3/24/21 Press Release re: Changes in Orange Tier.

San Joaquin County moved to the Red Tier and issued 4/7/21 Updates.

San Mateo County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: Expanded Vaccine Eligibility. The County issued a 4/8/21 Press Release re: New Guidance and Updates.

Santa Clara County issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: County Awaiting More Vaccines. The County issued a 4/3/21 Press Release re: Increase in Variance Means Testing Critical.

Santa Cruz County moved to the Orange Tier and issued 3/30/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/22/21 Press Release re: Variant Identified in County.

Shasta County issued a 4/2/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Eligibility Expansion. The County issued a 4/5/21 Press Release re: April 15 Expansion of Blueprint.

Sonoma County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/7/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/26/21 Press Release re: Effort to Vaccinate Those Who Are Homebound for Medical Reasons. The County issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Increase in Vaccine Supply.

Stanislaus County issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 3/30/21 Press Release re: Expanded Vaccine Eligibility. The County issued a 4/8/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant Detected in County.

Tehama County issued a 4/8/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Updates.

Tulare County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/6/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/31/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Expanded to Those 16+. The County issued a 4/2/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant Detected in County.

Tuolumne County moved to the Orange Tier.

Yolo County issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/31/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Eligibility Expansion.

Yuba County moved to the Red Tier.


Southern California. Imperial County moved to Orange Tier and revised health order to align with the move.

Los Angeles County moved to Orange Tier and revised health order to align with the move. Gyms and Fitness Center protocols were updated with up to 25% occupancy indoors. Indoor pools are open, however indoor hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms still must remain closed.

City of Los Angeles updated its Safer LA Order to align with the county’s move Orange Tier.

Orange County moved to Orange Tier and issued Press Release

Riverside County moved to Orange Tier and issued Press Release.

Press Release regarding expanding vaccine eligibility to 16 and older for county run facilities.

San Diego County moved to Orange Tier and updated its health order to align with the move. Issued Press Release regarding expanding vaccine eligibility to 50 and older.

San Bernardino County moved to Orange Tier and issued Press Release regarding the move and vaccinations are open to all residents 16 and older.

Ventura County moved to Orange Tier and issued Press Release regarding the move.


READING THE CHART. Because the Coronavirus Update Chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 4-9-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

PAST NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature.

Legislation on Lot Splits

May 2, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments
  California's Leader in Community Association Law May 2, 2021
The one good thing to come out of the pandemic last year was the significantly reduced legislative activity in Sacramento. It meant we did not have to hold so tightly to our wallets.

Unfortunately, legislators are back in session and more legislation is being pushed through — some good and some bad.

My partner, Nathan McGuire, is a member of the Community Association Institute's California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) and will report on some key bills from week to week. Below is his report on SB 9 & SB 10.
-Adrian
 
SB 9 LOT SPLITS
AND SB 10 ZONING

Senate Bills 9 and 10 both have negative consequences for associations. SB 9 will allow two homes on every lot zoned for single family homes. It will require local jurisdictions to administratively approve duplexes or lot splits. When coupled with recent ADU legislation, it means existing single family lots in a planned development could end up with 6 dwellings per lot instead of one.

Negative Consequences. The League of California Cities opposes the bill, as does CAI-CLAC. While we understand the need for more affordable housing, this approach doesn’t make sense in the context of an HOA. It would mean increasing the burden on amenities, parking, roads, utility infrastructure, and other facilities not designed for it. In addition, associations would have to amend their governing documents, maps, voting structures, and assessments every time a lot is split. This would be costly for associations.

Multi-Family Zoning. SB 10 is similar. It directs cities to streamline the re-zoning of single family lots to up to 10 units per lot if they are in a jobs-rich, transit-rich, or urban infill area, as designated by the Department of Housing and Community Development. HOAs could not stop the approved construction. In other words, a single family lot in an HOA could be up-zoned and an association could not stop a 10-unit apartment building from being constructed. Like SB 9, this would be a logistical and practical nightmare for associations.

CALL TO ACTION. CAI-CLAC has issued a Call to Action on SB 9 and is working on the response on SB 10. Please click on our Call to Action and send an email to the Legislature asking them to VOTE NO on SB 9. -Nathan McGuire

 

SB 391 VIRTUAL MEETINGS
IN EMERGENCIES

 

A piece of good legislation is Senate Bill 391. It allows associations to conduct meetings by video conference during a state of emergency, as is now being done via Zoom and other video platforms.

Physical Location. Under current law, boards must designate a physical location where members can meet to listen to board meetings when the meeting is by video or teleconference.

None Available. During an emergency, gathering in a physical location is not always possible. For example, the 2018 Camp Fire was the most destructive wildfire in California's history and wiped out entire associations, displacing all HOA members; the 1994 Northridge Earthquake destroyed thousands of buildings, displacing entire memberships; and the current pandemic prevented gatherings of any size, anywhere, affecting every association in California. In each case, members needed to address important issues, but could not gather in a physical location.

State of Emergency. SB 391 authorizes associations to meet by video or teleconference without the need for a physical location when (i) a state of disaster or emergency has been declared by the federal government; (ii) a state of emergency has been declared by the Governor; or (iii) a local emergency has been proclaimed by a local governing body or official.


Marjorie Murray Opposition. Unfortunately, Marjorie Murray's Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL) is on record opposing the bill. I cannot see a rational basis for her opposition. It's a common sense solution in a declared emergency. You might politely ask Ms. Murray to withdraw her opposition to the bill by sending her an email.

Feedback. I received feedback from a reader that people should not blame Ms. Murray for drafting bad legislation and persuading legislators to carry her bills. Instead, homeowners should blame legislators who vote for her legislation. I agree that some blame rests with legislators, which is why we need to educate them on the merits of particular bills. CAI-CLAC is our voice in Sacramento. To that end, readers should support their efforts to fight bad legislation and encourage good legislation. When the time is right, we will alert everyone to send emails in support of SB 391. -Adrian

Charcoal Grills. In our association, every unit owner has a charcoal grill on their tiny patio. Our CC&Rs require the board to maintain property and casualty insurance. No insurance company will write us unless we agree to eliminate charcoal grills. What do we do? –Glen G.

ANSWER: Immediately prohibit charcoal grills and ask your insurance carrier if they will allow propane grills. Premiums on fire insurance are skyrocketing everywhere in California, and many associations are reporting cancellations. You should do everything possible to make your association as fire-safe as possible.


Executive Session Meetings. Davis-Stirling lists confidential subjects that may be discussed in executive session. Are boards limited to only those subjects? -Luka R.

ANSWER: The Davis-Stirling Act's list is not exhaustive when it comes to matters that should be discussed in executive session. Civil Code §4935 lists five matters:

   1. Litigation;
   2. Formation of contracts;
   3. Member discipline;
   4. Personnel matters; and
   5. Delinquent owner payment plans.

However, there are other matters that require confidentiality, such as:

   6. Initiating foreclosure (Civil Code §5705);
   7. Disability requests (Calif. Code of Regs. 12176);
   8. 
Seeking legal advice on terminating a contract;
   9. Discussing possible censure of a director;
 10. 
Discussing problems related to the mental illness of a member; and
 11. Seeking legal advice on issues of potential liability.

Open Meeting Matters. If a matter does not fit into one of the above eleven categories, it must be discussed in an open meeting in front of the membership.

 
 
Federal Update. US Department of Health & Human Services issued a renewal that a public health emergency still exists nationwide.

The CDC issued What to Know about Possibility of COVID-19 Illness After Vaccination. It updated COVID-19 Vaccination and When You've Been Fully Vaccinated. It also updated Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings.


Statewide Update. The CDPH issued a 4/24/21 Statement supporting the FDA and CDC decision to resume use of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine.

Governor Newsom issued a 4/27/21 Press Release re: CDC Outdoor Masking Guidance.

The following Counties changed Tiers: Amador (Red Tier to Orange); Calaveras (Red Tier to Orange); Fresno (Red Tier to Orange); Glenn (Red Tier to Orange); Kings (Red Tier to Orange); Mendocino (Orange Tier to Yellow); Mono (Red Tier to Orange); San Luis Obispo (Red Tier to Orange); Santa Barbara (Red Tier to Orange); Sutter (Red Tier to Orange).


Northern California. Alameda County issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

Contra Costa County issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: 1 Million Vaccines Administered. The County issued new guidance for pools.

Fresno County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 4/21/21 Guidance re: School Surveillance.

Lake County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: 50% of County Partially Vaccinated.

Madera County issued a 4/19/21 Press Release re: Guidance for K-12 Performing Arts.

Marin County issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Remaining in Orange Tier as a result of an increase in cases. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Updated Plan for Vaccines. Marin County issued Pool Reopening FAQs

Mendocino County moved to the Yellow Tier and updated their Order to reflect these changes.

Mono County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. Mammoth Lakes issued a 4/15/21 Order Extending Restaurant and Retail guidelines.

Monterey County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: Residents Required to Follow State Gathering Guidance. Monterey County issued a 4/28/21 Press Release re: Residents Required to Follow State Face Mask Requirements.

Sacramento County issued a 4/15/21 update to pool guidelines.

San Francisco has updated gym guidance.

San Mateo County issued a 4/22/21 Update which indicates that the County may move to the Yellow Tier May 4. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/27/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Appointments Available due to increased supply.

Santa Clara County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: One Million Residents Vaccinated. The County issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Updated Vaccination Data.

Santa Cruz issued a 4/25/21 Press Release re: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The County issued a 4/26/21 Vaccine Interest Survey for Homebound Individuals.

Sonoma County issued a 4/20/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Milestone. The County issued a 4/26/21 Press Release re: Resuming Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

Tehama County issued a 4/23/21 Press Release re: Vaccines.


Southern California. Los Angeles County Press Release regarding County is beginning to meet yellow tier threshold. Issued guidance on return to work guidelines for employees who develop systemic symptoms post-vaccination and are differentiated from symptoms that are not associated with vaccination. Updated protocols for the following areas: Bars; Informal Social Gatherings; Libraries; Live Indoor Events; Live Outdoor Events; Public Pools (the County has not updated residential pools protocols yet for indoor pools but the public pools protocols may provide insight on recommendations); Private Events (Meetings, Receptions, and Conferences); Restaurants; Short Term Rentals.

City of Los Angeles updated its Safer LA Order to align with the County’s Public Health Order.

Orange County Press Release regarding closure of Disneyland Drive-Thru vaccination site as of April 30, 2021.

Riverside County Press Release regarding move of vaccine site from Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium to Lake Elsinore outlet mall. Press Release regarding reinstatement of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in County.

San Diego County Press Release no masks required outdoors in public for fully vaccinated persons unless in a crowd. Press Release all County vaccine sites now accepting walk-ins.
Press Release two deer mice test positive for hantavirus in Boulevard and how to keep safe from the virus.

San Bernardino County residents can apply for up to 12 months of rent relief from arrearages accruing from March 13, 2020 to present at the County’s site, https://www.sbcrentrelief.com, which will continue through end of the year or until all funds are exhausted.

Santa Barbara revised its health order to align with Orange Tier. Further, the County is now following the State’s mask and gathering guidelines. Press Release "I’ve been vaccinated! Now What?" Press Release County resumes Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Ventura County Press Release County resumes Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


 
Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC
DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

PAST NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature.

Backyard Sign Abuts Neighbor

Apr 18, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: Should this sign be allowed in the backyard of an owners’ home? It can be seen from the neighbor’s backyard. The owners are in a feud which began with a noisy hot tub which resulted in retaliation with a noisy air compressor. Any advice is welcomed. -Anon

ANSWER: If the board gets involved, there might be no "end" to the dispute. "But," the board could have a role to play.

Harassment Defined. California defines harassment as a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. (Code Civ. Proc. §527.6(b)(3).) The sign is annoying but I doubt it would cause substantial emotional distress. If the neighbor feels harassed, he has recourse through the courts.

No Protected Category. If the dispute involved harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability, the board is obligated to investigate and take appropriate action. Since the dispute is over noise unrelated to a protected category, there is no statutory requirement for board involvement.

Nuisance. The sign could be deemed a nuisance under the CC&Rs and ordered by the board to remove it. However, the owner could argue he is exercising his free speech rights and refuse. The board would then need to schedule a hearing and impose fines. If the owner continued to refuse, the association would need to file a lawsuit with no guarantee of the outcome. 


Escalation. The best argument for board involvement is to avoid escalation of the dispute. If the feud is not ended, the neighbors could soon be flipping off each other, installing bright security lights and cameras aimed at each other, postings ugly comments on social media, and possible physical altercations. It then becomes a bigger problem for the association.

RECOMMENDATION. I recommend a board member informally meet with the two, either separately or together, in an attempt to deescalate things. As someone once said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." My second recommendation is to adopt an Anti-Harassment Policy.

MUTING DIRECTORS IN
ZOOM MEETINGS


QUESTION: Is it legal for the board to adopt a rule where a director's mic would be muted in Zoom meetings if he speaks out of order, has outbursts or interrupts other directors? This was proposed. One board member asked if it was legal. -Anon

ANSWER: Yes, it's legal. There is no inherent right of a director to disrupt meetings, filibuster motions (a prolonged speech that obstructs progress), bully other directors, or engage in personal attacks.

Unproductive Meetings. A disruptive director (and disruptive owners) can make it almost impossible for boards to conduct business. They can turn 1-hour board meetings into unproductive 4-hour meetings. It wears out directors and discourages others from serving on the board.

Adopt Procedures. Boards can adopt procedures for the orderly conduct of their meetings. Robert’s Rules of Order and other forms of parliamentary procedure were created for this very purpose. Muting a disruptive director until the President recognizes the person is reasonable. Fortunately, Zoom makes that easy to do.

RECOMMENDATION: A simple motion is all that's needed for the board to adopt procedures for the orderly conduct of business. It does not need to go to the membership for a 28-day review since it's an internal procedure issue rather than a rule applied to the membership as a whole with penalties attached.

ELECT SCOFFLAWS
TO THE BOARD?


QUESTION: Can we prevent homeowners who habitually break the rules from being on the board? –Jeffrey W.

ANSWER: Unfortunately, no. Prior to Marjorie Murray's tinkering with elections, the membership could adopt qualifications that required candidates be in good standing, i.e., not delinquent in assessments or unpaid fines and not in violation of the association's governing documents. In addition, to avoid conflicts of interest, associations could temporarily sideline those in litigation with the HOA until the lawsuit was over. Not any more. For more information, see Candidate Qualifications.

WHAT ARE
GOVERNING DOCUMENTS?


Next in our series of 2-Minute Videos, we describe the differences in an association's various governing documents.

What are CC&Rs, Bylaws, Rules and Condominium Plans? What is their purpose?

  Watch: Governing Documents--What Are They?


Spineless. “There is a large category of spineless ones--I've met a few of them. There are also some without higher brain functions. I've met some of those too. They are generally harmless, until we elect them to office.” I nearly fell on the floor laughing at this one. -Leland B.

Humor. I just love your sense of humor. LOL –Kathy B.

No Mask. No mask??? Which tier is the law firm in?? -Anon

RESPONSE: Herd immunity is right around the corner. Since I've had my two Pfizer shots, I'm part of the herd! I opened the front door of my house for the first time in over a year peeked outside. I actually saw sunlight. I immediately went online and ordered lots of sunscreen.

Love It. Hi, love the newsletter and read it every time! -Adam D.

 

Federal Update. The CDC and FDA issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine.

Statewide Update. CDPH issued 4/15/21 Press Release regarding updated guidance for gatherings.

The CDPH issued a 4/15/21 Press Release re: Those 16+ Eligible For Vaccination.

The following County changed Tiers: Inyo (Purple Tier to Red); Kern (Red Tier to Orange); Lake (Red Tier to Orange); Lassen (Orange Tier to Yellow); Merced (Purple Tier to Red).  


Northern California. Alameda County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: County Pausing J&J Vaccine.

Butte County issued a 4/12/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Clinics Closing. The County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: County Pausing J&J Vaccine.

Calaveras County issued a 4/14/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Available to Those 16+ and Pausing J&J Vaccine.

Contra Costa County issued a 4/10/21 Press Release re: Those 16+ Eligible For Vaccine. The County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Pausing J&J Vaccine. The County issued a 4/15/21 Press Release re: Walk In Vaccine Clinics Available.

El Dorado County issued a 4/12/21 Updated Blueprint Openings.

Lake County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier.

Marin County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Pausing J&J Vaccine. The County issued a 4/15/21 Press Release re: Changes in Gathering Guidance.

Mono County issued a new Health Order rescinding certain previous health orders.

Monterey County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Pause in J&J Vaccine.

Nevada County issued a 4/12/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant.

Sacramento County issued a new Health Order. The County issued a 4/9/21 Press Release re: Public Meeting Guidance.

San Francisco County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Those 16+ Eligible Vaccination. The County issued a 4/14/21 Press Release re: Expansion of Businesses and Activities April 15. The County issued a 4/16/21 Press Release re: Expansion of Vaccine Sites.

San Mateo County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Pause in J&J Vaccine. The County issued a 4/15/21 Press Release re: Those 16+ Eligible for Vaccine and Supply Limited.

Santa Clara County issued a 4/10/21 Press Release re: Encouraging Testing As Testing Rates Drop. The County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Expansion to Those 16+.

Solano County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Revised Blueprint. The County issued 4/14/21 Press Release re: Expansion of Vaccine Eligibility to Those 16+. The County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Pausing J&J Vaccine.
 
Sonoma County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: Pausing J&J Vaccine

Tehama County issued a 4/13/21 Press Release re: J&J Vaccine.


Southern California. Imperial County Press Release regarding vaccine is available for residents 16 and older. Further the press release announced changes to health order, for outdoor singing, chanting, shouting and playing wind instruments is required to be 20 feet from the audience. Playing of wind instruments is prohibited indoors in public and private venues, however singing and chanting is allowed indoors provided, the performers wear a face covering and maintain six feet of social distancing.

Los Angeles County revised health order that includes a new appendix for guidance for informal social gatherings that is currently being written by the County of Los Angeles and will replace the guidance for private gatherings. The revised health order also adds guidelines for private events (meetings, receptions, and conferences). Press Release regarding Pfizer vaccine is available for anyone living or working in the County of Los Angeles who are 16 and older.

Orange County announced that as of April 15, 2021 vaccination appointments are open for everyone 16 and older who lives or works in Orange County. Parental consent is required and people under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine. Immigration status is not checked at any time during the appointment and vaccination process.

Riverside County Press Release regarding county is following federal guidance and places a pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

San Diego County Press Release that everyone 16 and older is eligible for the vaccine. Further new guidance on gatherings, private and indoor live events. Outdoor activities allow up to 50 people. Indoor gatherings are strongly discouraged but allow up to 25 people with modifications. Press Release regarding county is following federal guidance and places a pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

San Luis Obispo County Press Release anyone who lives in SLO county aged 16 and over are eligible to sign up for the county’s Covid-19 vaccine registry. Press Release regarding county is following federal guidance and places a pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

San Bernardino County Press Release regarding county is following state and federal guidance and places a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Press Release regarding residents can apply for emergency rent and utility relief based on funding from federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Residents can apply here.

Santa Barbara County issued an updated health order:

  1. Gatherings outdoor are restricted to 25 people;
  2. Indoor gatherings are strongly discouraged and limited to maximum of 25% capacity where capacity limits exists and up to 3 households or 10 people;

Press Release regarding the county is moving closer to Orange Tier and may take effect as early as April 21, 2021.

Ventura County Press Release regarding county is following federal guidance and places a pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

 
READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 4-16-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

PAST NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature.

Snakes in Tanks

Apr 1, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: Once again an informative newsletter. On the subject of pets, we have a homeowner with quite a few snakes in glass tanks. Are snakes allowed and how many is reasonable? –Gary S.

RESPONSE: Associations are not required to allow snakes as pets. There are five classes of animals on the planet: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. The Davis-Stirling Act states that members are allowed to have at least one domesticated bird, cat, dog, or aquatic animal kept in an aquarium. (Civ. Code §4715.)

Mammals and Birds. Cats and dogs fit into the mammal category and associations must allow them, provided they are domesticated. Small birds such as canaries, parakeets, cockatiels, and parrots are considered domesticated and are acceptable as pets. Large birds such as crows, vultures, turkeys, and eagles are not.

Amphibians and Reptiles. The two categories not provided for in the statute are amphibians and reptiles. I don't know of anyone who keeps amphibians as pets. This includes salamanders, frogs, and toads. The reptile category consists of turtles, snakes, lizards, alligators and crocodiles. Small turtles are harmless and I'm not aware of any associations that ban them. Lizards such as geckos, iguanas and bearded dragons are popular with those who like those sorts of things. Putting them on your shoulder while attending board meetings is generally frowned upon. Alligators and crocodiles do not make good pets. You could lose an arm trying to pet them.  

Fish. Fish are not listed as a category in the Davis-Stirling Act. Instead, it states that homeowners are allowed to have "aquatic animals." That clearly includes fish, some of which are spectacularly beautiful. That brings us to snakes. Sea snakes qualify as aquatic animals, of which there are 69 species. They have paddle-like tails for swimming but lack gills and must surface to breath. Homeowners are allowed to have them in their aquariums.

Snakes. The water moccasin, also known as the cottonmouth, is semi-aquatic. Water moccasins are venomous and their bites can be lethal. The problem with water moccasins and other "water snakes" is that they are semi-aquatic and are not confined to water. They can leave their tanks and slither into adjoining condominiums. Escaping confinement is true for all semi-aquatic and non-aquatic snakes, as well as live mice kept to feed to snakes. Both snakes and mice have a knack for finding their way into walls and ceilings, or out open windows and doors, into the common areas and neighboring units.


If your resident has tanks of snakes, concern is understandable. No one wants to see a large black snake emerge from under their couch or open a closet door and find a python. Pythons can grow to 23 feet and weigh up to 250 pounds. A large python can easily strangle or crush a person to death.

RECOMMENDATION:
Other than sea-snakes, boards can prohibit reptiles generally, and snakes in particular, as pets. Boards can address the issue by adopting rules. Such rules do not have to grandfather existing snakes. (Villa de Las Palmas v. Terifaj.) Snake handlers can stay, but their slippery, slithering friends can be ordered out.


Manager Signs Correspondence: In our association, correspondence from the board is signed by the manager. Is this correct?

ANSWER: There is nothing illegal about the manager signing correspondence. The manager is an agent of the association who works at the direction of the board of directors.

