Jun 09

The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) is the nation’s largest player in the secondary mortgage market. To ensure a steady flow of monies into banks, Fannie Mae buys FHA insured loans from lenders.

Because many condominium developments have CC&Rs that prohibit units from being leased for less than 30 days (to avoid transient rentals), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac previously required that CC&Rs exempt lenders from the restriction so foreclosed units could be rented short-term. In the past thirty days, the FHA has abruptly adopted a “no-tolerance” stance on transient housing–including any exception for lenders.

Now, if a development’s CC&Rs contain any exceptions for transient housing, the FHA will refuse to certify the development until the CC&Rs have been amended to remove the language. That means a significant source of financing will dry up for the condo market in California. It will also impact retirees who need a reverse mortgage to stay in their units since most are FHA insured.

RECOMMENDATION: If your association wants FHA certification and your CC&Rs contain an exception for mortgagee transient housing, you have two options. The first is to amend your CC&Rs–a difficult and sometimes costly process. The second is to wait to see if the FHA adopts a more rational approach to the issue. I would not count on the latter.

The Community Associations Institute is conducting a survey to see how many developments are affected by the FHA’s erratic policy shifts. To take the survey go to CAI Survey.

Thank you to Anne Gutierrez of Project Approval Services for providing valuable background information on this issue.

OPEN FORUM

QUESTION: There is a notice on our bulletin board stating: “General Session – homeowner forum is 7 pm sharp. All owners are welcome to address the board until all owners are heard. Once Open Forum is closed the Board meeting will NOT allow commentary during their session as it is a corporate meeting of the directors only.” Can the Board do this? If something is being discussed, homeowners are not allowed to ask questions for clarity???

ANSWER: Restricting homeowner comments to the Open Forum is legal and a common industry practice. It is the same procedure used by city councils. Your board is elected to conduct the association’s business. As volunteers, they need to get through the agenda so they can get home to their families. Large associations tend to be more formal with their proceedings whereas small ones are less formal and often allow audience participation. The degree of participation is entirely discretionary with the board. Also, by statute the board’s ability to answer questions is limited.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

QUESTION: The manager of our community publishes my birthday and anniversary date on our community bulletin board along with the information of other owners in the month of their occasion. Along with our name, birthday-anniversary date, she also includes our unit number. I have asked and written to her several times asking to be removed from these lists as I consider them an invasion of my privacy. What can I do to make her stop?

ANSWER: Your request for privacy is perfectly reasonable and I am surprised the manager is so indifferent to your privacy. Your next step is to make a request of your board at an open meeting. If that does not work, make an IDR demand. If all else fails, you might consider a small claims action. You don’t need to hire a lawyer and the filing fee is small.

I want to thank everyone for the outstanding response we received to the introduction of our cloud-based Smart HOA management system. A large number of associations have already signed up. To learn more about this inexpensive, easy-to-use program, attend today’s webinar at 4:00 p.m. or one of our Wednesday offerings:

    •  June 12 at 10:30 a.m.
    •  June 12 at 1:30 p.m.

To sign-up, click on webinar registration. Any board member or manager who wants to try the program can have a free 30-day trial. If you have any questions, contact us at info@SmartHOA.com.

FEEDBACK

Wasps #1. Good guidance on pests. I have one question: Which of the two pests cited in the first sentence of your answer does the advice apply to [wasps or the IRS]? -Darryl H.

RESPONSE: The IRS…

Wasps #2. I’m responding to your answer regarding wasps. Not all wasps are bad. Paper wasps do not sting and are not aggressive. They actually do a service by eating insects. If you’re referring to yellow jackets, that is another story. They are a pest, can be quite aggressive, and have a nasty sting. I’m just asking you to get your wasps straight before maligning them all, and having a possible colony of paper wasps killed for no good reason. -Jeanne K.

RESPONSE: I must have missed that in my court-ordered PETA training.

Wasps #3. Your wasp eradication suggestion may be short-sighted. Just because there are wasps doesn’t mean it’s the association’s responsibility or management’s. The writer didn’t say there were nesting wasps, only that wasps were in the area. The association and management have only the duty to eliminate wasps if they are nesting on common property, but if they are nesting next door and visiting flowers in the community there is no duty to the residents. -Rob F.

RESPONSE: Good point. If the wasps are just passing through, there is nothing the association can do. If they are nesting in the common areas, that’s when the association steps in.

Peering Over Fences. In our CC&Rs we have the following: “The right and easement for its agents and employees to enter any Residential Lot when necessary in connection with any emergency, maintenance, landscaping, inspection for compliance with the Governing Documents, and/or construction work for which the Association is responsible…..” Is this statement legal? -Rhea W.

RESPONSE: I’s legal. And it is a fairly common provision. For emergencies and necessary maintenance, the association needs an easement to enter onto lots (with appropriate notice).

Conflict of Interest. For all the people who think they know the right answer to your “Conflict of Interest” question, they should READ THE NEW STATUTE (Civ. Code §5350). It adds quite a bit to Corp. Code §7233 & §7234 and to the law on conflicts of interest in HOA boards generally. -Phillip M.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers. When your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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Jun 02

I am proud to announce the launch of “Smart HOA,” a cost effective, cloud-based management program for associations of all shapes and sizes, whether they be 2 units or 20,000 units.

