California HOA Laws: How to Fight Back

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California HOA laws are constantly being amended to address current issues that face association members and associations. Disputes are quite common between associations and their members over issues such as delinquent dues and assessments, violations of rules and regulations and maintenance and repair issues.  It is recommended that you hire a California HOA attorney who can explain the California HOA laws to you, and give you advice on how to handle disputes with your HOA.

Resolving Disputes

If you are in a dispute with your HOA, you should start by looking at your association’s governing documents to determine your responsibilities and your association’s responsibilities. It’s important to understand the California HOA laws and your Association documents before you start a fight with your association.  Measures that you can take to resolve disputes include the following:

  • Contact the board and present your argument in an organized and calm manner.
  • Get other neighbor’s involved in issues that affect them as well. The more support you have the better.  Your association may back down and change the bylaws or CC&R’s.
  • Make sure you get everything in writing in case you need to litigate the matter in court.  It will be easier to win your case if you have written evidence supporting your position.
  • Follow the proper channels by filing any grievances with the association's grievance committee.
  • Sometimes it is not clear who is responsible for doing what. In this situation, you should consult with a California HOA attorney for advice.  You may have to file a lawsuit.

It is best to try and resolve issues in a friendly manner first.  If you are unsuccessful, then you should speak to an attorney.  The attorney can write an letter to your association to try and resolve the dispute.  However, sometimes it is necessary to file a lawsuit.

Types of Properties Covered under Association Laws

  • Condominiums.  Condo associations are responsible for maintaining the buildings, foundations, and structures, and common areas outside the unit, except for certain exclusive areas such as balconies, decks, patios and occasionally garages or carport spaces and any other exceptions stated in the CC&R’s.  Arguments may arise regarding doors, windows, ceiling replacements, drywall, plumbing pipes in walls, balcony railings and floors and patio slabs.  
  • Planned Developments (PD or PUD’s).  Planned development associations, where homes are attached such as townhouses, are responsible for roofs and outside painting of the townhouses, and sometimes foundations as well as common areas.   Arguments may arise over parking, noise and other issues such as decks or patios. 
  • Single family homes in communities with shared amenities.  Associations may be responsible for front lawns, landscaping, roofs, gates or fences, as well as painting.  Arguments may arise over tree root damage, irrigation systems and roofs and painting.  

Hire an Attorney

Whenever you are if you are involved in a dispute with your HOA, you should hire an HOA attorney to assist you. HOA matters can become heated and emotional, so it is best to have an experienced attorney handle the negotiations and resolve the dispute for you. The attorney is an expert in HOA and state laws, and can explain them to you and advise of your legal rights and remedies.

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