Some boards have the manager sign on their behalf. Some boards sign their correspondence "The Board" or "Board of Directors." Others send it under the President's name. It's a matter of preference how boards sign their correspondence, and it can change from board to board. When it comes to correspondence to vendors, more often than not, letters are signed by the manager.


Balcony Special Assessment. We have 37 units but only 15 have balconies. Can the board levy a special assessment for balcony certification only on the 15 owners with balconies? -Star S.

ANSWER: Unless your CC&Rs specifically make condominium owners with balconies responsible for the structural elements of their balconies (which is unlikely), you cannot impose an assessment on the 15 owners with balconies; it must be levied on all 37 owners.


Inspect Stairs. I'm surprised that the new inspection law does not include any exterior wood-frame stairs that access second-floor units. A collapsing staircase can kill/maim just as surely as a balcony or deck. -Hank J.

ANSWER: Someone has misled you. Stairs are included in the statute. "Load-bearing means those components that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building to deliver structural loads to the building from decks, balconies, stairways, walkways, and their railings, that have a walking surface more than six feet above ground level, that are designed for human occupancy or use, and that are supported in whole or in substantial part by wood or wood-based products." (Civ. Code §5551(a)(3).) Exterior stairways need to be inspected. See Elevated Structure Inspections.

President Gets 2 Votes? Is it true that the president’s vote weighs heavier in a tie vote? My board has 4 directors. What happens when the vote is 2 to 2? One director said, in that case, the president’s vote counts as two. –Elsa
 

ANSWER: No, it's not true. Under no circumstances does the president get two votes. In his classic book Animal Farm (a must-read for everyone), George Orwell introduced the concept that everyone is equal but some are more equal than others. When it comes to the board of directors, the president is not more equal than other directors — all directors are equal. To avoid deadlocked 2 to 2 votes, you should amend your documents to create an odd-numbered board of either 3 or 5 directors.

Small HOA Boards. We are a small HOA with only 17 units. We have a hard time filling 5 director seats as required by the bylaws. Is it okay to amend our bylaws to have only 3 directors? –Eric C.
 
ANSWER: Yes, you can amend your bylaws. With only 17 units, you should easily obtain enough votes. Your articles of incorporation might also need to be amended — they sometimes address the number of directors. If you need assistance drafting and recording an amendment, contact us.
 
VIRTUAL
MEETING BASICS


The next video in our series of 2-Minute Videos describes when and how associations can hold virtual board and membership meetings.

We take a look at the differences between speakerphone meetings, teleconferences, and video conferences, and what must be done to meet Davis-Stirling requirements. 

  Watch: Virtual Meetings


Kudos. Thank you for all you do for California HOAs! Faithfully yours, Celeste H.

Joking. I want to thank you for your sense of humor — it's the only thing that keeps us condo owners sane! Though I don't know what is funnier — the things you say, or the people that don't know you're joking! You rock! –Deanna F.

RESPONSE: In our industry, keeping your sanity requires a sense of humor (and a good lawyer on retainer).


Marjorie Murray #1. Marjorie Murray may be the one coming up with ridiculous mandates such as the new election laws, but she is not the one voting them into law. Please tell your readers how to find their local legislators and to complain to them. -Paul C.

RESPONSE: Ms. Murray's organization has contributed its share of ridiculous mandates imposing costly burdens on homeowners. In addition, she has lobbied against legislation that would have benefited associations and their members. In my opinion, her organization stokes the insanity in Sacramento.

The California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) monitors and supports good legislation and opposes bad legislation. It publishes newsletters and alerts regarding pending legislation. In addition, CLAC has retained the services of a legislative advocate, Louie A. Brown, Jr. Another organization that tracks bills is the California Association of Community Managers with their own legislative advocate, Jennifer Wada. Both organizations deserve our support.


Marjorie Murray #2. We love your newsletter! One question, has your law firm or any other law firm taken action to rescind Marjorie Murray's SB 323 bill? If not, why not? If yes, what is the current status? –Jill B.

RESPONSE: We have been working through CAI's California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) to address the problems created by Ms. Murray's organization and other hostile legislation. Nathan McGuire, Managing Partner of our Northern California Offices, previously served as Chair of CLAC and is on their Executive Committee. We will report on new bills in upcoming newsletters.


NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find the search line in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Federal Update. The CDC issued updated guidance on: How to talk to friends and family about COVID-19 vaccines; What you can do if you are fully vaccinated; and Ventilation in Buildings. The CDC has some updates related to Guidance for Pools etc. in Communal Living.

Statewide Update.The following Counties have changed Tiers: Kern (Purple Tier to Red); Lake (Purple Tier to Red); Lassen (Red Tier to Orange); Marin (Red Tier to Orange); Monterey (Purple Tier to Red); Nevada (Purple Tier to Red); Riverside (Purple Tier to Red); Sacramento (Purple Tier to Red); San Diego (Purple Tier to Red); San Francisco (Red Tier to Orange); San Mateo (Red Tier to Orange); Santa Barbara (Purple Tier to Red); Santa Clara (Red Tier to Orange); Sierra (Orange Tier to Yellow); Stanislaus (Purple Tier to Red); Sutter (Purple Tier to Red); Tehama (Purple Tier to Red); Trinity (Red Tier to Orange); Tulare (Purple Tier to Red); Ventura (Purple Tier to Red); Yolo (Red Tier to Orange).

Press Release that vaccines will be available to those 50 and older starting April 1, 2021 and 16 and older starting April 15. Press Release regarding My Turn COVID-19 Scheduling System is now available in 12 languages: Armenian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The CDPH recently issued a Youth Sports Q&A to be a companion document to its updated guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports issued February 19, 2021.

The State is expanding vaccine availability to those 50+, starting April 1, and those 16+ on April 15. The Governor signed SB 95, ensuring access to supplemental paid sick leave for workers impacted by COVID-19.

Northern California. Butte County issued a 3/19/21 Press Release re: Vaccinations Available to Persons 50+.

Contra Costa County issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: UK COVID Variant Detected in Contra Costa. The County issued a 3/22/21 Press Release re: Vaccinations Available to Those 50+. The County issued a 3/25/21 Order Repealing Social Distancing Order and deferring to State Guidance. The County issued a 3/25/21 Order Repealing Face Covering Order and deferring to State Guidance. Contra Costa also issued a 3/25/21 Order Repealing Vehicle-Based Gathering Order and deferring to State Guidance.

Fresno County issued an Adult and Youth Recreational Sports Attestation Form. The County issued a 3/25/21 Guide to Reopening K-12.

Lake County has moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 3/19/21 Press Release re: Widespread Immunization.

Madera County issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Eligibility. The County issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Variant Detected in Madera County.

Marin County has moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier.

Mendocino County has issued a new Health Order to comply with the move to the red tier. They also issued a 3/12/21 Press Release re: Red Tier. The County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: Variants Discovered.

Monterey County has moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier

Nevada County moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Eligibility.

Placer County issued a 3/19/21 Press Release re: COVID Variant Detected in Placer County.

Sacramento County has moved to the Red Tier and issued a new Health Order pursuant to this change.

San Francisco moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 3/24/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The guidelines for pools, tennis courts, gyms, golf courses and social gatherings have been updated as well.

San Mateo County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: Move to Orange Tier. The County issued a 3/25/21 Update Regarding Vaccinations and County COVID-19 Response. The County issued a 3/19/21 Press Release re: County to Update School Guidance.

Santa Clara County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. Santa Clara County issued a 3/17/21 Press Release re: Additional Variant Detected and 3/20/21 Press Release re: Need For Testing Due to New Variants. The County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: County Waiting for More Vaccines as Eligibility Expands. The County issued a 3/23/21 Risk Reduction Advisory.

Santa Cruz County moved to the Red Tier. The County issued a 3/15/21 Press Release re: Vaccinations, as well as a 3/22/21 Press Release re: Variant Identified in County

Shasta County issued a 3/24/21 Update re: New Variant and Vaccinations.

Solano County issued a 3/22/21 Press Release re: Decline in Allocation of Vaccine.

Sonoma County issued a 3/15/21 Press Release re: Vaccines. The County also issued a 3/26/21 Press Release re: Effort to Vaccinate Homebound Individuals.

Stanislaus County moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 3/18/21 Press Release re: Variant In County

Sutter County moved to the Red Tier.

Tehama County moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier.

Tulare County moved to the Red Tier and issued a 3/16/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 3/25/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Availability.

Yolo County moved to the Orange Tier and amended their Health Order and all attachments to address the change. The County also issued updated face covering guidance.

Southern California. Imperial County released Health Order on quarantine for persons exposed to COVID-19 who are not vaccinated (10 days' quarantine), those fully vaccinated for the past three months (no quarantine), and those who recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months (no quarantine).

Los Angeles County issued revised Health Order, which allows for Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries to reopen outdoors. Further, increased number of participants for group counseling services to 12 people. Golf Course Protocols have been updated lifting further restrictions, including socially-distanced group lessons, reopening of putting and chipping greens, and allowance for youth and adult recreational leagues. Gyms can reopen indoors at 10% capacity. Increased to 50% capacity office-based worksites that must be open indoors for essential operations.

City of Los Angeles updated its Safer LA Order to align with County moving to red tier and with CDC’s guidance for fully-vaccinated people.

Orange County Press Release regarding return to Red Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Riverside County Press Release regarding return to Red Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

San Luis Obispo County Press Release that local landlords and tenants can apply for rental assistance through CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. Press Release regarding allowing one immediate household member to observe a youth in youth sports (practices and games).

San Bernardino County Press Release regarding return to Red Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Santa Barbara updated its Health Order to include required weekly COVID-19 testing of coaches and players aged 13 and above for the high-contact sports of football, rugby and water polo. The County continued its face covering order until April 19, 2021.

Ventura County Press Release regarding return to Red Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Also mentioned that golf carts do not need a partition between members of a different household. Further, HOA pools guidance has been lifted, though the County still encourages HOAs to follow suggested County Guidance. Press Release regarding vaccine eligibility expands to 50 and older as of April 1, 2021 and to 16 and older April 15, 2021.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of County restrictions and links to Health Department Orders, see County Chart 3-26-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

 

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

Spending Unbudgeted Money on Wildfire Safety

Mar 14, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: We want to pay for wildfire fuel reduction on non-HOA property contiguous to our common areas and homeowners' property lines. This would provide an additional buffer against wildfires. Is such an expenditure permissible? Is it an operating expense or reserve expenditure? –Philip H.

ANSWER: Assuming you have permission from the adjoining property owner, assessments can be used to clear brush to protect your association from potential wildfires.

Court Case. In Finley v. Superior Court, a homeowners association used association funds to fight the conversion of a nearby military base into a commercial airport. Members of the association sued claiming the board exceeded its authority and misused association funds. The court ruled that political contributions were not illegal and boards can take actions they believe are in the best interests of the association, even if members disagree. That means your board can authorize funds to clear brush to protect the association.

Operating Expense. The project does not qualify as a reserve expense since it does not involve maintenance of the common areas. That means it should come out of operations. If the expense was not budgeted, it is unlikely there will be sufficient funds in operations to cover it. In that case, the board can borrow from reserves and then repay it, or special assess the membership up to 5% of the current budget without a vote of the membership.

RECOMMENDATION. If the board decides to clear excess brush every few years, it could qualify as a reserve item much like periodic trimming of common area trees. Boards should consult with their reserve study provider and legal counsel about how best to handle it.

****


Emergency Rules. Last year we addressed COVID issues at our pool with emergency rules. We have now started planning for our pool opening this year, and we're wondering if we can still use emergency rules to address the ever-changing COVID scene? -Kristi H.

ANSWER: I believe you can. Technically, emergency rules can only last 120 days and cannot be readopted. (Civ. Code §4360(d).) Unfortunately, the pandemic is now one-year old with new directives constantly handed down by health officials. Accordingly, I believe boards can continue to adopt emergency rules. The pandemic has already upset the apple cart on holding in-person meetings. In my opinion, the 120-day limitation can be temporarily suspended.


Limiting Pets. I was told California HOAs are not allowed to limit the number of pets a person can have, is this true? –Erica

ANSWER: No it's not true. Associations can limit the number of pets a member keeps. What they can't do is ban them altogether. Members are allowed to have at least one domesticated bird, cat, dog, or aquatic animal. (Civil Code §4715.)


Secret Ballots. One of our residents said they believe the state is now requiring secret ballots for things like budgets and assessments. Is this factual? -Dan L.

ANSWER: No, it's not factual. Budgets are approved by the board and mailed to the membership not less than 30 nor more than 90 days prior to the end of the fiscal year. For more information see our Budget Menu. Emergency assessments and special assessments up to 5% of the budget and regular assessment increases can be approved by the board without a vote of the membership. See our Assessments Menu.


Write-In Cumulative Voting. I was told that when cumulative voting is allowed, it's only for the names printed on the ballots, not write-candidates. I've never heard this before. Is this true? -Doug G.

ANSWER: No, it's not true. The Davis-Stirling Act requires cumulative voting if permitted in an association's governing documents. (Civ. Code §5115(e).) The statute does not make an exception for write-in candidates.

FOUR KINDS OF
DAVIS-STIRLING ASSOCIATIONS


The sixth in our series of 2-Minute Videos describes the four kinds of common interest developments covered by the Davis-Stirling Act.

We take a look at the differences between condominiums, planned developments, stock cooperatives and community apartment projects.

  Watch: Four Kinds of Common Interest Developments


Videos. Congratulations on another great video. These are really well done with just the right level of information and easy to absorb. -Leland B.

Posting Videos. Thank you for the service you provide to HOAs! Your 2-minute video is just the tool we need to explain executive sessions to our owners. Can we post your 2-minute videos on our association's website? We feel it would benefit the entire community. –Sharon R.

RESPONSE: Yes, feel free to post our videos. Our goal is to help homeowners and board members alike understand how their HOAs work.

Love the Videos. Love, love these videos. Short and to the point. As a manager it helps me answer homeowner questions regarding these topics. Thank you. –Sway R.

Destructive Testing. In one of your videos you mention destructive testing, which I feel is incorrect for the building will not be destroyed during the test. The correct description would be non-destructive testing, where the building is not destroyed. –Adam S.

RESPONSE: Destructive testing and invasive testing are both terms that seem to be used interchangeably in our industry. It means destroying or invading a portion of the balcony by removing stucco or other material to see inside the balcony.

Marjorie Murray. I agree with your assessment of Marjorie Murray, who has created a host of tangled problems for homeowners’ associations. Of course, it also raises questions about the intelligence of legislators in general, sorry to say, when such bills are passed year after year. Thank you for your newsletters; it is always reassuring to read clearly written explanations! –Elaine J.

Paid Board Members? What happens when an insufficient number of people run for the board? Some insist we are required to pay someone to fill that position. –Peggy G.

RESPONSE: As long as you have a quorum of directors, you can continue to operate as an association. If your bylaws call for a 5-member board, you only need three to operate. If you drop below that number, you have a problem. It's unfortunate Marjorie Murray's organization reduced your pool of volunteers by prohibiting spouses not on title from serving. The good news is that her organization made it possible for violent felons and members suing their associations to serve on HOA boards. For more information, read An HOA Without Directors.

Vaccination Policy. Don't you mean restricting facilities to those who have been vaccinated adds a layer of protection for people who get vaccinated, not for those who refuse to be vaccinated? –Jeff R.

RESPONSE: No, I meant those who are not vaccinated. Members who receive vaccinations are already protected. It's the unvaccinated who are at risk of catching the virus.
If they are refused entry to HOA facilities, theoretically they are protected from catching the virus. Boards should follow helath guidelines for pool reopenings. If your association's legal counsel tells your board they can require proof of vaccination to use the facilities, you should follow their advice. As noted in last week's newsletter, I'm not in that camp. Some people have legitimate reasons for not getting vaccinated, such as strongly held religious beliefs or severe allergic reactions leading to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. I believe excluding them from association facilities exposes the board to litigation.

Orange County. Your newsletters continue to be an invaluable resource. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. I noticed that Orange County is conspicuously lacking from your Covid updates. -Mike H.

RESPONSE: We only report when there are updates. Some counties are more active than others. The less active ones are letting the State provide guidance rather than offering their own. Orange County’s last update was in December 2020.
Some counties are even less active. Kern County hasn’t had an update to its health orders since April 2020. Counties such as Los Angeles are compulsive about publishing updates almost daily on topics such as pickleball courts, pools, playgrounds, etc.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find the search line in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.

Boards can contact us for friendly, professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

Proof of Vaccination to Use Facilities

Mar 7, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: We are a senior community. Our board is trying to plan ahead for re-opening our facilities when restrictions are lifted. How do we deal with some people receiving the vaccine and others refusing? We hope to open our pool this summer. Can or should we restrict those who have not been vaccinated? –Barbara S.

ANSWER: This has been a topic of lively discussion in the legal community with some attorneys in favor and others opposed.

Voluntary Policy. As restrictions are lifted, it's unlikely the government will compel associations to require members show proof of vaccination to use their recreational facilities. That means adopting it as a policy will be entirely voluntary. It could add a layer of protection for members who refuse to be vaccinated. However, I see problems with it.

Potential Litigation. Excluding members from your facilities who lost their proof of vaccination, or refused vaccination for fear of allergic reactions, or refused on religious grounds, or choose not to disclose their medical status for privacy reasons, is an invitation for litigation. We don't currently monitor and exclude members and guests who have not had vaccinations for polio, hepatitis, measles, chickenpox, smallpox, and annual flu shots--all of which can be deadly.
I don't like the idea of boards becoming vaccine police. Where and how will they store this medical information? I believe it creates additional legal exposure for associations.

RECOMMENDATION: My recommendation is for boards to lift restrictions in accordance with applicable health department requirements. Those who want to take the additional step of prohibiting members who have not been vaccinated should see the advice of legal counsel.

DIFFERENT RULES
FOR DIFFERENT ELECTIONS?


QUESTION: I cannot find any difference in the new election law between electing directors and voting for other things, such as amending the CC&Rs. Are all steps necessary for a vote that is not an election of directors? BTW the new election law is stupid and we hate it. –Nora P.

ANSWER: The election law sponsored by Marjorie Murray's organization is a hot mess. In my opinion, it has harmed the consumers she claims to represent. The complicated and lengthy election procedures imposed by SB 323 apply to the following elections (Civ. Code §5100):

   • election of directors
   • removal of directors
   • special assessments
   • amendments to CC&Rs and Bylaws
   • grants of exclusive use common areas

If your association is voting to amend its documents, the call for nominations is not required, which shortens the 4-month election cycle to three months. You still need to appoint an inspector of elections, create a voter list, give notice, send ballots, etc. Our Election Calculator will provide a timeline which you can modify to fit non-director elections. For more information about the timeline itself, see Election Timeline.

By creating an unwieldy election process, Ms. Murray's organization drove up the cost of elections by effectively requiring the use of professional inspectors of election. The process is so convoluted, it's difficult for volunteers to comply with all the requirements. Moreover, any missteps opens the door to litigation.

RECOMMENDATION: Boards should increase the line item in their budgets for annual election expenses to include the cost of a professional inspector of elections. A good inspector will guide boards through the election minefield. Those with concerns about the new election requirements can send their comments to:

    Marjorie Murray, President
    Center for California Homeowner Association Law
    3758 Grand Ave., #56
    Oakland, CA 94610
    [email protected]

EXECUTIVE SESSION
MEETINGS


The fifth in our series of 2-Minute Videos describes the purpose of closed executive session board meetings.

The video covers those subjects deemed confidential by the legislature, minutes of meetings, and what must be reported to the membership.

  Watch Executive Session Meetings.

Readers who want to research this topic further can find a detailed explanation of executive session meetings on our website. Our next video will cover The Four Kinds of Davis-Stirling Associations.


Just the Facts, Ma'am. The service you provide to the millions of homeowners in the Golden State is astounding, Adrian. The care you take to get “just the facts, ma'am” out to your expectant online audience is phenomenal. The balcony inspection matter is a prime example. Kudos to you for helping so many with such important issues! -Marilyn B.

Kudos. Simply outstanding!!!! -L.S.

Early History. Thanks for the origins video. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear Judge Stirling tell his story of the DSA, but the early 1900’s history was new to me. Thank you and Tim for sharing the story. –Scott C.

Alcatraz. I just watched a historical show of Alcatraz and it showed how concrete and steel can "rot" over time which led to the great escape from Alcatraz and led them to cease using the Rock over time. -Bob F.

RESPONSE: That's precisely why associations with concrete balconies need to inspect the waterproofing elements under their 3-year reserve study cycle even though they are not required under the 9-year balcony inspection statute.

Pilasters. Our balconies are not cantilevered but each is supported by three stucco covered
pilasters. Are we subject to the legislation related to balcony inspections? –Sharon B.

RESPONSE: Yes, you're balconies are covered by the legislation. I added pictures of balconies to our website so everyone can get a better idea of what's required. See Elevated Structure Inspections.

Inspection Companies. Do you know any South Bay companies that conduct balcony inspections? Your 2-Minute Videos are very interesting and informative. -Stephanie J.

RESPONSE: I added a few more companies sent in by readers to our list of balcony inspectors. You should call them to see which ones cover the South Bay. See Elevated Structure Inspections.


NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find the search line in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Federal Update. The CDC updated the following guidelines:
Multifamily housing;
Vaccine toolkit for community-based organizations;
International travelers required negative test before entering US and subsequent quarantine recommendation;
Different Covid-19 vaccines; Information regarding J&J Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine;
Information regarding Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine; Information regarding Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine; People with Developmental Disabilities

Statewide Update. The CDPH issued 2/19/21 Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports Guidance.

California is accelerating vaccines for education and childcare workers. 2/25/21 Guidance re Vaccines for K-12 School Staff and Childcare Workers.

The following Counties have changed Tiers: El Dorado (Purple Tier to Red); Humboldt (Purple Tier to Red); Lassen (Purple Tier to Red); Marin (Purple Tier to Red); Modoc (Purple Tier to Red); Napa (Purple Tier to Red); San Francisco (Purple Tier to Red); San Luis Obispo (Purple Tier to Red); San Mateo (Purple Tier to Red); Santa Clara (Purple Tier to Red); Shasta (Purple Tier to Red); Trinity (Orange Tier to Red); Yolo (Purple Tier to Red).

Northern California. Alameda County has updated their Outdoor Youth & Recreational Adult Sports Guidance.

Butte County issued a 3/3/21 Press Release re: Testing Site on Chico Campus. The County also issued a 3/3/21 Press Release re: Pilot MyTurn Program With Limited Appointments.

Calaveras County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Site for Those 65+.

Contra Costa County issued a new 2/25/21 Mass Quarantine Order.

El Dorado County has been moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. El Dorado County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier.

Lake County issued a 3/1/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Updates.

Marin County has been moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier.

Mendocino County issued a 2/27/21 Press Release re: Logging Industry Included in Current Vaccine Tiers. The County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Opening Up Vaccine Eligibility.

Mono County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Availability for Phase 1A, 1B and Residents with underlying medical conditions. Mammoth Lake issued a new Short-Term Lodging Order.

Napa County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. Napa County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier.

Sacramento County issued an updated Health Order. The new Order addresses the allowance for schools to reopen and youth and adult sports activities.

San Francisco County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. The County issued a 2/24/21 Press Release re: Move to Phase 1B Vaccination and expands to educators, child care, emergency services, food and agricultural workers. San Francisco issued 3/3/21 Guidance re: Red Tier Reopenings.

San Joaquin County issued a 3/1/21 Release re: Implementing Youth Sports Guidance.

San Mateo County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. The County issued a 2/22/21 Press Release re: Prioritizing 65+ Residents for Vaccines. The County issued a 2/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier. The County issued a 3/4/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Clinic to Serve East Palo Alto.

Santa Clara County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. The County issued a 2/26/21 Press Release re: Supreme Court Order Allowing Indoor Worship Services at 20% Capacity. The County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier.

Santa Cruz County issued a 2/22/21 Press Release re: Expansion of Vaccinations.

Shasta County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. The County issued a 2/23/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier.
 
Stanislaus County issued a 3/2/21 Press Release re: Encouraging Member to Get Tested. The County issued a 3/3/21 Press Release re: Phase 1B Vaccination Now Open.

Sutter and Yuba County issued a 3/1/21 Press Release re: Frontline Workers 18+ in Education/Childcare, Food/Agriculture, and Emergency Services Qualified for Vaccine.

Tehama County issued a 3/4/21 Press Release re: Travel Advisory.

Tulare County issued a 2/24/21 Press Release re: Ramping Up Vaccination Efforts. The County issued a 3/4/21 Press Release re: County Using MyTurn Platform for Vaccine Appointments.

Yolo County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier. The County issued a 2/22/21 Press Release re: Move to Red Tier.


Southern California. Los Angeles County updated What's Open in Los Angeles County and its residential pool guidelines that outdoor pools may be open for routine use provided that pool users maintain six foot distance from non-household members and pool users wear a face covering at all time when not in the water. Updated tennis and pickleball court guidelines. Organized competitions between two teams may resume. Group lessons may resume, limited to size of six and must maintain six-foot distance at all times. Employees must wear a face mask at all times except when in a closed office or when eating or drinking.

Riverside County issued Press Release regarding moderate and high contact youth and adult sports can resume in Riverside County. Also issued Health Officer Order that the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival scheduled for May 2021 is cancelled.

City of Palms Springs rescinded its order closing restaurant, bars, wineries and breweries at 12:00 a.m. and now may be open to 2:00 a.m.

San Bernardino County issued Press Release regarding all teachers in county are eligible for vaccination. Further, a Press Release was subsequently issued that food and agricultural workers are eligible for vaccination. Also issued a Press Release that high-contact and moderate contact sports can resume in the county under certain conditions.

San Diego County Press release. Starting March 2, 2021 San Diego County residents can apply for additional rental and utility assistance grants due to loss of income from Covid-19. The county has allocated $100 million for the Covid-19 assistance grants.

San Luis Obispo County Issued Press Release regarding modified youth and recreational sports can start in SLO County. Also issued Press Release that SLO County returned to Red Tier status as of March 3, 2021.

Santa Barbara County extended its Face Covering Order to March 21, 2021

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 3-5-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

Balcony Dry Rot Repairs

Feb 14, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

Questions continue to come in about balcony inspections. To understand the importance of inspections, we start with a small science lesson. -Adrian

QUESTION: You keep referring to dry rot. What is it? Why do we have to inspect the waterproofing if it doesn't stop wood from rotting when it's dry?

ANSWER: The term "dry rot" is a misnomer. Wood does not rot when it's dry. For decay to occur, moisture must be present before fungi can feed on the wood.

Nature's Life-Cycle. There are 144,000 species of fungi, which includes yeasts, mildews, molds, and mushrooms. They are essential in the making of bread, wine, beer, and cheese. They also have medicinal uses, such as in the making of penicillin. They are part of nature's life-cycle and have an important role in breaking down organic matter and returning oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus into the soil and the atmosphere.

In the Air. Like viruses and bacteria, fungal spores are microscopic and travel through the air. The spores act as seeds which grow when they land on moist wood products. When they plant themselves, they feed on the wood's cellulose. Cellulose is what gives wood its strength. As the fungi consume cellulose, the wood weakens. In nature, that's a good thing. In balconies and other elevated structures, it's not.

Waterproofing. Without moisture, fungi can't grow. Thus, the importance of keeping all waterproofing systems well-maintained. That is why the Davis-Stirling Act requires a thorough inspection of waterproofing components such as flashings, membranes, coatings, and sealants. (Civ. Code 5551(a)(1).)

Repairs. Fungi (like termites) spread throughout a structure as they feed on wood. As a result, dry rot can be difficult to treat. To stop the destruction, all decayed wood and fungi must be removed. The longer it goes untreated, the weaker the wood becomes until it collapses without warning.

RECOMMENDATION: Conducting inspections sooner rather than later will save money. If dry rot is caught early, it can be eradicated before it spreads too deeply into a structure. The first inspection must be completed by January 1, 2025. (Civ. Code 5551(i).) Waiting until December 2024 to inspect elevated structures allows any existing infestation to spread. The further it spreads, the more costly the repairs. See our January 31 Newsletter for a list of Inspection Companies.


QUESTION: Last week's newsletter said that balconies over garages still need their railings inspected. I didn't think an inspection was required if the balcony did not extend out from the building. -Matthew S.

ANSWER: I should have been more complete in my response. When a balcony or walkway does not extend from the building because it is fully supported by an underlying structure such as a garage, it does not need invasive 9-year cycle of inspections.

Reserve Study Inspections. However, the railings and waterproofing elements still need to be inspected every three years by the association's reserve study provider (assuming the governing documents assign repair and replacement responsibilities to the association, which most do).

RECOMMENDATION: If boards have not already done so, they should have legal counsel review their governing documents and provide a legal opinion clearly defining maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities when it comes to exclusive use railings and waterproofing systems on elevated structures.


QUESTION: What if the balcony is attached to a townhouse? Isn't that the responsibility of the homeowner? Does the association still need to conduct inspections?

RESPONSE: The answer depends on the legal structure of your development. A townhouse is a form of construction, not a form of ownership. A townhouse can be defined as a condominium or a separate interest in a planned development.

Condominiums. If the townhouse is a condominium, responsibility for  balconies will depend on how a condominium unit is defined. If the unit's boundaries are the unfinished surfaces of the interior walls, ceilings and floors, the townhouse structure is owned in common by the membership. That makes the association responsible for repair and replacement of the structure (unless the CC&Rs clearly state otherwise). (Civ. Code §4775.)

If a unit's boundaries are defined as extending to the exterior surfaces of the townhouse, the structure becomes part of the unit and is owned by the homeowner. It's rare but I've seen units defined as such in some CC&Rs. If this is the case, the balcony is the responsibility the unit owner (unless the CC&Rs state otherwise).

Planned Developments. If townhouses are a planned development, homeowners own the structure and the lot upon which it was built. That means homeowners are responsible for their own balconies. The balcony bill does not apply to planned developments. "At least once every nine years, the board of an association of a condominium project shall...[inspect] exterior elevated elements for which the association has maintenance or repair responsibility." (Civ. Code §5551(b)(1).)

RECOMMENDATION. Developer documents are sometimes as clear as mud. This is where boards need legal counsel to prepare an opinion. Boards should not guess when it comes to maintenance and repair obligations. They don't want to find out after a lawsuit is filed that they guessed wrong.


QUESTION: If a board wanted to change balcony responsibilities from the association to the owner in light of the balcony bill, would you agree that the board (as part of their fiduciary duties) have a duty to disclose to members the inspection requirements of Civil Code §5551?

ANSWER: Boards can't change balcony repair responsibilities. They would need to submit an amendment to the membership for approval. If members agree to take on maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities for their balconies, they are not mandated by the statute to inspect their own balconies (although they should). The statute applies to condominium associations, not individual members.

COMMENT About Borescopes. The balcony statute allows the use of borescopes to inspect elevated structures. I've received mixed feedback about their effectiveness. Their advantage is that only small holes are drilled into the stucco, which are easily patched.

The Downside. It is sometimes difficult for the scope to see signs of water infiltration and deterioration of the framing. The better approach is to open the underside of balconies so an inspector can easily see the structural elements.

Both Methods. Some inspectors use both inspection methods depending on the particular project and the condition of the structures.

WARNING ABOUT CONTRACTS. Following are two provisions from balcony inspection/repair contracts I recently reviewed. They create significant legal exposure for an association if a board were to sign agreements containing them. These kinds of heavy-handed one-sided provisions are the sort that should immediately be stricken from a contract:

Disparagement. Should any resident write or make any statement considered defamatory, derogatory, or disparaging about Contractor or the work performed under this Agreement through any means or format such as Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedln, blogs, texts, e-mail or other electronic means, or by posting negative reviews on public forums such as Yelp, the Association shall be liable to Contractor for liquidated damages in the amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) for each violation of this provision.

Indemnify and Hold Harmless. The Association shall hold harmless, indemnify and defend Contractor from any and all claims, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death and property damage brought by any person arising out of or related to any work performed by Contractor under this Agreement. Moreover, the Association, at Association's expense, shall employ legal counsel satisfactory to Contractor to defend the Contractor.

RECOMMENDATION: If a vendor bids on a project and submits a contract containing these kinds of provisions, boards should steer clear of the company. Before directors sign ANY CONTRACTS, make sure legal counsel reviews them.

FIDUCIARY DUTIES
OF HOA BOARDS OF DIRECTORS


The fourth in our series of  2-Minute Videos describes the fiduciary duties of board members.

As soon as homeowners are elected to their association's  board of directors, their actions and decisions are held to a higher standard.

Directors need to know what those standards are so they don't expose themselves to liability.

  Watch Fiduciary Duties of HOA Boards.

Those who want to research this topic further can find a detailed explanation of fiduciary duties on our website. Our next video will cover Executive Session Meetings.


Federal Update. The CDC updated its large gatherings guidelines including how to have a safer Mardi Gras. It updated its guidance for ventilation in buildings and its guidance to reduce risk of Covid-19 spreading between people and wildlife. The CDC also issued various updates on masks including: Improve how your mask protects you; Types of Masks; and Improve Fit and Filtration.

Statewide Update. The following Counties have changed Tiers: Del Norte (Purple Tier to Red).

The State updated the Places of Worship and Cultural Ceremonies Capacity Guidance. It launched safe schools map for the state of California which shows the status of school reopenings across the state. The January 5, 2021 hospital surge order has been revoked due to declining cases and hospitalizations.

Northern California. Alameda County issued a 2/10/21 Press Release re: First Cases of South African Variant in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties.

Butte County issued a 2/8/21 Press Release re: Availability of Testing Appointments.

Marin County issued a 2/8/21 Press Release re: Minimal Spread in Schools Since Reopening. The County also issued 2/11/21 Press Release re: Vaccinations Beginning for Those 65 and Older.

Mendocino County issued a new Health Order regarding the allocation, administration and reporting of COVID-19 Vaccines.

Mono County issued a 2/8/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Progress and Challenges Ahead.

Monterey County issued a 2/9/21 Press Release re: Plan to Expand Vaccination Eligibility for Local Residents.

Nevada County issued a 2/10/21 Press Release re: MyTurn Vaccine Limited Appointments.

Sacramento County issued a new Health Order to reflect the places of worship changes as well as school information.

San Francisco County issued a 2/9/21 Press Release re: Plan to Expand Vaccine Eligibility to Workers in Education and Childcare, Emergency Services and Food Sectors

Mateo County issued a 2/11/21 Press Release re: Expanding Vaccinations to Eligible Essential Workers.

Santa Clara County issued a 2/10/21 Press Release re: First Two Cases of South African Variant Identified in Santa Clara and Alameda Counties. The County issued a 2/11/21 Press Release re: Indoor Worship Services indicating that the US District Court for the Northern District of California suspended its prior order that the County allow indoor worship services for the time being. The County issued a 2/11/21 Press Release re: Community Based Drop-In Vaccination Clinics to Expand Efforts in Areas Hit Hardest.

Santa Cruz County issued a 2/8/21 Press Release re: Watsonville Mass Vaccination Site.

Sonoma County issued a 2/10/21 Press Release re: State Guidance Allowing TK-6 Schools to Open for In-Person Learning with Safety Plan. The County issued a 2/10/21 Press Release re: County Keeping Pace with Other Counties in Vaccine Rollout. The County issued a 2/11/21 Press Release re: Supervisors Adopt Ordinances Strengthening Protections Regarding Evictions and Sick Leave.  

Tehama County issued a 2/9/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Updates.

Southern California. Los Angeles County issued a revision to its health order to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding places of worship allowing indoor worship up to 25% of indoor capacity.

All restaurants, breweries and wineries are to verbally inform customers prior to seating that everyone sharing a table must be from the same household. Updated guidelines for day camps and day care for school-aged children and updated cohort size of up to 14 children and up to 2 supervising staff.

Clarified in office worksites and gyms and fitness centers that all employees must wear masks, except when in an office with door closed, or while eating and drinking during break time.

Short term rentals can now accept out of state reservations for non-essential travel.

Imperial County issued a health order to align with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al. v. Newsom et al. and the state’s guidelines for places of worship and providers of religious services and cultural ceremonies.

San Diego County updated the health order to comply with the  U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding places of worship allowing indoor worship up to 25% of indoor capacity.

San Bernardino County issued a press release that it is complying with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding places of worship allowing indoor worship up to 25% of indoor capacity. It also issued a press release that the county expanded its staff and hours for the Covid Hotline to residents seeking vaccination appointments. Further, improvements to the county’s vaccination appointment page and that vaccinated persons will still need to wear masks to protect families, friends and others who have not been vaccinated.

Santa Barbara updated the health order to comply with the  U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding places of worship allowing indoor worship up to 25% of indoor capacity. Also allows for wedding ceremonies to occur indoors up to 25% capacity. Wedding receptions are still prohibited.

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 2-12-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

More on Balcony Inspections

Feb 7, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: If our HOA has been diligent in the upkeep of our balconies and has proof of ongoing maintenance, must we pay for the invasive inspection? -Carolyn

ANSWER: Yes, you still need to perform the inspection. It's required by law. Even though you have done a good job maintaining your balconies, you could have an undetected source of moisture causing dryrot in the wood elements of your structures, not to mention termites. If the inspection reveals your balconies are all in good shape, you don't need to perform another invasive inspection for nine years. (Civ. Code §5551(b)(1).) All you need is a reasonably competent and diligent visual inspection of your elevated structures every three years by your reserve study provider. (Civ. Code §5550(a))


Dining. Our HOA is a housing development. Would this law be applicable to our country club which offers outdoor dining on a balcony? –Tomas H.

ANSWER: The statute does not apply to your clubhouse. It only applies to buildings containing three or more multifamily dwelling units. (Civ. Code §5551(i).)

However, if I were on your board, I would have the balcony inspected. It is subject to the same risks of deterioration and collapse as condominium balconies and may be at greater risk because of the heavy traffic it receives.

If it collapses and people are injured, you know you're going to be sued. It's best to avoid injuries and litigation by performing an invasive test followed by a written report. If the report gives you a clean bill of health, you have a defense against allegations of negligence in the event something happens.


Colonoscopy. "Colonoscopy." Was this word a typo? –Maureen C.

RESPONSE. Smile. No, it's not a typo. That's the word I meant to use.


Small Balconies. I have been a community manager for 40 years and never had a balcony at risk. Most the the examples you gave in your newsletter involved lots of people and a lot of weight. Realistically it’s hard for a balcony made for 2 to 4 people to not show indication of failure prior to failure There should be a different category and less restrictive guidelines for small balconies. –Jim A.

ANSWER: You've been lucky not to experience  problems. I've can think of half a dozen associations we've worked with that suffered significant problems with elevated structures. I am sure there are many readers whose associations suffered costly problems with balconies.

The statute makes no distinction between large balconies and small ones. None of the balcony collapses I cited showed any indication of failure before they suddenly gave way. Even small balconies can be overloaded. For example, if there is a 4th of July fireworks display and 8 people crowd onto a balcony designed for 2 to watch the fireworks, they could experience more than they expected. The collapse in Berkeley involved a small balcony where 13 students crowded onto it during a birthday party. Six died and 7 were badly injured.

San Francisco Balconies. San Francisco has had MANY balcony collapses over the years. –Steve

RESPONSE: That's not all they've suffered from over the years.


Concrete Balconies. Every time this topic is raised, it must be emphasized that the inspection requirement is about balconies and elevated structures that are all or partially wood. Our two brand new directors almost resigned from shock after reading your newsletter. Our 300+ balconies are concrete and steel. –Carol R.

ANSWER: Even though the statute does not apply to your balconies, make sure you include waterproofing and railings in your reserve study.

Concrete is porous and any water migrating into the structure can cause the reinforcing steel to rust. This causes the metal to expand, which cracks the concrete and leads to spalling (concrete breaking off in fragments).

The picture on the right shows the ceiling in an association's parking structure. Regular maintenance of the waterproofing can avoid expensive concrete repairs down the road.


Visual Inspection. Surely a visual inspection could help identify those balconies that need a colonoscopy? –Paul Y.

ANSWER: Unless the structural elements are already exposed, a visual inspection of a balcony's exterior cannot tell an inspector what's happening inside the balcony any more than a doctor inspecting a patient's outside can see what's happening inside. That's what scopes MRIs, CAT scans, x-rays, and surgeries are for. They allow doctors to inspect the insides of a body.

The statute requires an architect or structural engineer to perform a sufficient number of tests to provide 95 percent confidence that the results from the sample are reflective of the whole, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent. (Civ. Code §5551(a)(4).)

Inspectors are allowed to use the least intrusive method necessary to examine load-bearing components, including visual observation in conjunction with moisture meters, borescopes, and infrared technology. (Civ. Code §5551(a)(5).) The statute also requires inspection of associated waterproofing systems, which includes flashings, membranes, coatings, and sealants that protect the load-bearing components from exposure to water. (Civ. Code §5551(a)(1).)


Balconies on Garages. The balconies in our condominium project are all directly above a garage. Are inspections required for balconies that do not extend out into space? –Linda L.

ANSWER: No, the balconies don't need invasive inspections, but their railings will need inspection if they are anchored to wood or wood products.


Excessive Watering. What if the owner causes damage? A neighbor waters his plants by flooding the entire balcony, siding and walkway below. He has done this on a weekly basis for years. Boards have sent him letters asking to stop. The excessive watering is eventually going to create dryrot in the wood making the balcony unsafe. Who is responsible for replacing the wood in a situation like this? -Sandy

ANSWER: Even though the owner is causing damage to the structure, the association will be responsible for repairing it. (Civ. Code §4775.) Fortunately, the board can impose a reimbursement special assessment on the owner to pay for the damage.
Your board will need to inspect the structural elements of his balcony sooner rather than later. To get him to stop his excessive watering, it may be time for hearings and fines, followed by a lawyer letter, followed by a demand for ADR, then a lawsuit if he does not modify his behavior.

Not Cantilevered. If balconies are not cantilevered but rather are supported on three sides, do they still require inspection? –Tom M.

ANSWER: If they are supported by wood posts, they need to be inspected. We represented an association where all exterior stairwells, walkways and balconies were supported by wood posts. It created a nice rustic atmosphere. Unfortunately, they all suffered wood rot and a costly renovation project was required.


Landings. We have landings in our complex. Do they fall into this inspection category? Our landings have railings on either end, but run continuous across the second level at the top of concrete stairs. -Susan A.

ANSWER: If the landings and walkways are more than six feet above the ground and supported by wood or wood products (Civ. Code §5551(a)(3)) then, yes, the landings and railings need to be inspected.

ORIGIN OF THE
DAVIS-STIRLING ACT


Our third video looks at the earliest common interest developments in California. Many will be surprised to learn that some are over 100 years old.

This video reveals what triggered the explosion of condominium construction and the origin of the laws that govern homeowner associations in California. I think you will enjoy it.

  Watch Origins of the Davis-Stirling Act.


Next in our series will be "Fiduciary Duties of Boards of Directors."


Federal Update. The CDC updated its small gathering guidelines to address safer ways to enjoy the Super Bowl.

Statewide Update. Homeowners who are seniors, are blind or have a disability and have 40 percent equity in their home and have an annual income of $45,000 or less may qualify for property tax postponement. Last day to file for the postponement is February 10, 2021. 

The CDPH issued a 2/5/21 Order Revoking the Hospital Surge Order. The Legislature extended the eviction moratorium. The following Counties have changed Tiers: Alpine (Red Tier to Orange);Trinity (Red Tier to Orange).

Northern California. Alameda County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Mega Vaccination Site in Oakland which will expand eligibility of vaccines to essential workers, seniors (65+) and high-risk individuals in phase 1B.

Contra Costa County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Supply Shortages leading health officials to urge prioritization of those 65+. The County issued new School Guidance.

Lake County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Limited Vaccination Scheduling for Those 65+.

Mendocino County issued a 1/30/21 Press Release re: Revised School Order. The County issued a 1/30/21 Revised School Order and 1/31/21 School Reopening Guidance.

Mono County issued a 1/31/21 Press Release re: County Alignment with Purple Tier Lodging Guidance. The County issued a 2/4/21 Press Release re: Vaccinating Phase 1B Tier 1 and Those 55+ With Underlying Medical Conditions.  Mammoth Lakes issued 1/31/21 Short-Term Rental Lodging Order for Purple Tier.

Monterey County issued a 2/5/21 Press Release re: Mass Vaccination Sites.

Napa County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Shortage and Prioritizing Those Healthcare Workers and Those 75+.

Placer County issued a 2/5/21 COVID-19 Update.

San Francisco issued a 2/4/21 Press Release re: High-Volume Vaccine Site.

San Joaquin County issued a 2/4/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Interest Form.

San Mateo County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Shortages and Prioritizing Those 75+ for Vaccines.

Santa Clara County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Priority Vaccination for Those 65+. The County issued a 2/4/21 Press Release re: Providing Vaccine to Those 65+ Regardless of County of Care. The County issued a new Vaccine Dashboard. The County issued a 2/5/21 Press Release re: Largest Vaccination Site at Levi Stadium.

Santa Cruz County issued a 2/3/21 Press Release re: Prioritization of Those 75+ Due to Vaccine Shortage.

Shasta County issued a 2/5/21 Press Release re: Teacher Vaccinations Beginning Next Week.

Sonoma County issued a new Health Order dated 1/31/21. The County issued a 2/5/21 Press Release re: Vaccination of Those 70+ Beginning Monday

Tehama County issued a 2/2/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Updates.


Southern California. Los Angeles County is prohibiting the Super Bowl on televisions at restaurants, breweries and wineries. They updated definition of household for Campgrounds and RV parks, to exclude institutional group living such as dormitories, fraternities, sororities, monasteries, convents, or residential care facilities. Also excludes commercial living arrangements such as boarding houses, hotels or motels.

Riverside County reminds residents to avoid gatherings during Super Bowl Sunday.

San Luis Obispo County urges residents to celebrate safely for Super Bowl Sunday.

San Bernardino County urges residents to use caution for Super Bowl Sunday and avoid behaviors that could lead to another spike in Covid-19 infections.

Ventura County is recommending restaurants, bars, distilleries, breweries and wineries to keep their television sets off in customer areas on Super Bowl Sunday to prevent large gatherings.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 2-5-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

Balcony Inspection Feedback

Jan 31, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

Is the Risk Real? Your newsletter about balcony inspections was a little scary. Is the risk of a balcony collapse real? Has anyone in California been injured from a balcony collapse? -David J.

ANSWER: Balcony and walkway collapses are real. Following are some examples:

In 1981, two walkways at a Hyatt Hotel in Kansas City collapsed, one onto the other, killing 114 and injuring 216.

In 1992, a balcony in Malibu packed with partiers collapsed, pitching everyone 25 feet onto rocky surf below killing 2 and injuring 29. The 35 paramedics who responded were hampered by slippery rocks and crashing waves as they rescued seriously injured victims.

In 2003, wood rot led to a balcony collapse in Chicago killing 13 partiers and injuring 57. Subsequent inspections of similar structures in Chicago found 1,260 needing repairs.

In 2005, an association we represented discovered every one of its balconies had to be renovated when an owner stepped onto her balcony and went through the flooring. The structural elements suffered serious dryrot because the developer had installed ceramic tile on the decks which allowed water to seep through the grout and migrate into the wood underneath. The emergency special assessment that followed was well over one million dollars.

In 2010, another association our firm represented noticed balcony railings were loose. Investigation showed that the structural elements were suffering dryrot. Every balcony had to be stripped and rebuilt. There was nothing in their reserves to cover the expense and a large special assessment was levied.

In 2015, a third-story balcony in Berkeley collapsed pitching students 30 feet to the pavement below, killing 6 and injuring 7. Subsequent inspections found that more than 400 balconies and decks in Berkeley needed corrective work.

In 2019, 22 people were injured in Wildwood, New Jersey, when three levels of decking in a condominium association collapsed pancake style onto one another. People on the middle and lower decks suffered serious broken bone injuries. Inspections were ordered for all balconies and decks on the island.

In 2019, a Virginia Tech Professor studied balcony collapses and noted 239 major collapses in a fifteen-year period from 2001 to 2016 leading to 4,600 emergency room visits.

Invasive Inspection. An imminent balcony failure cannot be detected by an external visual inspection. That's why it must be invasive. There are two methods of conducting the inspection. The first is to cut open the underside of a balcony exposing the structure and installing inspection vents. The vents allow for future inspections.

Another method is to drill a hole into the underside and insert the flexible tube of a borescope that allows the inspector to see the structural elements. In the medical field, a variation of the scope is used to perform colonoscopies and endoscopies.

RECOMMENDATION: To be indelicate, all condominium associations in California with 3 or more units are required to have a colonoscopy. If an association fails or refuses to comply with the statute's requirements, it will be a breach of the board's duty of care and deemed negligent as a matter of law. (See Negligence Per Se.) Then, it's only a matter of establishing the amount of damages the association will be ordered to pay. The special assessment that follows will be significantly more than the cost of complying with the law.

Boards should start scheduling inspections. Reserves can be used to pay for the inspections without it being a borrowing. (Be sure to inform your reserve analyst.) Following is a list of inspection companies readers sent to us. For easy reference, they are also included on our website under Elevated Structure Inspections. If readers know of other companies, I will include their contact information on our website.

A7 Group, Inc.
700 2nd Street Unit H
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 945-3700
Adam Rohrbaugh
www.a7architect.com
CL Sigler & Association
523 Charcot Ave. #203, San Jose 95131 (408) 922-0262 and 74820 Borro Dr., Palm Desert 92260 (760) 469-3048
www.siglercm.com
A.D. Magellan
701 Palomar Airport Rd. Suite 300, Carlsbad, CA 92011
Becky Larson
[email protected]
www.admagellan.com
Design Build Associates
5655 Lindero Canyon Road, Suite 321, Westlake Village, CA 91362
(818) 889-0402
Dennis Brooks
[email protected]
www.dbuild.com
AWS Consultants
2030 E 4th St #208D
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 835-2301
Carl Brown
[email protected]
www.awsconsultants.com
Focused Inspection Group
1999 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 700, Campbell 95008 and 333 City Blvd. West, Suite 1700, Orange 92868
Alex Riley
[email protected]
www.focusedinspections.com
Axis Consultants
2544 Barrington Court
Hayward, CA 94545
(833) 799-0333
MaryAnne Siena
[email protected]
www.axisconsultants.com
Southern Cross Consultants
4045 Hancock St., Suite 240
San Diego 92110
(858) 395-8657
Matthew Boomhower, AIA
[email protected]
www.SouthernCrossPC.com
Bergeman Group
(833) 558-0888
Robert Grosse
[email protected]
www.bergemangroup.com
Van Sande Consultants
2920 De la Vina St.
Santa Barbara 93105
805-963-6901
Carolle Van Sande, CSM
[email protected]
www.vansandestructural.com

Planned Developments. Our PUD complex has elevated balconies but maintenance is the responsibility of owners not the HOA. Is the HOA still required to arrange for and pay for safety inspections? Are owners required to get inspections? -K.S.

ANSWER: If owners need an inspection, they should contact their doctor. If their balcony needs an inspection, they should see the list above. To be clear, the statute does NOT apply to planned developments, only to condominium associations with 3 or more units. Those with townhouse construction should have legal counsel review their documents since allocation of responsibilities does not always follow ownership.

Insurance. Does HOA insurance cover the cost of balcony inspections and repairs? –Anonymous

ANSWER: No, it does not. That's why it's important for associations to inspect their balconies now so they can coordinate with their reserve study provider to start reserving for future repairs.


Federal Updates. CDC updated guidance on at-home testing. Also updated guidance on what to expect at your vaccine appointment.

Statewide Updates. Governor Newsom signed an executive order on 1/27 to confer immunity to healthcare providers administering the vaccine to increase the number of healthcare professionals available to vaccinate the public. Due to increased ICU availability projections, Public Health Officials Lift Regional Stay at Home Order for All Regions. The Governor announced Actions to Simplify, Standardize and Address Vaccine Supply Needs in order to improve statewide vaccinations.

Northern California. Alameda County issued a new Order effective 1/25/20 aligning with the state’s blueprint. They have removed their facial covering order and aligned with the CDPH guidance on this issue. They have also aligned with the CDPH re: public gatherings. The County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re Lifting of Regional Stay at Home Order. The County issued a 1/28/21 Press Release re: Aligning with State Guidance for School Reopening.

Butte County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Beginning Vaccine Notification for Those 75+. The County issued a subsequent 1/28/21 Press Release re: Online Vaccine Appointment Scheduling for Those 75+.

Contra Costa County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting of Regional Stay at Home Order. Changes include outdoor dining, hair salons etc. may open, and outdoor gatherings of 25 people or fewer from 3 or fewer different households now permitted. The County has gone back to it’s social gathering and Social Distancing Order. The County issued a 1/26/21 Ethical Framework for Vaccine Allocation. They also issued an updated “Openings at a Glance”.

Lake County issued a 1/22/21 Press Release re: High Vaccine Demand.

Madera County issued a 1/26/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Clinic Reopening.

Marin County issued a 1/21/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Distribution Focusing on 75+. The County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order Lifted. The County has reverted to its prior Order.

Mendocino County issued a 1/27/21 Press Release re: Scheduling Three Vaccination Events.

Mono County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting of Regional Stay at Home Order.

Monterey County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting Stay at Home Order. Monterey County issued a 1/28/21 Press Release re: Transitioning Vaccines to Those 75+.

Napa County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting of Stay at Home Order.

Sacramento County issued a new Health Order to align with the Purple Tier.

San Francisco County issued a 1/28/21 Press Release re: Reopenings After Lifting of Regional Stay at Home Order. The County issued a new Order to align with the lifting of the Regional Stay at Home Order.

San Joaquin County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order Lifted.

San Mateo County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting of the Regional Stay at Home Order. The County issued a 1/28/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Vaccine and Other Updates.

Santa Clara County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting of Regional Stay at Home Order. The County issued a 1/26/21 Press Release re: Expanding Vaccines to Those 65+. The County issued an Executive Summary of Changes.

Sutter and Yuba County issued a 1/26/21 Joint Press Release re: Prioritizing Vaccines for Those 65+.

Tulare County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release: re Lifting Regional Stay at Home Order.

Tuolumne County issued a 1/25/21 Press Release re: Lifting of the Regional Stay at Home Order.
 
Southern California. Los Angeles County reinstated the health order dated November 25, 2020 with minor modifications to align with the lifting of the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order which is included in the spreadsheet.

San Diego County issued new health order to align with the lifting of the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order and launched an interactive vaccination site map.

City of San Diego issued an executive order capping third-party restaurant delivery fees to 18%. Also allows for creation of curbside pickup parking spaces for restaurants.

San Luis Obispo County exits the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order and returns to purple tier.

An emergency order which temporarily suspends development standards for non-residential uses to assist businesses to comply with social distancing and other requirements, including suspending: minimum setback; maximum height of temporary structures, and onsite parking requirements.

San Bernardino County returned to purple tier. In person gatherings are limited to three households.

Santa Barbara issued a new health order to align with the lifting of the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order which is included in the spreadsheet. Private gatherings are limited to three households. Face coverings order for wearing of face coverings outside extended to February 20, 2021.

Ventura County returned to purple tier after State lifted Regional Stay at Home Order.

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 1-29-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

Failure To Comply With Balcony Inspections

Jan 24, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: What penalties can be imposed if we don’t comply with the new balcony inspection requirements and repairs?

ANSWER: Civil Code §5551 does not impose penalties for noncompliance. However, the association and its board would likely be sued if they ignore the statute and a balcony collapses and someone is injured or killed. In addition to significant monetary damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, criminal penalties could be imposed.

Criminal Negligence.
A district attorney could prosecute an action for criminal negligence. Criminal negligence is defined as conduct where a person ignores a known or obvious risk to the life and safety of others. It involves a gross deviation from a reasonable standard of care that causes grievous bodily harm.

Ford Pinto. In 1971, the Ford Motor Company knew it had a problem with the gas tanks in their new Pinto vehicles. Ford crash-tested the car more than forty times before it went on the market and the fuel tank ruptured every time at speeds over 25 miles per hour. Ford could have fixed the problem but it would have added $11 to the cost of the vehicle and slowed production. Ford chose to do nothing.

Lawsuits. When people bought Pintos and predictably suffered rear-end collisions that resulted in exploding gas tanks that maimed and killed passengers, Ford was sued. The first lawsuit resulted in an award of $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages. Another 75 lawsuits followed. In addition, Ford became the first American corporation to be criminally prosecuted for reckless homicide.


Cost of Inspections. Directors cannot credibly claim their association does not have enough money to inspect and repair their balconies. Boards can use reserves, raise dues, impose a 5% special assessment without a vote of the membership, impose an emergency special assessment, and borrow money from a bank. If a board fails or refuses to comply with the law and someone is injured or killed when a balcony collapses, compensatory and punitive damages imposed by a jury could be significant. Punitive damages would not be covered by insurance. In a worst case scenario, directors could find themselves personally liable for damages, not to mention jail time.

RECOMMENDATION. Condominium associations with three or more units are required by law to inspect elevated load-bearing structures supported substantially by wood. The inspections must be conducted by a licensed structural engineer or architect who must submit a report to the board describing the physical condition and remaining useful life of the structures and their associated waterproofing systems. Associations must complete their first inspection before January 1, 2025. We provided a list of inspectors in our December 8, 2020 Newsletter. Boards should contact their reserve analysts for additional recommendations.
For more information, see Elevated Structure Inspections.

The Foundation for Community Association Research, which our firm supports, retained Zogby Analytics to conduct a nationwide survey of homeowners who live in community associations. Zogby found that:

89% of residents rate their overall community association experience as very good or good (70%) or neutral (19%).
89% say members of their elected governing board “absolutely” or “for the most part” serve the best interests of their communities.
74% say their community managers provide value and support to residents and their associations.
94% say their association’s rules protect and enhance property values (71%) or have a neutral effect (23%); only 4% say the rules harm property values.

For more information, see the Foundation's 2020 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey.


2-Minute Videos. Well done again. Thanks. These are very informative and clear! –Steve A.

RESPONSE: If anyone missed our first two videos, links can be found in our sidebar under "2-Minute Video Library." We will release two more next month.

Rentals Impact Loans. Love love love your newsletter. My association is doing major (much needed) upgrades to the facilities. Does the percentage of rentals affect an Associations’ ability to get a commercial loan? -Peggy H.

RESPONSE: Yes, too many renters can affect an association's ability to get a loan. Lenders have long recognized that the greater the percentage of rentals in a community, the greater the risk of default if they loan money to an association. That's why AB 3182 is so harmful. It made unenforceable most of the rent restrictions imposed by associations. Our Legislators and Governor are negligent when it comes to laws affecting community associations. Converting owner occupied units into investor owned rentals does not increase the state's housing. Instead, it destabilizes neighborhoods. Boards should have legal counsel review their rent restrictions and put in permissible restrictions to protect their communities.

Boards of Directors. Does the new California law that corporations must have at least one board member who is a racial or sexual minority apply to HOA boards? –Kristi H.

RESPONSE: Last year, Governor Newsom signed legislation establishing quotas for corporate boards.
By the end of 2021, corporations now must have at least one person on their board who identifies as African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Native Alaskan, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Corporations that don’t comply face fines of $100,000 for first violations and $300,000 for repeated violations. Currently, the law only applies to publicly traded corporations headquartered in California, not HOA boards of directors.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find the search line in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Statewide Updates. The following counties changed Tiers: Trinity County (Purple Tier to Red). The CDPH issued a 1/15/21 Amended Hospital Surge Order.

Northern California. Alameda County issued a 1/14/21 Press Release re: Who Can Get Vaccinated.
Calaveras County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re: Updates and Vaccination.
Contra Costa launched a Vaccine Dashboard.
Fresno County issued a 1/14/21 Vaccine Schedule.
Lake County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re: Lake County Surge.
Madera County issued a 1/20/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Clinic Cancellations Due to Vaccine Shortage. The County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re: Next Phase of Vaccination.
Mendocino County issued a 1/18/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Event For Second Pfizer Vaccine. The County issued a 1/18/21 Press Release re: Moderna Vaccine.
Monterey County issued a 1/14/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Portal. The County issued a 1/18/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant in Monterey County. The County issued a 1/19/21 Press Release re: Food Facility Compliance Form.
Napa County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Administration.
Sacramento County issued a 1/14/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Status.
San Francisco County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Sites.
San Joaquin County issued a 1/19/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Administration. The County has a Vaccine Dashboard.
San Mateo County issued a 1/14/21 Press Release re: Vaccination. The County issued a 1/21/21 Press Release re: Being Alert for COVID-19 Vaccine Scams.
Santa Clara County issued a 1/15/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Efforts. The County issued a 1/17/21 Press Release re: COVID-19 Variant. The County issued a 1/21/21 Press Release re: Resuming Moderna Vaccine Administration.
Santa Cruz County issued a 1/20/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Partnership.
Shasta County issued a 1/14/21 Press Release re: Expanded Vaccine Options.
Sonoma County issued a Vaccine Information Site.
Stanislaus County issued a 1/18/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Clinics Reopening.
Sutter and Yuba County issued a 1/14/21 Update re: Vaccination Available to 65+ Age Group.

Southern California. Imperial County opened eligibility for residents 65 and older. Currently pending due to vaccine availability.
Kern County expanded vaccine availability to residents aged 65 years and older.
Los Angeles County vaccine eligibility opens to residents aged 65 years and older.
Orange County expanded vaccines to residents aged 65 years and older.
Riverside County vaccine clinics continue.
San Bernardino County opened eligibility for vaccine to residents 65 and older.
San Diego County expanded vaccination availability to ages 75 and up.
Santa Barbara expanded vaccine availability to residents aged 75 and older.

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 1-21-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association. It's okay, we're friendly.

2-Minute Video Feedback

Jan 17, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

We were swamped with your feedback about our first 2-Minute Video, so much so, we can't possibly print everything. Following is a sampling. -Adrian

Phenomenal! Loved the simplicity. –Lisa E.

Great, keep these coming! Suggest boards use them in meetings! –Patricia H.

Excellent video--such an easy way to take in information--and perhaps disseminate to the community? Thank you for initiating this project. –Sukha C.

RESPONSE: Credit goes to Tim Cline for the concept. It was a collaborative effort between his agency and our firm.

What a great service to community associations!!!  -Marilyn B.

Bravo! –George S.

Loved it. Clear, succinct. The visuals are excellent. –Astrid L.

RESPONSE: Kudos to one of Tim Cline's crew, for the graphics. I write the scripts and Jeremy works his magic. -Adrian

Wonderful snapshot format. One more significant enhancement to your website and the information you provide. Your organization is providing an exceptional service--the go-to website for all things HOA. –Lauri P.

Loved it! I see this as a great resource for managers to share with board members and owners. –Jennifer S.

Your video about reserves during financial hardship is truly excellent and très à propos! As Treasurer, I emailed it to board members as it clarifies what to do and at what stage membership should be informed. Thank you for helping us and looking forward for more videos, it’s such a great idea! –Guy T.

RESPONSE: My French is a little rusty (actually, non-existent), so I had to look up très à propos to see what it meant. It means very opportune, appropriate or important.

This is a great concept and helpful for all board members, especially those newly elected. –Garry D.

Three cheers for getting so much detail into such a short presentation. I will spread news of this series. –Henry C.

YouTube is an excellent vehicle as links to individual videos can be forwarded to non-board members. In this first case, our entire Finance Committee would benefit. Keep 'em coming! -Doug G.

RESPONSE: The Cline Agency is also posting them on Vimeo so they are easily accessible to people seeking information. Today's video is on director conflicts of interest.

DIRECTOR CONFLICTS
OF INTEREST


Our second video addresses board member conflicts of interest and what to do when a conflict exits. There has been an increase in litigation involving breaches of fiduciary duties, mostly because volunteer directors are unclear about what they can and cannot do. This video should help directors avoid litigation.

  Watch Director Conflicts of Interest.


NOTE: We currently have ~40 videos in the pipeline covering basic concepts related to association management and law. The library is free to board members, managers, homeowners and industry professionals. Two more videos will be released in February. 


Love in the Air. LOVE LOVE your newsletters! I find the balance of these educational messages an easy read filled with humor. Thank you, keep up the amazing work to share resources. –Sandra H.

Balcony Bill. A previous newsletter covered balcony inspections. One aspect that wasn't mentioned is that not all balconies need to be inspected. I believe SB 326 only includes balconies that "extent beyond the building's exterior walls and have load-bearing components made of wood or wood-based products." In other words, wood-framed cantilevered balconies. -Lydia S.

RESPONSE: Not just cantilevered balconies but also those with wood post supports. Elevated structures requiring inspection include walkways and stairwells supported by wood products.

Retiring. I am a commercial banker who has been lending to HOAs for many years. My bank is one of the leaders in this industry. I will be retiring soon and was just elected to our board of directors. I was appointed Treasurer. Yes, they always make bankers the Treasurers. Thank you and please do not retire. We enjoy your knowledge and humor. -Robert A.

I may skip other entries in my email, but never yours. –Astrid L.

Thank you so much. I love your newsletters. -Sharon H.

Memories. May this year provide you with memories to last a lifetime. You are appreciated. –Frank S.

RESPONSE: Thank you! Last year provided enough memories to last a lifetime. I'm hoping this year will be a little less memorable.

SB 323. Please, folks, drop a quick email or letter to your state senator and assemblyman each time another bad example of the ills of SB 323 comes up. I have written and called multiple times. I think our elected officials need to know how harmful this legislation is. –Claire B.

RESPONSE: I agree. Legislators need to know that SB 323 is a dumpster fire. The bill made HOA elections long, complicated and expensive. It should be rescinded.

Reserve Borrowing. Hello, When a board decides to borrow reserve funds, reduce reserve transfers, or defer reserve projects, the board needs to provide these details to their reserve provider. Even better, the board should first consult with the reserve provider while exploring these options. -Mike McDermott (Browning Reserves)

RESPONSE: Good point. Too often, boards forget to inform their reserve analyst when they make decisions that impact the association's reserve funds.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find the search line in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Statewide Updates. The greater Sacramento region exited the regional stay home order effective January 12, 2021. The counties in that region will now be controlled under the tier system. 1/12/21 Press Release re: Exit Regional Stay at Home Order.

Northern California. Butte County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re Exiting Regional Stay at Home Order.

Calaveras County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re Vaccine Rollout and Other Updates.

Contra Costa County issued a 1/11/21 Press Release re: Increase Vaccination Efforts.

Fresno County issued 1/8/21 Youth and Recreational Adult Sports Guidance.

Humboldt County moved from Red to Purple Tier.

Lake County issued a 1/8/21 Press Release re: High Risk of Infection in County.

Madera County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re: Availability of Vaccine for Those 75+ and Call for Volunteers To Assist with Vaccine.

Marin County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re: All Tiers of Phase 1A Now Open For Vaccine.

Mendocino County issued a 1/11/21 Press Release re: Ramping Up Vaccine Clinics.

Mono County issued a 1/11/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Prioritization and Distribution. The County issued 1/12/21 Rules for Returning to School After Illness During Pandemic.

Monterey County issued a 1/10/21 Press Release re: Vaccination.

Napa County issued a Vaccination Schedule. The County issued a 1/9/21 Press Release re: Extension of Regional Stay at Home Order.

Nevada County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re: Exiting Stay at Home Order Into Purple Tier.

Sacramento County issued a new Health Order to align with the Purple Tier.

Santa Clara County issued a 1/9/21 Press Release re: Extension of Regional Stay at Home Order. The County also issued a 1/21/21 Press Release re: Misinformation About Availability of Vaccine.

Santa Cruz County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re: County Seeking Rental Assistance For Renters Unable to Pay During Pandemic.

Shasta County issued a 1/11/21 Press Release re: Vaccination Available to New Groups.

Sonoma County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re: Vaccine Outreach Campaign.

Sutter and Yuba County issued 1/9/21 AB685 COVID-19 Workplace Outbreak Reporting Requirements. The County also issued 1/12/21 Vaccine Schedule.

Tehama County issued 1/8/21 Vaccine Schedule Update.

Yolo County issued a 1/12/21 Press Release re: Stay and Home Order Lifted and Return to Purple Tier.


Southern California. Riverside County scheduled several Covid-19 vaccine clinics throughout the region in phase 1A, 1B and a clinic for those 65 and older.

San Bernardino County: The Supreme Court of California rejected San Bernardino’s petition seeking local control of Covid measures rather than be restrained by the state’s regional approach.

San Diego County plans to offer Covid-19 Vaccine to people 65 years and older.

Santa Barbara County's Phase 1A Covid vaccinations available at local pharmacies.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 1-13-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Request a proposal to represent your association.

Animated Two-Minute Videos

Jan 10, 2021 0 Views 0 Comments

The laws and insurance requirements governing homeowner associations are complex and often confusing to the 15 million people living in California's common interest developments.

To make them easier to understand, we are pleased to introduce a series of 2-minute videos on HOA management and law.

We collaborated with Tim Cline, founder of the Cline Agency Insurance Brokers, to create a library of short animated videos on all topics related to community associations. The videos deliver essential principles on a featured subject without getting lost in the details.

Because of the pandemic's ongoing impact on association budgets, our first video is on Borrowing from Reserves to cover operational shortfalls.

For a deeper dive into topics, Davis-Stirling.com provides details and  cross-linking so users can easily move between commentary, statutes, and case law as they research a topic. In addition to the resources we provide, the Cline Agency has a series of in-depth articles on key HOA Insurance issues.

Watch Borrowing from Reserves
and give us feedback. We will release two new animated videos every month throughout 2021.

ALLYSON CALVIRD
JOINS ADAMS|STIRLING


We are pleased to announce that attorney Allyson Calvird joined our team. She is based in the Central Valley and will work out of our Northern California office.

Allyson previously worked as an attorney in the Social Security Administration where she advised administrative law judges and drafted complex legal decisions.

Allyson's experience includes litigating claims and negotiating settlements with insurance companies on behalf of injured workers. She also worked for the Department of Child Support Services and the Human Services Agency where she assisted clients with benefits and court orders.

Allyson earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Sociology from California State University, Stanislaus. She subsequently earned a Juris Doctor, cum laude, in just two years from the California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.

We are pleased to have Allyson on our team. If your association needs legal services, contact us for more information.

COST OF BALCONY INSPECTIONS
AND REPAIRS


QUESTION: The balcony inspection bill, AB 326, is causing a stir. The board claims it makes the HOA responsible to repair balconies. I say it only requires an HOA to enforce repairs to the tenants if required and designated in the governing documents. If I’m wrong I’m afraid assessments will go sky-high in our 506-unit complex. –Tim R.

RESPONSE: You should expect your assessments to go up. The common area structural elements of balconies are the responsibility of the association to repair and replace. That's why it's important for boards to initiate inspections now so they can find out what, if anything, needs repair, how much it will cost, and the timing of repairs. This will allow boards to properly budget for and schedule needed work. For more information, see Elevated Structure Inspections.


Proxyholders. Can one homeowner be the proxyholder for three separate homeowners who are abroad? Due to the pandemic, can this proxyholder submit these ballots along with emailed proxy letter to the inspector, and attend the HOA meeting on Zoom or must the proxyholder physically go to the office where the ballots are being opened, turn them in, and attend the meeting? –Lilly C.

RESPONSE: One homeowner (a "proxyholder") can cast ballots for two, three or more members by proxy. The person can make arrangements to deliver proxies to the inspector of elections in person, by FedEx, fax or email in exchange for ballots. The ballots can then be voted and delivered to the inspector using the double envelopes provided for the election. The person can attend the annual meeting using the video conference platform supplied by the association.


Face Covering Fines. Can the association collect a $300 fine if a person is not wearing a mask in the common area? –S.

RESPONSE: Yes, provided the board adopts and publishes emergency rules regarding face coverings, has a fine policy in place, and follows due process with a noticed hearing and written finding. The fine can then be added to the person's account.


Collecting Fines. We have a member who owes $1,800 in fines. The amount is for fines only, not dues, fees, assessments, repairs, etc. What is the best way for the board to collect this amount from the owner? -Andrew S.

RESPONSE: If everything was done properly per your fine policy, you can file a small claims action to collect up to $5,000 in fines. Once you obtain a judgment, you can use it to garnish the person's wages and levy against his property. For more information, see Collecting Fines.


Old CC&Rs. Our CC&Rs were written in 1974 and are literally 9 pages long. They do NOT state who is responsible for the interior of the homeowner's unit (condo). Does this Civil Code automatically apply to all CC&Rs that are silent about responsibility or does this have to be a legal amendment of the CC&Rs in order to apply? –Jai V.

RESPONSE: The Davis-Stirling Act fills the gaps in your CC&Rs. Unless otherwise provided in your governing documents, your association is responsible for repairing, replacing, and maintaining the common area and owners are responsible for their units. (Civ. Code §4775(a)(1)&(2).)

Exclusive Use Common Area. Older CC&Rs are generally silent when it comes to exclusive use common area. I believe it was attorney Curt Sproul who introduced the concept of exclusive use in 1985 when the Davis-Stirling Act was drafted. In 2017, the Act was amended making owners responsible for maintenance of exclusive use common areas, with the association responsible for repairs and replacements (unless the CC&Rs state otherwise). (Civ. Code §4775(a)(3).)

Amend CC&Rs. When our firm restates CC&Rs, we pay particular attention to defining responsibilities related to exclusive use common areas. Doing so eliminates confusion over duties and minimizes lawsuits when exclusive use elements are damaged or cause damage.

No Internet. Is it okay to hold a Zoom meeting if the association knows that half of its members do not have internet service? –Frank R.

RESPONSE: Yes, the association can hold Zoom meetings. Members do not need the internet to use Zoom. The video conferencing platform has a feature that allows members to join the meeting using their telephone. Those with internet access can take advantage of the video feature and see other participants in the meeting.


Masks Required. Many HOAs post “masks required” signs in the common areas but do not enforce the policy despite the high rate of transmissibility of the virus. I can imagine that one lawsuit asserting this laxness caused one or more infections would shape them up pronto as the cost of a suit would impact all owners. These "no guts” boards should consult their attorneys and scientific professionals before turning a blind eye. -Skip D.

RESPONSE: Exposure to potential litigation (not to mention the virus) is something boards should consider when they adopt emergency rules and then don't enforce them.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find the search line in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Federal & State. The CDC updated guidelines for multifamily housing and improving ventilation in your home. Information related to vaccination can be found here: Vaccination Schedule.

The state issued California's Safe Schools for All Plan.

The state issued CDPH Travel Advisory.

The Northern California region remains the only one not subject to regional stay at home orders.

The State Public Health Officer issued a 1/5/21 Health Order re: Hospital Surges and an Amendment dated 1/6/21.

The following Counties have changed tiers: Humboldt (Purple Tier to Red Tier); Inyo (Red Tier to Purple Tier).


NorCal Counties. Alameda County issued a 1/7/21 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order indicating the expectation that the Regional Stay at Home Order will extended past the three-week minimum.

Butte County issued a 1/4/21 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order indicating that the County still remains under the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Contra Costa County provided Resources for Businesses and Employees Affected by the Economic Impacts of COVID-19.

Fresno County issued Guidance for Responding to COVID-19 Cases in Schools.

Marin County issued a 1/7/21 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order indicating the expectation that the Regional Stay at Home Order will be extended past the three-week minimum.

Mono County issued a 12/29/20 Press Release re: Extension of Regional Stay at Home Order indicating that the Regional Stay at Home Order has been indefinitely extended. The County issued an updated order related to lodging.

Nevada County issued a 12/31/20 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order indicating that the County remains under the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Placer County issued a 1/1/21 Update re: the County.

Sacramento County issued a 12/31/20 Update re: Regional Stay at Home Order indicating that the Regional Stay at Home Order will likely be extended.

San Francisco issued a 12/31/20 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order and Travel Advisory indicating that both will be extended likely.

San Mateo County issued a 1/7/21 Press Release re: Regional Stay at Home Order indicating that the County will likely remain under the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Santa Clara County issued a 1/8/21 Press Release urging County healthcare workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Santa Cruz issued Amended Quarantine Order and an Amended Isolation Order. The County also issued an Order Suspending Elective Surgeries and Elective Procedures.

Shasta County issued a 12/31/20 Press Release re Vaccinations.

Tehama County issued a 1/5/21 Press Release regarding vaccination distribution.

Tulare County issued a 1/7/21 Press Release regarding vaccination distribution.

Yolo County published the 1/2/21 CDPH Press Release indicating that the Sacramento Region will remain under the Regional Stay at Home Order.


SoCal Counties. Los Angeles County revised its order, outdoor restaurant seating is closed to public. Updated issues with faith based worship that conflicted with recent case law. (Buffit v. Newsom – BCV 20-102267 (Kern county); Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn .v Cuomo No. 20A87, 2020 WL 6948354; Robinson v. Murphy 592 US ____.) Further, updated order for persons who traveled from outside of southern California region for non-essential travel, must self-quarantine for 10 days. If have symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 must follow isolation health order. Substantially revised social distancing protocols for buildings and grounds.

The City of Los Angeles revised its Safer at Home order to align with the Los Angeles County travel restrictions.

Orange County revised its health order to align with regional stay at home order.

San Bernardino County developed a quarantine and isolation calculator to determine how long should self-isolate after testing positive for Covid, being sick with Covid or being exposed to someone with Covid.

City of San Diego issued an executive order, that all residents comply with the state and county health orders or can violate municipal code. Further, parking enforcement has been reduced to holiday or Sunday enforcement regulations and no longer will enforce parking meters, yellow commercial zones, and short-term green zones. Red, blue and other enforcement areas will continue to maintain public safety.

Santa Barbara revised its health order that continues to January 21, 2021 that aligns with the 12/22/20 supplemented State’s Regional Stay at Home Order which adds the revision that that non-essential business must cease operations between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. Face covering order is extended to January 22.

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 1-8-21. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

Felon Director Impacts Insurance

Dec 31, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: The board found out recently that the President was convicted of a felony a few years ago. The underwriter for the association’s fidelity insurance advised us that if the felon is not removed from the board, the carrier will cancel the policy. I doubt this director will cooperate and resign. Can the board remove him?

RESPONSE: That's a really good question. The election bill, SB 323, was badly drafted with many internal inconsistencies and some glaring oversights. This is one of them.

Nominees and Insurance. The bill sponsored by Marjorie Murray's organization forced all associations in California to accept felons on their boards unless it impacted their fidelity bond. Due to poor drafting, her bill created a large gap. Here is the language:

(c)...an association may disqualify a person from nomination as a candidate pursuant to any of the following: ...(4) An association may disqualify a nominee if...a past criminal conviction that would, if the person was elected, either prevent the association from purchasing the fidelity bond coverage required by Section 5806 or terminate the association’s existing fidelity bond coverage. (Civ. Code §5105(c)(4).)

You will notice the provision only deals with disqualifying someone from nomination. The statute has no authorizing language for removing a director once the person is elected.

Corporations Code. Normally we would turn to Corporations Code §7221(a), which allows a board to declare vacant the seat of a director convicted of a felony. Unfortunately, Ms. Murray's bill overrides this provision because her bill specifically applies to associations and specifically allows felons to serve on boards. Once a felon is elected to the board, the only entities authorized to remove a director are the courts or the membership.

Insurance Takes Priority. With two statutes completely at odds — one mandating insurance coverage (
Civ. Code §5806) and the other preventing boards from removing felon directors — I believe insurance takes priority. No association should operate without insurance. That means the board should vacate that director's seat and appoint a replacement director.

Possible Litigation. The director so removed from the board might sue to regain his seat. I don't mind defending that lawsuit. I can't imagine a judge ordering an association to operate without insurance.

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend amending bylaws to include a provision allowing boards to remove a director whose past or present criminal activity would cause the association to lose insurance coverage required by Civil Code §5806. At some point, let's hope common sense prevails and the legislature rescinds the dumpster fire known as SB 323.

2020 YEAR-END
WRAP!


This is our last newsletter of 2020 — a year of extraordinary challenges for our industry. A pandemic arrived on our shores without warning and overnight everyone had to learn how to quarantine, work from home, social distance, wear masks, and hold meetings via Zoom. The coronavirus decimated California's economy with millions of workers losing their jobs from business closures and mass layoffs. This caused association budgets to suffer shortages from delinquencies.
 
Newsletters. At ADAMS|STIRLING, we are grateful we were able to serve our clients and our readers by answering questions and drafting emergency rules. We normally publish 24 newsletters a year (two a month). However, there was such a demand for information during the pandemic that we published one to two per week for a total of 81 newsletters.

Website Traffic. We also saw an increase in traffic on our website. In one 30-day period, we had over 10.5 million requests on the Davis-Stirling.com website. A “request” is a message from a browser to our website server. It provides the user with desired webpages which are then displayed on the user's screen. Due to the high traffic, of the 109 million websites in the United States, Davis-Stirling.com ranks in the upper 14%.

New Projects. This year we rolled out an "Election Timeline Calculator" to help board members and managers address the confusing election timeline created by SB 323. We have another project in the works we think will be just as useful. We will provide details in our January 2021 newsletters.


Feedback. We want to thank everyone for all the questions, kudos, and newsletter feedback. We also want to thank you for entrusting us with your legal work. This year we added four new attorneys to the firm to meet the demand.

BEST WISHES. May our readers enjoy the holidays and have a New Year filled with health, peace, and happiness. From all of us at ADAMS|STIRLING, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2021!


Balcony Inspectors. Many thanks to all the readers who sent in information about balcony inspectors! Our condo has to have a special assessment to cover the cost. I'm happy to find so many names to pick from! -Christine K.

Millions of Thanks. Millions of thanks for your valuable newsletter. I have read all of them from 2019 to the present. They have shown me how to function effectively and fulfill my fiduciary duties as a board member. Thank you for your consistent efforts to keep us abreast of current laws and trends. –Lilly C.

State Mandates. I bought my condo before the Davis-Stirling Act. Things were simple and I understood what I was getting into. Now I feel like the State has taken over my property with all their mandates; volunteer board members are overwhelmed or clueless; management companies are incompetent or taking advantage of the situation; and the majority of homeowners, who don't even know about the Davis-Stirling Act, are too apathetic to understand the seriousness of the situation. -Lee B.

RESPONSE: The legislature is churning out laws without any thought to their impact. The people of California would be better off if the legislature met once every ten years and then only for an hour.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find it in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Federal Update. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their holiday guidelines regarding small gatherings during winter holidays and coping with holiday stress.

Statewide Update. The State rolled out "CA Notify" on December 10th, which will allow persons to anonymously be told they have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 using Bluetooth technology on smart phones. The application will provide an alert if you have been within 6 feet of someone for more than 15 minutes that has voluntarily provided information to the application that they tested positive for Covid-19. December 7, 2020 Press Release re CA Notify; December 9, 2020 Press Release re CA Notify Launch.

The State released a December 13, 2020 Press Release re Vaccine Safety.

The Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions are under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 6, 2020. The Greater Sacramento Region is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 10, 2020. While some Bay Area counties are voluntarily under the Regional Stay at Home Order, the Bay Area Region is close to the threshold for falling under the Regional Stay at Home Order.

NorCal Counties. Bay Area is now under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/17/20. Health Officials issued a Joint Statement regarding vaccine distribution.

San Mateo County issued a December 16 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Butte County is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20 and issued a December 9, 2020 Press Release regarding the same.

Calaveras County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Contra Costa County updated its Mass Quarantine Order. The County provided Vaccination Information.

El Dorado is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20 and issued a December 9, 2020 Press Release regarding the same. The County also issued a December 10, 2020 Press Release regarding clarification of Regional Stay at Home Order. This press release indicates that those under the Regional Stay at Home Order cannot honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel unless the reservation allows enough time to quarantine, further, in state reservations for non essential travel cannot be honored.

Fresno County issued updated Youth & School-Based Sports Guidance. Fresno County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Lake County issued a December 11, 2020 Press Release regarding rising cases and vaccine progress.

Madera County issued CDPH December 7, 2020 Updated Quarantine Guidance.

Marin County issued revised Appendix C-1 (Revised 12/4/20) to comply with the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Mendocino County issued a December 7, 2020 Press Release indicating that eight new cases were traced to Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center and Day Center.

Monterey County issued a December 9, 2020 Press Release indicating that Monterey is choosing to follow the Regional Stay at Home Order and the County issued a December 9, 2020 Stay at Home Order.

Nevada County is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20 and issued a December 9, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Placer County is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20.

Sacramento is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20. The County issued a revised Health Order to comply with these requirements.

San Francisco issued an updated Health Order dated 12/9/20. The County allows meeting one person outside your household to take a walk, hang out at the park or play low contact sports like golf, tennis, pickleball, and bocce ball.

San Joaquin County issued a December 8, 2020 Press Release regarding next steps in the County.

San Mateo County issued a December 10, 2020 Press Release regarding the current state of affairs in the County.

Santa Clara County issued a mandatory directive to follow the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. The County issued a December 9, 2020 Press Release regarding vaccinations.

Santa Cruz County issued a December 10, 2020 Press Release regarding submission of a vaccine plan.

Sonoma County issued a December 10, 2020 Press Release regarding the County’s adoption of the Regional Stay at Home Order and issued a new Health Order related to the same.

Sutter County is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20.

Tuolumne County issued a revised Short Term Lodging Order.

Yolo County is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20. The County issued a revised Health Order.

Yuba County is under the Regional Stay at Home Order effective 12/10/20.

SoCal Counties. Imperial County issued a health order to align with the Regional Stay Home Order and supersedes all local orders in effect while Regional Stay Home Order is in place.

Los Angeles County revised its safer at home health order to align with Regional Stay Home Order. Outdoor pools are allowed to be open for regulated lane swimming, indoor and outdoor pools are permitted to allow drowning prevention classes. Tennis and Pickleball guidelines were updated further, adding that restrooms and frequently used items should be sanitized hourly. Campgrounds and RV parks protocols were updated to comply with Regional Stay Home Order that prohibits overnight stays until further notice.

The City of Los Angeles issued a targeted stay at home order to align with regional stay at home order.

Orange County issued a health order regarding senior residential care facilities with restriction on communal dining if employee or resident tests positive.

San Bernardino County petitioned the California Supreme Court to seek local control of Covid measures rather than be restrained by the state’s regional approach.

San Diego County – New health order to align with Regional Stay Home Order including prohibition of sales of food and drink at outdoor recreation facilities and prohibition of overnight stays at outdoor recreation facilities.

San Luis Obispo County decreased quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days from exposure for those who are asymptomatic and do not work in a high-risk setting. The County published a press release on how Covid-19 vaccinations will be distributed in SLO.

Santa Barbara changed its health order to align with Regional Stay Home Order.

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 12-14-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

Face Masks Required in the Common Areas

Dec 8, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: We've had signs at the front door and lobby for several weeks indicating that face coverings are required in all common areas. Everyone has complied, except one recent arrival, a renter, who hasn't. We never see her masked. The situation is infuriating. What should be our first step? Are there actual civil penalties in place yet? –Joshua

RESPONSE: I doubt you can get police officers anywhere in the state to enter a condominium association and ticket someone for not wearing a mask.

Emergency Rules. Boards of directors, however, can fine someone for not wearing a mask. To do so, they must first adopt emergency rules requiring the wearing of masks in the common areas, limiting the number of people from different households on an elevator, etc.

Threat to Public Health. If a board determines that an immediate rule change is required to address an imminent threat to public health, it can adopt emergency rules without the usual 28-day waiting period. (Civ. Code §4360(d).)

RECOMMENDATION: The current wave of the coronavirus qualifies as an imminent threat to public health. The board should have legal counsel draft emergency rules, call an emergency meeting, and adopt them. The rules become effective upon notice to the membership.

TESTING EMPLOYEES
AFTER THE HOLIDAYS


QUESTION: Given the higher risk that employees will be exposed to COVID-19 over the holidays, can the board require employees take a COVID test before returning to work from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day?

RESPONSE: Pre-COVID, the thought of requiring an employee to take a medical exam before returning to work was unthinkable. Now, it has been expressly sanctioned.

Antigen Test. Employers can require an antigen test, not an antibody test. An antigen test determines whether the employee currently has COVID. An antibody test determines whether the employee had COVID in the past. Employers cannot require antibody tests because whether the employee previously had COVID is protected information.

Positive Test Quarantine. If an employee tests positive, the association does not necessarily have to quarantine all of its employees. It depends on whether the infected employee was in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) of other employees. Any employee who was in close contact with the infected employee should immediately be sent home to quarantine. If the employee does not develop symptoms and tests negative at least twice (with the tests being at least 24 hours apart), the board can allow the exposed employee to return to work.


Cluster Quarantine. If other employees were not in close contact with the infected employee, there is no need to quarantine all employees. However, if multiple employees become ill in a short period of time, this is considered a cluster, and all employees may need to be quarantined.

Thank you to employment law attorney Debbie Birndorf Zeiler for her assistance with this question.

ATTRACTING TALENT TO
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT
 
The Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR) launched a survey on attracting talent to the management profession and identifying the benefits and challenges of community managers.
 
The results of the survey will help management companies identify and attract talented individuals into this valuable and growing profession. The results will be published once the survey is completed.
 
The Foundation wants to hear from (i) managers and (ii) those who hire and/or manage managers. Please take a moment to contribute your feedback. -Adrian Adams


Laurie Poole #1. Congratulations to Laurie Poole [on becoming President-Elect of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers  for 2021]! She will enjoy her role as President of such a prestigious legal community. The work CCAL does in preparing amicus briefs is outstanding. -Marilyn B.

Laurie Poole #2. I have, and still am, working with Laurie. She is great! –Wally G.

Balcony Inspection Companies. Readers sent in names of the following SB 326 (elevated structures) inspection companies:
  
1. A7 Group, Inc.
700 2nd Street Unit H
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 945-3700
Adam Rohrbaugh
www.a7architect.com

2. A.D. Magellan
701 Palomar Airport Rd. Suite 300
?Carlsbad, CA 92011
Becky Larson
[email protected]
www.admagellan.com

3. AWS Consultants
2030 E 4th St #208D
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 835-2301
Carl Brown
[email protected]
www.awsconsultants.com

4. Axis Consultants
2544 Barrington Court
Hayward, CA 94545
(833) 799-0333
MaryAnne Siena
[email protected]
www.axisconsultants.com

5. Bergeman Group
(833) 558-0888
Robert Grosse
[email protected]
www.bergemangroup.com

6. CL Sigler & Association
523 Charcot Ave, #203, San Jose 95131 (408) 922-0262
74820 Borro Dr., Palm Desert 92260 (760) 469-3048
www.siglercm.com

7. Design Build Associates
5655 Lindero Canyon Road, Suite 321
Westlake Village, CA 91362
(818) 889-0402
Dennis Brooks
[email protected]
www.dbuild.com

8. Focused Inspection Group
1999 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 700, Campbell 95008
333 City Blvd. West, Suite 1700, Orange 92868
Alex Riley
[email protected]
www.focusedinspections.com

9. Southern Cross Property Consultants
4045 Hancock St., Suite 240
San Diego 92110
858.395.8657
Matthew Boomhower, AIA
[email protected]
www.SouthernCrossPC.com

10. Van Sande Structural Consultants
2920 De la Vina St.
Santa Barbara 93105
805-963-6901
Carolle Van Sande, CSM
[email protected]
www.vansandestructural.com


NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's internal "Google Search" feature. You can find it in the upper right corner of the website under our ADAMS|STIRLING logo.


Statewide Update. The following counties have updated their Tier: Mono (Red to Purple).

The state issued a new Regional Stay Home Order for regions with less than 15% ICU availability. The Order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks after it is triggered. The Order prohibits gatherings of any size, requires 100% masking and physical distancing and would only allow travel for critical services.

The San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions have been moved under this Order effective 12/6/20.

The following sectors must close: indoor and outdoor playgrounds; indoor recreational facilities; hair salons and barbershops; personal care services; museums, zoos, and aquariums; movie theaters; wineries; bars, breweries, and distilleries; family entertainment centers; cardrooms and satellite wagering; limited services; live audience sports; amusement parks.

The following modifications are in place in addition to masking and physical distancing: outdoor recreation allowed only without food, drink or alcohol sales and without overnight stays at campgrounds; indoor retail and shopping centers is limited to 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking, with special hours for seniors and those with chronic conditions; hotels and lodging are allowed to open only for critical infrastructure support; restaurants are only allowed to remain open of take-out, delivery, or pick-up; offices must be remote only except for critical infrastructure; worship and political expression is outdoor only; entertainment and professional sports without live audiences. 

The following may remain open when remote options are not available: critical infrastructure; schools that were already open for in-person; non-urgent medical and dental care; child care and pre-K.

The regions are as follows:

-Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity

-Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma

-Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba

-San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne

-Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

NorCal Counties. -Alameda County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release indicating that certain Bay Area Health Officers are going to implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. Alameda County will implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 7, 2020.

Calaveras County issued a November 28, 2020 Press Release regarding the move to the purple tier.

Contra Costa County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release indicating that certain Bay Area Health Officers are going to implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. Contra Costa County will implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 6, 2020.

Fresno County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Lake County issued a November 28, 2020 Press Release regarding the switch to the purple tier.

Madera County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Marin County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release indicating that certain Bay Area Health Officers are going to implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. Marin County will implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 8, 2020.

Mendocino County issued a November 29, 2020 Press Release urging compliance with State Orders.

Mono County moved to the Purple Tier and issued a December 1, 2020 Press Release regarding this change. The County issued a December 3, 2020 Press Release regarding updated guidance on restaurants, wineries and breweries.

Nevada County issued a December 3, 2020 Press Release regarding the State’s new Regional Stay at Home Order.

Sacramento County issued a new Health Order dated November 20, 2020.

San Francisco County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release indicating that certain Bay Area Health Officers are going to implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. San Francisco County will implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 6, 2020.

San Joaquin County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

San Mateo County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release indicating that the County would not be observing the Regional Stay at Home Order like other Bay Area Counties until they are required to do so.

Santa Clara County issued a Mandatory Travel Directive that was updated on December 2, 2020. Santa Clara County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release indicating that certain Bay Area Health Officers are going to implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. Santa Clara County will implement the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order effective December 6, 2020.

Solano County issued a Quick Guide for Schools, a School Case Notification Form, and a School List of Close Contacts Form.

Stanislaus County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Sutter County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release regarding the Health Advisory effective December 7, 2020. The December 4, 2020 Health Advisory indicates steps that should be taken in anticipation of the move to the Regional Order.

Tuolumne County issued a December 5, 2020 Press Release regarding the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Yuba County issued a December 4, 2020 Press Release regarding the Health Advisory effective December 7, 2020. The December 4, 2020 Health Advisory indicates steps that should be taken in anticipation of the move to the Regional Order.       

SoCal Counties. Imperial County has a new Order to comply with the Regional Stay at Home Order.

Los Angeles County prohibited outdoor dining for the next three weeks. It only allows take-out, drive thru and delivery services. Issued a temporary targeted safer at home order effective November 30 and expires on December 20, 2020.
Notable playgrounds are closed again, except for playgrounds located within a childcare center or school. Also the protocols for Association outdoor swimming pools temporarily changed until December 20th where outdoor pools may only be used for regulated lap swimming with one swimmer per lane. All other recreational swimming, swimming lessons, family swim is closed. Outdoor pool must be closed between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Indoor swimming pools remain closed.

Updated protocol for gyms as a result of temporary order – Outdoor gyms can remain open at 50% capacity. Must close between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. All patrons and staff must wear face coverings at all times and cannot remove for strenuous exercise. Indoor gyms remain closed. Updated protocol for golf courses. Further, screening of employees and visitors to golf course should include whether the individual is currently under isolation or quarantine orders.

Also amended guidance for multifamily residences on 11/21/20 regarding transmission of covid-19 and what to do if you are sick.

The City of Los Angeles issued a temporary new order dated December 2, 2020 that prohibits private and public gatherings with someone outside of a household with exceptions. Also requests residents of the city to stay at home with various exceptions. It also changed its office protocols making it incredibly difficult to remain open.

Orange County issued an amended health order dated November 20, 2020 to align with its purple tier status and the State’s limited stay at home order. Further the order continues to require facial coverings when outside of the home pursuant to the State facial covering guidance.

Riverside County issued a vaccine flyer to show the three phases of vaccine distribution.

San Diego County amended its health order to comply with the State’s stay at home order. Further the order changed guidance on gatherings and face coverings to align with the State’s guidance.

Santa Barbara amended its face covering order to wear face coverings at all times outside of the home with various exceptions.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 12-7-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

New Foreclosure Procedures

Nov 22, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

In an effort to create more affordable housing, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1079 which modifies procedures for the sale of residential property through nonjudicial foreclosure.

The goal is to assist eligible bidders in finding affordable housing and stem the flow of foreclosures snapped up by lenders and real estate investors.

Sales Are Not Final. Effective January 1, 2021, eligible bidders will be able to bid on foreclosed residential properties after the foreclosure sale has taken place. This is a major change in foreclosure sale procedure. For the past almost 100 years, foreclosure sales have been final when the auctioneer states “sold” at a public auction (subject to the right of redemption).

Eligible Bidders Defined. An “eligible bidder” will be defined as (1) a qualifying tenant who is already occupying the foreclosed property, (2) a person who is willing to move into the property for at least one year, and (3) certain nonprofit housing agencies. These eligible bidders can take ownership of the foreclosed properties away from successful bidders at foreclosure sales.

Procedure. Eligible bidders will have 15 days after the sale to give notice to the foreclosure trustee of their intent to bid on the property and 45 days from the sale date to tender payment.
After-sale tenant buyers only have to match the highest bid at the foreclosure sale while owner-occupants and non-profits will have to exceed the successful bid. Responsibility for administering post-sale procedures will fall to foreclosure trustees who handle the original sales.

Thank you to Richard Witkin for this article. Richard is the premier collections attorney in California, with extensive knowledge of assessment lien and foreclosure matters.

COLLEGE OF COMMUNITY
ASSOCIATION LAWYERS


We are pleased to announce that partner Laurie Poole has been named President-Elect of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) for 2021.

CCAL is the most prestigious designation for attorneys in the community association industry. The College puts on an annual nationwide law seminar providing continuing education for attorneys specializing in community association law.

The College
works to advance the law for the betterment of community associations. It reports on key court decisions throughout the United States and files amicus briefs on cases important to community associations.


Balanced Budget. Regarding balanced budgets, what about Civil Code 5600? In my opinion, the legislature wants associations to have enough money to pay all their bills, but no more than that. –Scott C.

RESPONSE: You are quite right, I completely forgot about Civil Code 5600(b): "An association shall not impose or collect an assessment or fee that exceeds the amount necessary to defray the costs for which it is levied." That means boards need to prepare balanced budgets. I added it to our page on Preparing Annual Budgets.

Rent Restrictions #1. I would appreciate a more thorough explanation of how the new rent restrictions are applied. For example, in a 100 home HOA with 10 currently rented and with a 10% cap on rentals, do the preexisting 10 rentals get counted towards the new cap of 25 or are they added on top so it's 35 rentals? –Bill B.

RESPONSE: The existing 10 rentals count toward the 25% cap, not on top. Once you have 25 rentals, you hit the cap. However, if you don't conform your governing documents to the 25% cap, your 10% becomes unenforceable on January 1, 2021, which means all 100 units could potentially become rentals. 

Rent Restrictions #2. Regarding AB 3182, does it only apply to housing, condo, townhouse etc? We are an RV resort where owners purchase a lot for their recreational vehicle. We are seeing an increase of investors purchasing multiple lots for rental purposes only. –John R.

RESPONSE: It applies to all residential common interest developments--condominiums, planned developments, stock cooperatives and community apartment projects. If an RV resort or mobile home park or stock coop falls under the Davis-Stirling Act, AB 3182 applies. Our short-sighted legislators in Sacramento think that turning homeowner communities into investor-owned rentals is somehow good for housing.

Balcony Inspections #1. Now that balcony inspections are required, where do we find a company that is qualified to do these inspections? What are their qualifications? Are they required to be certified in “balcony inspections?” -Jim M.

RESPONSE: I'm not aware of a certification for balcony inspections. The statute calls for inspections by a licensed architect or structural engineer. (Civil Code §5551(b)(1).) I know of two companies currently providing balcony inspection and repair services: The Bergeman Group and AWS Consultants. If readers are aware of others, let me know.

Balcony Inspections #2. Is the presentation on SB 326 open to anyone who wants to attend? -M.W.

RESPONSE: The event is put on by HOA Organizers and is open to any board member and homeowner who wants to attend. The virtual event features speakers on topics such as changes in the law, balcony inspections, insurance basics, waterproofing, environmentally friendly landscaping, and more. For information about the event, go to ABCs of HOAs. Those who wish to attend can register here.

Nevada Office. We do a lot of work in Nevada and you are sorely needed. As you know, there are excellent attorneys in NV but there isn’t a cohesive messaging strategy for CID issues such as your newsletter. I am on a NV Task Force, "Reserves for the Recovery," helping the state deal with the flood of calls they are receiving about reserve issues, such as borrowing, missing deposits, etc. -Bob B.

RESPONSE: Reserves are essential for associations. I’ve seen too many situations where associations were faced with large special assessments to address significant deferred maintenance with no reserves in place. New owners saddled with the assessment were angry and dismayed. The recently passed balcony inspection law in California will help associations address this oft-overlooked expense. Nevada should consider something similar.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's "Google Search."


Statewide Update. Governor Newsom moved the state back to a partial lockdown by moving 28 counties to the most restrictive purple tier, nine counties to red tier and two counties back to orange tier. He also issued November 13, 2020 Travel Advisories urging against non-essential out of state travel and asking people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country. Governor Newsom issued a limited stay-at-home order for purple tier counties for non-essential activities including mixed household gatherings between 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. starting 11/21 and order is set to expire 12/21.

There are new requirements for face coverings at all times outside the home, with some exceptions (Facial Covering Guidance).

The following Counties have updated Tiers: Alameda (Orange to Purple); Butte (Orange to Purple); Calaveras (Yellow to Orange); Colusa (Orange to Red); Contra Costa (Red to Purple); Del Norte (Orange to Red); El Dorado (Red to Purple); Fresno (Red to Purple); Glenn (Red to Purple); Humboldt (Yellow to Red); Kern (Red to Purple); Kings (Red to Purple); Marin (Orange to Red); Mendocino (Red to Purple); Merced (Red to Purple); Modoc (Orange to Red); Mono (Orange to Red); Napa (Orange to Purple); Nevada (Orange to Purple); Placer (Red to Purple); Plumas (Orange to Red); San Benito (Red to Purple); San Francisco (Yellow to Red); San Joaquin (Red to Purple); San Mateo (Orange to Red); Santa Clara (Orange to Purple); Santa Cruz (Red to Purple); Sierra (Yellow to Orange); Siskiyou (Orange to Purple); Solano (Red to Purple); Sutter (Red to Purple); Trinity (Orange to Purple); Tuolumne (Orange to Purple); Yolo (Red to Purple); Yuba (Red to Purple).

NorCal Counties. Alameda County moved from the Orange Tier to the Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding the same and indicating some of the changes that this will entail. The County linked to the following updates

Butte County moved from the Orange Tier to the Purple Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly.

Calaveras County moved from the Yellow Tier to the Orange Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly.

Contra Costa County moved from Red Tier to Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding this change and updated their “Openings at a Glance”.

El Dorado County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly.

Fresno County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier. The County provided the updated facial covering guidance from the State. The County issued updated Youth & School-Based Sports Guidance.

Lake County indicated that they are officially in the Red Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly.

Marin County moved from the Orange Tier to the Red Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding this change and necessary changes in business openings and operations.

Mendocino County moved from Red Tier to Purple Tier and updated their Health Order to comply with the changes. The County also issued updated guidance for outdoor gatherings.

Mono County moved from Orange Tier to Red Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release. Mono County issued Holiday Guidance and the Town of Mammoth Lakes issued a Revised Short-Term Lodging Order.

Monterey County published the CDPH’s new facial covering guidance.

Napa County moved from the Orange Tier to Purple and the County updated the Business Operations FAQs.

Nevada County moved from the Orange Tier to the Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release.

Placer County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly.

Sacramento County published Guidance on Safely Celebrating During COVID-19.

San Francisco moved from the Yellow Tier to the Red Tier. The County issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release related to the changes.

San Joaquin County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding this move.

San Mateo County moved from the Orange Tier to the Red Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding this move.

Santa Clara moved from the Orange Tier to the Purple Tier. The County updated their Order and issued a Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations.

Santa Cruz County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding the move.

Solano County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding the move.

Stanislaus County issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding the County’s move to the Purple Tier.

Sutter County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly. They also published the State’s facial covering guidance.

Tehama County issued Guidance for Gatherings and Travel.

Tuolumne County moved from the Orange Tier to the Purple Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly.

Yolo County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and issued a November 16, 2020 Press Release regarding the move. Yolo County issued a November 19, 2020 Health Advisory regarding quarantine after travel.  

Yuba County moved from the Red Tier to the Purple Tier and will require changes in business opening and operations accordingly. 

SoCal Counties. Imperial County issued a limited stay at home order to abide by the state’s guidelines, with no more than sixteen (16) individuals can attend any private gathering. Further, singing, chanting, shouting and playing of wind instruments are prohibited during any private gathering.


Los Angeles County established a curfew for restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars, and all other non-essential retail establishments must close between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Non-essential businesses permitted to operate indoors at 25% capacity (retail stores, offices, personal care services), outdoor gatherings are only gatherings permitted with limit to three households and maximum of 15 people.
Orange County fell back to Purple Tier.

Riverside County issued Thanksgiving guidelines to keep holiday gatherings “smaller, shorter, safer”.

San Diego County changed its health order to comply with restrictions in purple tier. All customers of indoor hair salons and personal care services must sign in with name and telephone number.

Santa Barbara County continued its face covering order until December 14, 2020.  Further, issued an amended health order to align with purple tier status.

San Luis Obispo County released Thanksgiving guidelines and fell back to purple tier.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 11-20-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

Retroactive Rent Restrictions

Nov 15, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: Regarding AB 3182, are owners who purchased into an HOA prior to the new law coming into effect subject to the same regulations or does the law only apply to new owners after January 1, 2021? We currently have no rules and limited CC&R requirements for rentals. The board plans to establish regulations allowed by law but are unclear to whom they will apply. -Paul B.

RESPONSE: There are three scenarios to consider. The first is where the association does not have a rental cap and wants to add one. In that case, section 4740 of the Civil Code applies and the newly adopted restriction will only apply to owners who purchase after the restriction is recorded.

The second scenario is where the association has had existing rental that was adopted prior to January 1, 2012. If the cap is more restrictive than 25%, such as 10%, 15% or 20%, the board can adjust it to 25% to conform to new rental requirements and it applies to everyone.

The third scenario is if the existing rental cap is more restrictive than 25% but was adopted after January 1, 2012. Since the existing cap only applies to owners who purchased after the cap was adopted, any adjustments to the cap would only apply to those owners. Those homeowners who bought prior to the rental cap would not be subject to the revised cap.

RECOMMENDATION: Boards should work with legal counsel as they amend their documents to conform to the statute--or adopt new rental restrictions.

BALCONY
INSPECTIONS


QUESTION: Under SB 326, what percentage of decks must be inspected? -Carl B.

RESPONSE:
There is no fixed percentage. As required by statute, the number of elevated structures (balconies, decks, stairwells and walkways) inspected must be sufficient to reach a 95% confidence level for the inspector. (Civ. Code §5551(a)(4).) The number will vary depending on the condition of the project and the person performing the inspection (an architect or structural engineer). (Civ. Code §5551(b)(1).)

RECOMMENDATION: I will be speaking on this topic with Robert Grosse of the Bergeman Group (construction management) and Sean Kargari, RS of Association Reserves at an annual event put on by HOA Organizers. It's a free event for board members and will be held on December 5. I will post sign-up information once I receive it.

Expense Reimbursements. Can a board member submit for mileage reimbursement? We have a director who goes to Home Depot often for materials for repairs around the park. –Lohree B.

RESPONSE: Yes, he can be reimbursed. Payment of mileage or other reimbursement expenses to a director is allowed by law and does not affect the person's status as a volunteer. (Corp. Code §7231.5(b); Civ. Code §5800(b).)

Balanced Budget. Is there a requirement under California law for an HOA to approve an annual budget that is balanced (where revenues equal expenses)? Can the board approve a budget with a surplus or deficit? -Jim M.

RESPONSE: Associations are required to prepare budgets annually and do so on an accrual basis. (Civ. Code §5300.) Nowhere in the Davis-Stirling Act does it require that a budget be balanced. However, this is where taxes come into play as discussed in earlier newsletters. Associations are nonprofit organizations and should not end the year with a profit (excess income). If they do and plan to file Tax Form 1120, an excess income resolution needs to be approved so the monies can be rolled into next year's budget.

Election Laws. Am I, as a board member, violating anything by revealing to the homeowners the details of the new election laws, including those regarding inspectors? –Lily C.

RESPONSE: If you discuss your understanding of the laws' requirements, you won't go to jail. If, however, you start giving legal advice, you would be practicing law without a license. If members rely on your advice and things go awry, lawsuits might be filed. Whenever statutory requirements are unclear, it's always safer to say, "Let's check with legal counsel." It satisfies the Business Judgment Rule and protects you from potential liability.

Non-Member Appointments. If SB 323 disqualifies a non-member from being nominated, can the board appoint a non-member to fill a vacancy by a resigning board member? -Terri M.

RESPONSE: Yes. One of the many inconsistencies in SB 323 deals with director qualifications. The poorly drafted bill states: "An association shall disqualify a person from a nomination as a candidate for not being a member of the association at the time of the nomination. (Civ. Code 5105(b).) You will notice, the requirement only applies to candidates at the time they are nominated. The statute does not restrict associations from appointing non-members to vacant seats.


Nevada Office? With Rob Ward joining you staff, will we start to see some commentary regarding Nevada and our NRS 1116 issues? I use as much as I can from the California information, but we are a bit different over here. –Terril R.

RESPONSE: We've had many requests over the years to open an office in Nevada but the workload in California has always kept us anchored here. A large number of new clients have been added to the firm and Rob Ward will be working with many of them. However, if the right attorney came along we might consider expanding into Nevada.

Sewer Lateral Inspections. In regard to sewer laterals, Marin county has a similar ordinance. –Ann V.

RESPONSE: Even if not required by ordinance, all associations should inspect their lateral lines. Lines are sometimes improperly installed by the developer (a construction defect). Even if properly installed, tree roots can be invasive, soils can shift and damage lines, etc. As the court of appeals noted in the Affan case, boards can't just snake lines, they have a duty to inspect them when problems become apparent. A plumber can run a camera down the lines for a modest price and record the condition of the lines. 

Roof Leak. Our HOA learned that negligence can include deferred maintenance, so that if the roof was due to be replaced, the leak could be considered "negligence" for purposes of assigning responsibility. Another reason why maintenance is so important in an HOA. -Paul Y.

RESPONSE: Yes, failure to properly maintain roofs can be deemed negligence by the association, which can make it liable for damage in a unit.

Kickback Rumors. Thank you for warning about being careful when there are rumors of kickbacks. We had a retired general contractor on our board whose advice and guidance were invaluable. He never received a penny for his pro-bono help. A couple of people started a false rumor that he was receiving kickbacks. The damage to his reputation was needlessly hurtful. –Elaine J.

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's "Google Search."


Federal Update. The CDC issued Thanksgiving guidelines and also issued holiday celebration and small gathering guidelines.

Statewide Update. The state issued a November 13, 2020 Travel Advisory for those traveling from out of state/country for non-essential purposes should self-quarantine for 14 days. California residents traveling for non-essential purposes should stay local.

The following counties updated their tiers: Amador (Orange Tier to Red); Contra Costa (Orange Tier to Red); El Dorado (Orange Tier to Red); Modoc (Yellow Tier to Orange); Placer (Orange Tier to Red); Sacramento (Red Tier to Purple); Santa Cruz (Orange Tier to Red); Siskiyou (Yellow Tier to Orange); Stanislaus (Red Tier to Purple); Trinity (Yellow Tier to Orange).

NorCal Counties. Alameda County issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling. Alameda issued a November 12, 2020 Press Release pausing further openings due to an increase in cases.

Butte County issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release indicating that the county was trending towards the Red Tier and urging people to exercise caution to prevent this.

Contra Costa County changed to the Red Tier. The county issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling. The county issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release related to the switch to the Red Tier which reinforces the changes in openings the county made last week. It issued a November 13, 2020 order as a result of the increased cases which imposes additional restrictions on high-risk business sectors. The order, effective November 17, bans indoor dining; prohibits concessions at theaters and require face masks; and banned indoor fitness centers and gyms.

El Dorado County moved to the Red Tier. The county issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release indicating that they have started the state’s adjudication process to remain in the Orange Tier. The health officer indicated that until the state rules on the adjudication, the county remains in the Orange.

Madera County published the CDC’s guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving.

Marin County issued November 12, 2020 recommendations to reduce indoor dining capacity to 25%; reduce theater capacity to 25% and close concessions; and reduce capacity if indoor faith-based and cultural ceremonies to 25%.

Mendocino County has revised their Quarantine Order and Isolation Order. Mendocino also issued November 12, 2020 Reopening K-12 School Opening Guidance.

Mono County issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release indicating that they have started the adjudication process to remain in the Orange tier as the outbreak at the Marine Corps base is being contained and would not be addressed by changing the County’s tier and impacting the county’s economy.

Monterey County issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling. The county issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release indicating that the county’s adjudication request to the state to change tiers was denied.

Nevada County issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release indicating that the county is at risk for moving to the Red Tier and indicating the changes that would bring.

Placer County has moved to the Red Tier and therefore businesses and activities must change accordingly pursuant to the State's Blueprint.

Sacramento County has moved to the Purple Tier and issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release related to the change. The county issued a new order on November 13, 2020 to align with the Purple Tier restrictions.

San Francisco County issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling. The county issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release indicating that due to an increase in cases, the county is halting indoor dining, halting the opening of high schools that are not already open with approved plans, reducing capacity at fitness centers and movie theaters to 25% capacity or 50 people (whichever is smaller).

San Mateo County issued Recommendations for Safer Holidays and Recommendations for Safe Travel.

Santa Clara County issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling. The county issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release urging strict adherence to safety protocols due to an increase in cases.

Santa Cruz County has moved to the Red Tier. The county issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling. The County also issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release regarding the change to the red tier and the impact this has on businesses and activities.

Shasta County issued Guidance for Safer Holidays.

Solano County urged residents to take caution as they are at risk for moving to the Red Tier. The county also issued Holiday Safety Guidance.

Sonoma County issued a November 9, 2020 Press Release along with the other Bay Area counties with recommendations for safe holidays and traveling.

Stanislaus County has moved to the Purple Tier.

Tehama County issued updated Business FAQs.

Yolo County issued November 9, 2020 Holiday Guidance. The county issued a November 10, 2020 Press Release urging residents to follow health directives to avoid a move to the Purple Tier.

SoCal Counties. Kern County is at risk in falling back to purple tier.

Los Angeles County updated its golf course protocols, to allow two different households in golf cart as long as protective partition between the individuals otherwise golf cart must be a single rider or used by members of same household. It also updated protocols for Gyms and Fitness centers, to allow for individual use of indoor restrooms when using outdoor gym facilities. Use of indoor showers, changing rooms and lockers is still prohibited. Updated protocols for office worksites. A maximum of 15 people is permitted for in-person meetings for essential office-based businesses. The County remains in purple tier at least four weeks as cases increase.

Orange County is expected to fall back to purple tier next week if cases continue to rise.

Riverside County is expected to remain purple as cases increase.

San Bernardino County is expected to stay in the purple tier as cases increase.

San Diego County fell back to purple, restrictions start 11/14. List of what is open and closed.

Santa Barbara County issued an amended health order effective 11/14/20 and expires on December 13, 2020. The amended order prohibits gatherings from different household indoors and outdoors unless an exemption applies. The health order is more restrictive than the State’s guidance on gatherings.

Ventura County is at risk of falling back to purple tier.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 11-13-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

Director Kickbacks

Nov 8, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

Kickbacks. Members are hearing that our president is receiving kickbacks from our contractors. Can we remove him from the board? What other steps can homeowners take? –Nancy W.

RESPONSE: A rumor of kickbacks does not mean they are occurring. It could be that someone is trying to smear a director's name. Even so, an investigation is required.

Board Investigation. If there are allegations of kickbacks, board members have a fiduciary duty to investigate and take appropriate action. If the investigation finds that the rumors are false, the board should clear the director's name.

Censure and Removal. If the investigation reveals the president is receiving kickbacks, the board should censure the president, remove him as president, and demand his resignation from the board. If the director refuses, the board can set a date for a special meeting of the membership to remove him from the board. To initiate the process, an inspector of elections is appointed and notice sent to the membership along with ballots. If the board refuses to take action, 5% of the membership submit a petition to remove the director or the entire board.

RECOMMENDATION: The board should get legal counsel involved on how best to conduct the investigation and appropriate actions based on the findings. Management should verify that the association has crime insurance in place (also known as a fidelity bond) in the event the investigation reveals embezzlement of HOA funds in addition to kickbacks.

DAMAGE FROM A
ROOF LEAK


QUESTION: If a roof leak (association responsibility) damages a unit's drywall and newly remodeled kitchen, does the association have any responsibility besides fixing the leak? –Jean N.

RESPONSE: Yes, the association has some responsibility but the extent depends on the circumstances.

Common Area Drywall. In almost all CC&Rs, the drywall on perimeter walls is deemed common area. And, unless the governing documents state otherwise, the association is obligated to repair and replace common areas. (Civ. Code §4775(a)(1).) This is true whether or not the association was negligent related to the roof leak. That means the association is responsible for repairing/replacing damaged drywall on perimeter walls and ceilings.

Unit Improvements. Since unit improvements (cabinets and counters, hardwood floors, interior walls, etc.) are part of the unit and not common area, the owner is responsible to maintain, repair and replace them. (Civ. Code §4775(a)(2).)

Negligence. If the roof leak was not due to the association's
negligence, each side repairs the damage for which it is responsible. If the association were negligent (the board was notice there were problems with the roofs), the association will be liable for the damage. Another consideration is insurance. Does the owner have insurance and what does the association's insurance cover?

RECOMMENDATION: Associations should amend their CC&Rs to require all owners to carry their own insurance. This helps to ensure repairs can be made in the event a loss occurs.

SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY
PRIVATE SEWER LATERAL ORDINANCE


In response to an EPA and California Regional Water Quality Control Board order, San Francisco's East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) enacted an EBMUD Consolidated Regional Private Sewer Lateral Ordinance intended to fix old, cracked sanitary sewer pipes.

Inspections. Under this ordinance, associations must have their lateral lines inspected, repaired or replaced if necessary, and obtain a compliance certificate from EBMUD.

Verification Test. All associations in the affected areas will need to hire a plumber to inspect their lateral lines and complete any necessary repairs or replacements. Once that is done, they must schedule a verification test and obtain a compliance certificate from EBMUD.

Deadlines. Associations responsible for less than 1,000 feet of sewer lines must complete this process by 7/12/21. Associations responsible for more than 1,000 feet must complete this process by 7/12/26. Deadlines vary depending on when the development was constructed.

Affected Areas.
Alameda, Albany, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, Kensington, El Cerrito, and Richmond Annex. The City of Berkeley has its own program, which can be found here: City of Berkeley Compliance Guide. More detailed information can be found on our website at "East Bay Sewer Lateral Ordinance."

Thank you to attorney Megan Hall for her research on this issue.

ROBERT "ROB" WARD
JOINS ADAMS|STIRLING

 
We are pleased to announce that senior attorney Rob Ward joined our firm. Rob is an experienced HOA attorney, serving both as a litigator and general counsel to boards of directors for over 22 years.

Active in Industry. Rob is active in our industry as a speaker and writer on matters affecting associations. He is also involved in monitoring legislation affecting common interest developments and recently served as a delegate to CAI's Legislative Action Committee.

Counsel to Associations.
Rob has litigated complex matters for homeowner associations throughout California and Nevada, helping to recover over 200 million dollars in settlements and judgments. He handled disputes involving product liability, misrepresentation, landlord/tenant disputes, and residential construction defects. In addition, Rob has advised homeowner association boards on general legal matters, including governing document amendments, rules and policy updates, and community association disputes.

We welcome such an experienced attorney into our firm. If your association needs legal services, contact us for more information.


HOA Taxes. I read your most recent newsletter about income taxes and IRS audits. I have been involved in over 30 IRS audits and all of them were of associations that used Form 1120. In those more than 30 IRS audits of Form 1120, the IRS never made nor proposed making any adjustment(s) to the Form 1120 as filed. In each instance, the association’s membership approved the IRS Revenue Ruling 70-604 and a budget existed showing what the budgeted transfers to reserves were. I guess the dilemma will need to be decided by a higher authority. -William S. Erlanger, CPA, Levy, Erlanger & Company

RESPONSE: I received feedback from CPAs expressing differing opinions about excess income resolutions per Revenue Ruling 70-604. It's interesting that this 50-year old ruling still generates uncertainty and disagreement.


Leaky Shower Pan #1. If the shower pan is part of the unit and the board can force an owner to repair the leaky shower pan because of damage to the downstairs unit, doesn't it also hold that a board can/should force an owner to perform maintenance on upstairs unit floors for reasons of noise abatement? -Michele J.

RESPONSE: Yes, boards can require noise abatement using the nuisance provision of the CC&Rs. See Hardwood Floor Violation.


Leaky Shower Pan #2. In our condo, the leak under the shower turned out to be the drain line, not the pan. We were told that that is the usual source of shower leaks, not the pan. Not a difficult fix for an experienced plumber. The access for this is through the ceiling of the unit below. -Bebe

NEWSLETTERS. Readers can find current year and prior year newsletters posted here. Older newsletters are not posted since the information they contain can change over time with new statutes and case law. The website itself is kept updated with current information which can be found via the "Index" or through our website's "Google Search."

 

Statewide Updates: The following Counties have changed Tiers: Colusa (Red Tier to Orange); Plumas (Yellow Tier to Orange); San Mateo (Red Tier to Orange); Shasta (Red Tier to Purple).

NorCal Counties. Contra Costa County issued new Orders due to a rise in cases. The Sporting Events Order limits spectators at professional or college games to 25 people from no more than 3 households. The Health Order prohibits outdoor bars without food service; limits indoor dining to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer; limits indoor movie theaters to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less; limits religious services indoors to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less; prohibits indoor cardrooms and satellite wagering sites. Contra Costa issued an 11/5/20 Press Release regarding a mass COVID-19 testing event on November 7, 2020.

Fresno County issued a Guide to Reopen K-12 Schools and School Reopening Attestation.  

Lake County issued an 11/5/20 Press Release regarding November free drive-thru flu vaccine events.

Marin County provided an update to Appendix C-1.

Mendocino County issued new Guidance for Outdoor Gatherings and issued a new Order intended to implement the State guidance for private gatherings.

Nevada County issued an 11/4/20 Press Release regarding the risk that they may be moving back to the Red Tier based on their recent rise in cases.

San Francisco County has a new Order that provides specifics to businesses on how to reopen. San Francisco is requiring businesses to meet ventilation requirements. The County is allowing indoor dining at museums to open at 25% for each room, up to 100 people. In person real estate showings are allowed by appointment. Drive in gathering with up to 6 performers are allowed. Indoor and outdoor film production is expanded to 25 people.

San Mateo moved to the Orange Tier.

Shasta County has moved to the Purple Tier as a result, by 11/6: restaurants, museums, zoos, aquariums, places of worship, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, wineries, family entertainment centers and cardrooms can only be open outdoors; retail and shopping centers can open indoors at 25% capacity.

Solano County issued a 10/29/20 Press Release indicating their first flu and COVID-19 co-infection case. A 10/30/20 Press Release indicates that the County is at risk of moving to the Purple Tier and urges residents to reduce the spread.

Stanislaus County issued an 11/5/20 Press Release indicating that the County was at risk of moving to the Purple Tier and encouraging residents to take action to prevent this move.

Tehama County issued a 10/3/20 Announcement that contact tracing has identified a potential source of exposure at the Round Up Saloon from 10/16-10/18. The County also issued School Guidance FAQs.

Yolo County issued an 11/4/20 Press Release urging residents to exercise caution as the County may be moving to the Purple Tier.


SoCal Counties. The City of Los Angeles amended its Safer LA Order to align with state guidelines for private gatherings. Also removed closure for outdoor playgrounds and indoor malls and shopping centers.

Riverside County answered a question if HOA board meeting of 20-30 can take place. Gatherings are currently not permitted. See Q&A on the Covid-19 site on gatherings: "State public health directives prohibit professional, social and community gatherings. Gatherings are defined as meetings or other events that bring together persons from multiple households at the same time for a shared or group experience in a single room, space, or place such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, or other indoor or outdoor space. They pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19."

San Bernardino County released an infographic on how to move from the purple to red tier.

San Diego County amended its health order allowing schools to hold classes under industry guidance by the state. Requires TK-12 bi-weekly reporting of statistics to the San Diego County Office of Education and also notify health officials immediately of any positive case of COVID-19 and exposed staff and families.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 11-6-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

Leaky Shower Pan

Nov 1, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

Last week I answered a question about how boards can force an owner to fix a leaky shower pan causing damage to a lower unit. I discussed fines, lawyer letters and litigation. That prompted the following question from a reader:

QUESTION: If a unit is defined as air space, isn't the shower pan part of the common area structure and would, therefore, be the HOA’s responsibility to repair? –Mike H.

RESPONSE: The standard definition of a condominium unit is airspace bounded by the unfinished surfaces of perimeter walls, ceilings and floors. Anything inside that airspace is an improvement to and becomes part of the unit. This includes paint and wallpaper on walls; carpet, tile and hardwood on floors; kitchen cabinets and countertops; lighting fixtures; and plumbing fixtures such as toilets, tubs and sinks.

Shower Pans. A shower pan is installed on top of the unfinished floor of a unit. (See How to install a shower pan.) That means shower pans are inside the boundaries of a unit. As such, they are not common area nor exclusive use common area. Instead, shower pans are part of a unit and the responsibility of unit owners to maintain, repair and replace. (Civ. Code §4775(a)(2).)

RECOMMENDATION: To minimize disputes and potential litigation, condominium associations should have legal counsel prepare a maintenance chart describing the respective maintenance obligations of the association and its members. In addition, many associations need to amend their CC&Rs. When we restate documents we include extensive language related to maintenance obligations.

TAXING
RESERVE FUNDS


QUESTION. I am a CPA providing tax and accounting services to HOAs and commercial associations. Recently, some of my commercial association clients have questioned the taxation of reserve assessments. Is any tax law which would make those assessments tax exempt for a commercial association? -Steve M.

RESPONSE: Commercial associations must file Form 1120 whereas residential associations can elect to file either Form 1120 or 1120-H. 

Form 1120-H. Although Form 1120-H (Internal Revenue Code 528) carries a tax rate of 30%, it provides a safety net that protects associations from two significant negative occurrences--taxation of excess member income and taxation of reserve contributions.


Form 1120. Commercial associations (and residential associations that file Form 1120) are treated as nonexempt membership organizations under IRC Section 277, which carries a tax rate of 21%. The risks in filing this form are that excess member income is subject to taxation (unless an election is made under Revenue Ruling 70-604) and reserve contributions may inadvertently be taxed because the association failed to comply with all the requirements to exclude reserves from income by treating them as capital contributions.

Reserves. IRC Section 118 defines contributions of capital to a corporation. This code section is used by associations to identify reserve assessments as capital contributions that are not subject to tax. IRC 118 has been interpreted and modified by treasury regulations, revenue rulings, and various court cases. "Reserves as Capital Contributions" explains the requirements for reserve assessments to be considered capital contributions for tax purposes. Failure to comply with all requirements may cause the IRS to challenge the exclusion of reserve assessments from taxable income.

Thank you to Gary Porter of Porter & Lasiewics, CPAs for his assistance with this question. Gary has consulted or directly represented associations in 70 IRS audits, 66 of which were Form 1120 tax returns. All but one of the 66 associations filing Form 1120 were required to pay additional taxes.


Religious Experience. As a board president, I read your newsletter religiously. Not only do all the other board members subscribe, we have lots of regular homeowners reading it too!!! That makes our job more easily understood for all. Plus, I always enjoy a chuckle here and there from your humor. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the time you spend providing this VALUABLE RESOURCE!!!!! Please don't ever stop. –Linda L.

Deer in the Headlights. I agree with the feedback from Leland B. on “driving with eyes closed” that your wit and dry humor are great; it’s a big part of what I look forward to and I pity those who can’t see the humor. We might acknowledge that sometimes the written word may be more difficult to ascertain, since no twinkle in the eye can be seen as a hint. But that shouldn’t apply when the statement itself is obviously not literal. Yet my experience was always having to quickly say that my husband was joking, even when face to face with people sometimes, when I saw that “deer-in-the-headlights” look in their eyes. They were legitimately uncomfortable, and didn’t know how to respond–there was never the slightest indication he didn’t mean it. Thanks for all you do. -Sharon A.

Trying Times. Thanks so much. Very helpful in these times..... –Bill


Statewide Updates. The following Counties have changed tiers: Calaveras (Orange Tier to Yellow); Contra Costa (Red Tier to Orange); Glenn (Purple Tier to Red); Marin (Red Tier to Orange); Mendocino (Purple Tier to Red); San Mateo (Red Tier to Orange); Santa Cruz (Red Tier to Orange); Shasta (Purple Tier to Red).

NorCal Counties.
Alameda County issued a press release about COVID-19 Testing, Flu Shots, and Voting (Ballot Drop Off) at the Oakland Coliseum October 31 to November 2. 10/29/20 Press Release re: Oakland Coliseum. It issued a 10/28/20 Press Release regarding the timeline for opening middle and high schools. Starting November 9, middle school and high schools submitting a plan can reopen.

Calaveras County moved to the Yellow Tier in the State’s Blueprint.


Contra Costa County issued a 10/29/20 Press Release regarding the move to the Orange Tier and urging safety with the new gathering allowances. The County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 10/27/20 Press Release indicating that the following may open in the orange tier: worship services and indoor cultural activities at 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer; indoor dining at 50% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer; indoor swimming pools; bars and other businesses that sell alcohol without meals may open for outdoor operations; indoor family entertainment centers that naturally socially distance at 25% capacity; indoor cardrooms at 25% capacity; small amusement parks at 25% capacity or 500 people, whichever is fewer; professional sports venues at 20% occupancy; live outdoor theatrical, musical and artistic performances with a maximum of 50 people. Contra Costa County updated their social gathering order.

Fresno County issued a Non-Medical Employer Screening Tool and a Medical Employer Screening Tool. It also issued Guidance for Early Education and Care Sites.

Madera County has approved Elementary school waivers for: Bass Lake JUESD, Chawanakee, Chowchilla Adventist, ETAA Charter, Golden Valley, St. Joachims, Sherman Thomas & Yosemite USD.

Marin County has moved to the Orange Tier. Marin County has a new Risk Reduction Order which better aligns with the State’s health orders and guidance. They also updated the Appendices of additional business and allowed activities.

Mendocino County has moved to the Red Tier and issued a 10/27/20 Press Release regarding this change. The press release indicates that the following are now open: restaurants may open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less; gyms may open indoors at 10% capacity; places of worship may open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people (whichever is less) without indoor singing and chanting activities; retail stores can open at 50% capacity; skilled indoor nursing facilities may have limited indoor visitation.


Mono County’s Weekly Press Briefing provided a number of local updates regarding Halloween activities, outbreaks etc. It updated its order on gatherings. Along with other changes, the order allows gatherings of a maximum of 3 households, up to 12 persons that comply with the State Guidelines.

Outdated orders for Monterey County have been updated.


San Francisco issued a 10/30/20 Press Release temporarily pausing reopenings planned for November 3 due to an increase in cases and hospitalizations. Some reopenings will still proceed: reopening indoor dining at museums at 25% capacity up to 100 people; expanding outdoor film production from 12 to 25 people with safety protocols; allowing additional outdoor live performances with up to six performers in a drive in setting; increased real estate showings with social distancing. It issued a 10/27/20 Press Release regarding further openings. Most non-essential office can open at 25% capacity following Guidance for Offices; gyms and fitness centers can open indoors up to 25% capacity following Reopening Guidance for Fitness Centers and Gyms; customers may also take off face coverings for personal care services on their face.

San Mateo County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 10/27/20 Press Release regarding the same and those openings which are now allowed.
San Mateo County 10/29/20 Order for Long Term Health Facilities; San Mateo County 10/29/20 Order re Quarantine; and San Mateo County 10/29/20 Order re Isolation.

Santa Cruz County moved to the Orange Tier and issued a 10/27/20 Press Release regarding the same. 

Shasta County moved to the Red Tier after an appeal from the County.


Sutter and Yuba issued a video for safe Halloween practices.

SoCal Counties. Los Angeles County amended its health order 10/23/20 – Aligns with state guidance personal care establishments to be open indoors with modifications. Miniature Golf, Batting Cages and Go Cart Racing can reopen outdoors. Permits K -2nd grade classrooms to reopen with a waiver application approved by county health department. Increase percentage of students with IEPs and Els and other high need students at K-12 campus from 10% to 25%. Revised what’s open in Los Angeles. Updated Guidance on hot tubs in the gyms and fitness center protocols, where an outdoor hot tub can only be used by household groups or in cases where six feet of distancing can be maintained. Indoor pools, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms to remain closed. Updated what's open. Also amended guidelines for short term rentals, referring to the county’s guidance on optimizing ventilation.

Riverside County released video of safety guidelines for Halloween and Día de los Muertos. Recommend to not trick or treat and provided guidance on alternatives. Also said to not wear a mask under a Halloween mask as will have difficulty breathing. For Día de los Muertos, practice social distancing and wear a mask at cemetery or have a zoom meeting to remember loved ones. News release on Halloween alternatives.

Palm Springs announcements: reopening the two lanes of Palm Canyon Drive between Tahquitz Canyon Way and Baristo road, while still continuing outdoor dining parklets on both sides of the street for “Al Fresco” dining. The city issued a supplementary order for private and public golf courses.

City of San Diego extended the issuance of permits for outdoor city park to places of worship, gyms, and fitness trainers to conduct their business and deferred payment of the permits to January 31, 2021.

San Bernardino County issued guidelines for ski resorts.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 10-28-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

No Names on the Ballot

Oct 23, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: What happens when there are no names on the ballot sent to members? Our management company did not ask current directors if they wanted to be on the board and sent out ballots with no names. –Anon

RESPONSE: You have a couple of options. If your election rules don't allow write-ins and floor nominations, sending out ballots was unnecessary and current directors remain in place. If write-ins or floor nominations are allowed, directors could write-in their names on their own ballots and vote for themselves. If you want to eliminate any confusion and uncertainty, you can restart the election process.


PROPOSITION 15. Do you have an opinion on whether Proposition 15 will have any direct or indirect effect on residents of HOA communities? -Leonard S.

RESPONSE: If it passes, Proposition 15 will have no direct effect on residential associations. It will, however, indirectly impact HOAs since many business owners will likely lose their businesses and employees lose jobs. That, in turn, will lead to delinquencies and foreclosures in associations around the state. Negative effects will be more direct in commercial and industrial associations because Prop 15 will dramatically raise taxes on businesses as well as the rents they pay, which will drive more of them out of California or out of business altogether.

California Exodus. California businesses are already leaving the state in large numbers. In 2018 to 2019, 765 commercial businesses left California. They are relocating to states with lower taxes. For example, Texas imposes a 0.75% franchise tax on business margins, compared to California’s 8.85% corporate tax. If Prop 15 passes, businesses will be hit with an estimated $11.5 billion in new taxes annually. I expect the flow of businesses and citizens out of California will accelerate. From July 2018 to July 2019, California saw a net loss of 197,594 people to other states. People are voting with their feet. Our current politicians seem to be blind to the concept that their actions have consequences.


Independent Contractor? Our association has one individual performing manager duties and another one performing maintenance. Is the manager, who is currently treated as an independent contractor, in fact an employee? It is much cheaper for the association to treat them as independent contractors. -Annie C.

RESPONSE: Yes, it's cheaper to treat employees as independent contractors because you don't pay all the required employee withholdings and worker's comp insurance. It's also illegal. If the two individuals only work for the association, they are your employees. See Employee vs Independent Contractor. Since there could be significant legal consequences plus penalties for treating employees as independent contractors, you need to address the situation. If your management company is willing, it can take them on as employees. If not, you will need to make them direct employees of the association. you should talk to legal counsel about how best to handle the situation.


Proxies. We have an election but some homeowners are abroad. They are afraid that the proxy procedure might delay their votes. Can they have someone mail the ballot to them out of the country and they will complete it and mail it back? –Lily C.

RESPONSE: Yes, the ballot package can be mailed or sent by FedEx (or some other expedited means) to the individuals. Once ballots are voted, they can be returned directly to the Inspector of Elections in the same manner.

Amending Bylaws. To amend our bylaws do we need a majority of the voting power of the association? Do we need secret ballots? Since we use cumulative voting for elections, do we need to have cumulative voting for amendments? –Rebecca B.

RESPONSE: Your bylaws should have a provision describing the approval requirement for amending your bylaws. Most require a majority of the membership but I've seen some use a majority of a quorum. Yes, you need secret ballots for a membership vote. "No" on using cumulative voting. It's only used in the election and recall of directors.


Leaky Shower. If a unit has a leaking shower pan (causing damage to the common areas and unit below), what can the board do to force the owner to fix it? -Michael I.

RESPONSE: Start with a hearing and fines. If that doesn't work, have legal counsel send a letter threatening a lawsuit and offering pre-litigation ADR. If the owner still refuses, head to court for an order that the owner repair the leak (or step aside and allow the association to make repairs and bill the owner for those repairs). If the leak is serious, you can bypass all the above and go straight into court on an ex parte basis. You should talk to legal counsel and decide which option is best.

Sub-Association Separation. Do you know of any sub-association successfully separating from the master association? If possible, how difficult was it? -Nick K.

RESPONSE: Theoretically, you can separate associations and you can also merge them into a single association. We've done both, but they are rare and can take years to accomplish. It requires (i) approval by the master association's membership and amendment of the master documents; (ii) approval by the sub-association and amendment of their documents; and (iii) may require approval by lenders. There is a great deal of legal work involved. Also, the physical layout must lend itself to the separation. If the sub-association shares roads and amenities with the master association, separation becomes untenable. In my experience, m
erging associations is much easier than separating them.

Recall Elections. Does SB 323 have any bearing on recall elections? Any insight would be most appreciated! -Susie M.

RESPONSE: The bill sponsored by Marjorie Murray's organization made a complete mess of recall elections. The timelines for each no longer match-up.

When the membership submits a recall petition, the date for a special meeting cannot be less than 35 nor more than 90 days from receipt of the petition. (Corp. Code §7511(c).) Before SB 323,
the vote to recall sitting directors and elect new ones could be done on a single ballot in ~60 days, start to finish.

Longer Timeline. Unfortunately, Ms. Murray's bill extended the timeline for electing replacement directors to ~120 days with a lot of built-in delays, which means the election of new directors cannot be on the same ballot as the recall of sitting directors. Now, it's a 2-step process. Members first vote to recall the board, which remains in place until another set of ballots are circulated to elect a new board. Inspectors of election are retained for each election.

More Expensive. Because of SB 323, recalls are now more expensive and take ~7 months to complete. Ms. Murray's anti-consumer legislation harmed homeowners. SB 323 should be rescinded in its entirety so we can return to reasonable timelines and procedures.


Driving With Eyes Closed. “To avoid stress, drive with your eyes closed." It is a sign of the times and an indication of our level of national contention that the reader did not see the obvious humor. Your dry and pointed humor trying to bring some sanity to absurd and ridiculous situations is one of the delightful features of the newsletter. -Leland B.

Trump-Biden Signs. Readers are now sending me photos of "offensive" Biden signs. I thought about adding them to the newsletter but decided against it. Those who are easily offended would be up in arms and I would have to go into hiding. Thank goodness the election will soon be over.

55+ Communities. I realize last week's feedback by Ron G. could have meant “occupancy” instead of “purchase.” However, in case he was accurately recounting his association’s current practices, it should be clarified that an individual of any age can purchase in a senior association...it’s just all about who actually resides in the home that the law cares about. -David B.

RESPONSE: Thank you for the clarification. Anyone can buy into a senior community but not everyone can reside in one. The age restriction applies to residents. For a good explanation of the subject, see the DRE Real Estate Bulletin from Spring 2019.

****


Kudos #1. I don't write as much as years ago, but I do thank you often silently. I still enjoy all the emails and posts. I have learned so much by way of the short yet powerful emails we have exchanged in the past. I tell anyone who will listen about your law firm, newsletter, website, and app. God knows, all folks can learn so much by just investing a little bit of time. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!!! -Masud O.

Kudos #2. Great and constant and well needed information in your Newsletter.....Boards need your vital and current information.......Keep up the needed, and valuable and most appreciated work in the Newsletter. –Sheldon S.

Kudos #3. Many thanks for having the best HOA legal newsletter in the country! -Chris

Kudos #4. Great newsletter...you are an awesome lawyer –David C.

Kudos #5. Your newsletter is AWESOME! Good information. –Nick K.

Kudos #6. Thank you for the terrific newsletter. You’ve helped our HOA in so many ways by keeping us up-to-date on changes in the law, making laws understandable to the lay person, suggesting practical solutions, and citing examples. We really appreciate your time and effort that goes into the maintenance of the Davis-Stirling.com website. -Netti


Statewide Updates: The State issued new guidance for Theme Parks, Sporting Events at Outdoor Stadiums, and Personal Care Services:

CDPH Amusement Park/Theme Park Guidance: Smaller parks with a capacity of 15,000 or less can open in the Orange Tier at a limited capacity of 25% or 500 people, whichever is less. Outdoor attractions only may open and ticket sales are limited to those residing in the same County that the park is located in. All parks can open at 25% capacity in the Yellow Tier. The Guidance provides further measures that must be taken to operate.

CDPH Sporting Events at Outdoor Stadiums and Racetracks Guidance: Professional sports operations (not youth, adult recreational, amateur, semi-pro or collegiate) can open in the Orange Tier with a limited capacity of 30% and in the Yellow Tier at 25% capacity. Tickets can only be sold to those traveling within a 120 mile radius. The Guidance provides further steps that must be taken to open.

CDPH Expanded Personal Care Services Guidance: Personal care services including esthetic, skin care, electrology, body art professionals, tattoo parlors, piercing shops and massage therapy may open for indoor operations in all Tiers.

NorCal Counties. The following Counties changed Tiers: Butte (Red Tier to Orange); Napa (Red Tier to Orange); Riverside (Red Tier to Purple); San Francisco (Orange Tier to Yellow); Shasta (Red Tier to Purple).

Alameda County has a new Health Order that is effective October 23, 2020.  Under the new Order, Alameda has allowed the following activities: indoor family entertainment centers that are naturally socially distanced at 25% capacity; indoor dining at 25% capacity or 100 persons, whichever is less; indoor worship services at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less; indoor movie theaters at 25% or 100 people, whichever is less; indoor retail and malls up to 50% with indoor food courts; indoor gyms and fitness centers at 25% capacity, no indoor pools; outdoor non-contact fitness classes up to 20 people including the instructor; and wedding and funeral services up to 25% of venue or 100 people, whichever is less. They have also aligned their social gathering requirements to the State, allowing three households (no more than 20 people).

Butte County move from the Red Tier to Orange Tier and issued a press release regarding the Butte County Move to Tier 3 and the impact of this move.

Madera County issued a press release indicating that they are On the Way to Red Tier. Currently the County meets the requirements, and must sustain the metrics for another week to make the move. They also issued notice of the updated CDPH Expanded Personal Care Services.

Marin County has issued Tools to Assist with Reopening of Marin Schools.

Mendocino County has a new Order. The Order clarifies that the 3 household gatherings allowed by the State are not allowed while the County remains in the Purple Tier.

Napa County moved from Red Tier to Orange Tier and issued new Business FAQs indicating the changes in openings as a result of the Tier change.

San Francisco moved to the Yellow Tier and issued a Press Release re Yellow Tier Openings. The press release indicates that effective October 27, non-essential offices can open at limited capacity; indoor climbing gyms can reopen at 25% capacity; indoor fitness centers can increase capacity to 25% without cardio or aerobic classes; some indoor personal services requiring limited face covering removal can open; and higher education can increase capacity of outdoor classes to 25 people and request an exception to the 2 hour limit. The timeline for future openings was updated as follows: November 3 indoor pools; indoor bowling alleys; indoor fitness can open locker rooms and showers; indoor dining can increase to 50% or up to 200 people with a 3 hour maximum per table; indoor worship can expand to 50% or up to 200 people; outdoor worship or protests can expand to 300 people; indoor museums, zoos and aquariums can increase to 50% capacity; movie theaters can increase capacity to 50% up to 200 people without concessions; some live performers in drive in setting; film productions can expand indoor activities and outdoor activities up to 50 people. Mid-November they hope to open bars not serving food for outdoor operations. San Francisco schools are being opened as their applications are approved.

Shasta County moved from Red Tier to Purple Tier. By October 23: bars/breweries/distilleries with no meals must close; restaurants, museums, zoos, aquariums, places of worship, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, wineries, family entertainment centers and card rooms can only open outdoors; retail and shopping centers can open indoors at 25% percent capacity; personal care services can open indoors.

Sonoma County issues an Amendment to the Health Order related to Residential Care Facilities Visitation. The County provided information related to the opening of personal care services and Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Guidance.

Tehama County issued Halloween Guidance.

Yolo County issued guidance indicating that gatherings are limited to 3 households with a maximum of 16 people, for two hours only, and only outdoors.

SoCal Counties. Imperial County amended its health order to align with the state’s gathering guidance allowing private gatherings of up to three (3) households with a maximum of 16 individuals. It also amended its order to align with state’s modification of expanded personal care services to all tiers.

Los Angeles County amended its health order to align with State’s guidelines for private gatherings for up to three households outdoors. Persons over the age of 65 or persons of any age that have active or unstable preexisting health conditions should continue to avoid gatherings.

Riverside County moved back to the purple tier on 10/20. Indoor operations for industries such as restaurants and gyms that were allowed in the red tier will need to move operations outside or close.

San Diego County amended its health order to include compliance with the state gathering guidelines, though San Diego county still limits gatherings to one household, with exceptions listed in paragraph 15 of the order.

Santa Barbara County continued its order to wear face coverings in high risk situations to November 15, 2020.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 10-22-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only. Ask us for a proposal to represent your association.

No Open Board Meetings

Oct 18, 2020 0 Views 0 Comments

QUESTION: We are currently holding executive session meetings only. Our clubhouse isn't big enough to hold open meetings for 112 members and still maintain social distancing. We tried explaining this members but they aren't having it. -Ed H.

RESPONSE: I agree with your members--you should hold open board meetings. Boards throughout California have been doing it for the past six months via video conference. You don't have to worry about social distancing since all 112 members can attend without leaving their units. Here are some links to videos on how to hold Zoom meetings.

    1. How to Use Zoom Video for Meetings
    2. Seven Zoom Meeting Tips

You can find guidelines for holding virtual board meetings here: Online Meeting Guide.

Special Assessment. Our HOA will be voting on a special assessment. One of the board members sent a letter to all owners encouraging them to vote for the assessment. Is this allowed? He claims he did this as a homeowner, not a director. –Marie S.

RESPONSE: Board members can campaign for a measure, provided they do so at their own expense. I
f they don't use association media or resources, the entire board could send a letter advocating for a special assessment. If they were to use the association's newsletter or website to urge approval, they would be required to provide equal access to members advocating a different point of view. (Civ. Code §5105(a).)

Entity Ownership? Our CC&Rs state that only a natural person, not an impersonal entity, can own a separate interest. In the Murray election rules, it has a clause that allows impersonal entities. Can we remove that to correspond with our CC&Rs? –Georgeann H.

RESPONSE: The statute does not require associations to allow ownership by impersonal entities. It merely states that if title is held by a legal entity that is not a natural person, the entity can appoint someone as a candidate for election to the board. (Civ. Code §5105(b)(2).) On the larger issue of ownership, I don't know that you can prevent an impersonal entity from owning property. It would likely be deemed an unreasonable restraint on alienation. You should have your association's legal counsel provide an opinion on this issue.

Communicating with Tenants. My neighbor rents out her condo. Our management company says that under no circumstances can it communicate directly with the tenant, but all communications must go through the owner. That makes no sense to me. Seems the association would have a right to communicate with the renter for certain things. –Mar

RESPONSE: There is nothing in the law barring associations from communicating with tenants. Many adopt a policy of only communicating with the owner but there are times when it's appropriate to contact the tenant. On many occasions I've written demand letters to tenants with a cc to the owner and followed up with a separate letter to the owner threatening to sue the owner if he didn't get his tenant under control.

No Insurance. For most HOA insurance, pandemics are excluded on coverage. Riders are not offered either. What should HOAs do if a resident contracts COVID and sues? -Bette M.

RESPONSE: When sued, always tender claims to insurance and provide your association's legal counsel with a copy. He/she will need to calendar the deadline for filing a response in case your insurance carrier is slow to respond or denies coverage. If coverage is denied, your association will be paying out of pocket to defend against the claim. This explains why some boards keep their facilities closed. They don't want to risk getting sued.

Resignation. One of our directors resigned. I nominated a past board member. The nomination was seconded. One director voted no and the president abstained. I was told it did not pass because the president abstained. Can you confirm this please? -Cheryl G.

RESPONSE: With four directors in your meeting, you need three affirmative votes to pass a motion. You only received two votes, which means the motion failed. If the president had remained silent when the vote was taken, it could have been counted as silent acquiescence and your motion would have passed.

 

Trump Flag #1. The picture of a Trump flag is contrived--it's not a picture of one flying in an association. -Jeff B.

RESPONSE: It's real and was hung on a wall. The photo was sent by a reader along with the question about offensive language.

Trump Flag #2. I take offense that you only used a Trump sign--what about  similar Biden signs? -Joan M.

RESPONSE: The reader did not send a Biden sign. If he had, I would have used it and the answer would have been the same.

Trump Flag #3. It would be good to note that NOBODY has a "right" to not be offended. It's kinda at the heart of our 1st Amendment guarantees and is among the foundations of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. –Fred C.

RESPONSE: With radical elements putting graffiti on walls, sidewalks and streets, and people putting election signage on cars and lawns and in windows, these are exciting times for those who are easily offended. As you pointed out, being offended is not a basis for destroying free speech rights.

 

Trump Flag #4. This must be a misprint: “To avoid stress, drive with your eyes closed"??? -Christine H.
 

RESPONSE: Smile.
 
Trump Flag #5. Is there a limit on the number of political signs that can be displayed? Can the HOA limit the number of signs to one per candidate? Civil Code §799.10 states that mobile homes can display a political sign (singular) but Civil Code §4710 uses signs (plural). –Ray M.
 
RESPONSE: I think boards can set a reasonable limit on the number of signs but not everyone agrees with me and they may be right. Filling your yard with one candidate's signs could be a form of speech. It reflects enthusiasm for a candidate. The only case I'm aware of deals with limitations on commercial signage. (Fourth La Costa v. Seith.) At this point, I recommend letting people display as many signs as they want. The election is only 16 days away. After that, things can return to normal(?).


AB 3182 #1. Does AB 3182 affect the enforcement of 55 and over senior associations? Currently our association prevents the purchase by individuals that do not meet our minimum age requirement of 55. –Ron G.

RESPONSE: As long as the legislature is out of session, your age restrictions are valid. Once the legislature reconvenes, it's anybody's guess. The stream of bad legislation coming out of Sacramento is truly distressing.

AB 3182 #2. If our governing documents prohibit an Airbnb situation and the only difference I can see with the new legislation is we will need to allow 25% rental/leases instead of the 20% stated in our CC&Rs, do we still need to come up with new rules? -Polly B.

 

RESPONSE: You don't need to do anything with your limitation on short-term rentals. You will, however, need to amend your governing documents to conform to the 25% requirement.


Kudos #1. Once again you have made my Sunday. Thank you for your letter. -Bill B.

Kudos #2. Thanks for sending this excellent resource. -Alice M.

Kudos #3. Your newsletter is my very favorite. What would board members do without it?! You’re brief and to the point; yet cover just about everything we need to know. Thank You! Thank you! -Ros M.

Kudos #4. As a past board president, I cannot thank you enough your enlightening newsletter. –Rebecca B.


NorCal Counties. The CDPH has issued new guidance for private gatherings which has been added to the chart.

The following Counties have changed Tiers: Alameda (Red Tier to Orange); Colusa (Purple Tier to Red); Kern (Purple Tier to Red); Kings (Purple Tier to Red); Placer (Red Tier to Orange); San Benito (Purple Tier to Red); Santa Clara (Red Tier to Orange); Sierra (Orange Tier to Yellow); Stanislaus (Purple Tier to Red); Sutter (Purple Tier to Red).

Alameda County issued a press release re: Orange Tier after moving to the Orange Tier. The County noted that Orange Tier activities allowed to open will not yet be opened and noted that they are working to update the Health Order to allow for the following activities: indoor dining, worship, and theaters at 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less; indoor retail and malls at 50% of capacity and limited food courts. Beginning October 16, outdoor activities, including playgrounds will be allowed following State guidance. The County also released guidance for the arts community and a Joint Statement of the Bay Area Health Officers urging flu shots.

Butte County issued a tip sheet for celebrating Halloween. Butte County noted that schools are now allowed to reopen for in-person instruction following the State’s guidance.

Contra Costa County issued new Openings at a Glance which has been added to the chart. They also issued recommendations for safe voting and a Joint Statement of the Bay Area Health Officers urging flu shots. The County noted that Elementary and secondary schools are allowed to open for in-person instruction without a waiver or permission, for more information residents can visit the Schools and Childcare page.

Fresno County issued an Amended Order effective 10/9/20. They have also linked to the CDPH Guidance for a Safer Halloween and Guidance for Private Gatherings.

Madera County has posted the CDPH Guidance for safer Halloween and gatherings (which has been added to the chart). The County noted that Elementary School waivers were approved for: Chawanakee, Chowchilla Adventist, ETAA Charter Golden Valley, St. Joachims.

Marin County issued Joint Statement of the Bay Area Health Officers urging flu shots.

Mono County/Town of Mammoth Lakes issued Guidance for Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos Celebrations.

Napa County linked to the CDPH Guidance regarding gatherings which has been added to the chart. They also updated their business FAQ sheet which has been updated on the chart.

Nevada County issued Halloween Guidance.

Placer County moved from the Red Tier to the Orange Tier.

Sacramento County has a new Order. The new Order indicates that all grade levels are permitted to conduct in-person instruction with measures in place and also updates to align with the new CDPH gathering guidance.

San Francisco issued a press release announcing reopening of playgrounds.

San Joaquin County has a new Order that implements the directives from CDPH on gatherings.

San Mateo County issued Halloween Guidance and the Joint Statement of Bay Area Health Officials Urging Flu Shots.

Santa Clara County has a new Risk Reduction Order and issued a press release indicating the impact of that order and businesses now permitted to open: Santa Clara County Press Release re Orange Tier. Santa Clara County issued the Joint Statement of Bay Area Health Officials Urging Flu Shots.

Santa Cruz County issued a press release regarding guidance for private gatherings and the Joint Statement of Bay Area Health Officials Urging Flu Shots.

Solano County linked to the CDPH Guidance for Private Gatherings.

Sonoma County issued guidance for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

Stanislaus County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier.

Sutter County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier.

Tehama County issued a press release related to the move from the Red Tier back to the Purple Tier: Tehama County Press Release dated 10/7/20.


READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backwards with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel. For a list of county restrictions and links to health department orders, see County Chart 10-15-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
ADAMS|STIRLING PLC

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. You can talk to us. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to California associations only.