Information Management. I designed Smart HOA to give boards and managers the tools they need to effortlessly manage their communities and the enormous amounts of information they generate, such as:

  • Member/Tenant Information: Names, addresses, phones, emails, and emergency contacts, pets, vehicles, storage spaces, etc. (and easily print up-to-date mailing labels).
  • Rules Violations: Warning letters, hearing notices, incident reports, photos and hearing results.
  • Work Orders: Generate and track work orders, materials and labor costs and notes about repairs.
  • Parking: Vehicle and parking space information.
  • Guest Access: Track guest lists, guest and vendor entries, and print parking passes on the fly.
  • Moving and Deliveries: Authorized move-ins and outs, deliveries, damage deposits and special instructions.
  • Package Tracking: Track packages being received and picked up (also compatible with barcode readers).
  • Architectural Applications: Checklists, date stamping, deposits, etc.

Green Technology. Because Smart HOA is “green” it allows communities to go paperless. Governing documents, minutes, work orders, violation letters, photographs and the like can be stored in the program and viewed by the board and management at the touch of a screen.

Owner Portal. I included a homeowners portal in the program so homeowners can (i) opt in and out of receiving notices by email, (ii) opt in and out of the membership list, (iii) add and remove guests for immediate viewing by the front desk and gate guards, (iv) receive notice of package deliveries and (v) view all of the association’s governing documents online.

Cloud Based. Because the management system is cloud-based, it can be accessed from any device with access to the internet–desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones from anywhere in the world. That means there is no need to purchase expensive software or expensive equipment for running it, or hiring IT people to load and configure the program. We handle everything on our end on high-speed, secure servers.

Pricing. Instead of expensive front-end costs and costly updates, Smart HOA is provided at a low monthly fee with no long-term commitments.

Webinar. To see what it looks like, watch a short video describing Smart HOA. Then sign-up for one of our free webinars on June 9 at 4:00 p.m. or June 12 at 10:30 a.m or again at 1:30 p.m. See Webinar Registration. Any board or manager who wants to try the program can have a 30-day free trial. If you have questions, contact us at info@SmartHOA.com.

WASPS

QUESTION: We have wasps in the common areas but management refuses to do anything about them. What can we do?

ANSWER: Wasps are almost as bad as a swarm of IRS agents. Both are safety hazards that should be avoided. The association needs to call pest control. If management refuses to take action, you and your neighbors need to show up en masse at a board meeting to demand that something be done. The board has a duty to reasonably protect the safety of residents. The cost of eliminating wasps is considerably less expensive than litigation.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

QUESTION: The president of our board wants to install a window facing a side wall of our building. He proposes to do this at his personal expense. Any changes to the outside of our building require board approval. Can he vote on his own request?

ANSWER: No he cannot vote on his request. He has a conflict of interest and must recuse himself from the vote. This principle has been codified in the Davis-Stirling rewrite in Civil Code §5350(b)(5) which takes effect January 1, 2014.

FEEDBACK

Peering Over Fences. We had the same problem with board members looking over fences for CC&R violations. We called the police who told the directors they could be arrested under “Peeping Tom” laws and that they could only look from the common areas at a yard. One board member was cited by the police for trespassing because she was using a step ladder to peer over fences. It cost her $1,500 in fines. In northern California where I grew up you could get shot for peeking over a fence. -B. Stelter

Renters. Great newsletter this week! Always enjoy reading all the situations. Thanks for the clarification on CAR. This has offered some insight on how we can adjust our CC&Rs for owners with renters. Wish us luck on getting the owners to approve the changes. Hopefully, they will see how it helps maintain their investment as well. -Margie M.

RESPONSE: Since adopting a rental cap after January 1, 2012 has no practical value, occupancy requirements are the best way to go.

Residency Requirement. Restricting a new owner from running for the board because he knows nothing about what’s going on…in our association the majority of residents, new or old, know nothing about what’s going on! -Pat C.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers. When your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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May 26

QUESTION: How difficult is it to disband an HOA? Our association has common areas and single family homes. We have a large group who would like to disband the HOA so we can stop it from peering into our yards.

ANSWER: It is almost impossible to disband an association–you need it to maintain the common areas. As for peering into yards, if you are unhappy with a fly buzzing around your horse, you don’t kill the horse, you kill the fly. If you are unhappy with rules enforcement, you don’t disband the association, you change the rules. If the rest of the membership agrees with you, that should be easy enough to accomplish.

APPROVING MINUTES

QUESTION: I am part of an entirely new board that was recently elected. We were presented with a backlog of unapproved meeting minutes. How do minutes get approved when no directors on the current board were at the meetings being approved?

ANSWER: I checked with Attorney-Parliamenatrian Jim Slaughter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure. It turns out that directors who were not present at the meeting for which minutes are being approved (or even on the board when the meeting occurred) can vote to approve minutes. The association as an organization has a continuing legal existence, even if specific members come and go over time. Accordingly, the new board can approve the minutes of the old board. The only downside is the minutes might contain errors of which the new board would be unaware.

Fixing Errors. If at some future date errors are discovered, they can be corrected. The board that discovers the error can amend the minutes, even though it may be years after the fact. The correction can be made by a “Motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted.” (Robert’s Rules, 11th ed., pp. 469 & 475.)

RECOMMENDATION: For more information, see Chapter 11 of The Complete Idiot’s Guide in which Jim discusses minutes–what should be in them, what should not, approving minutes, changing minutes after the fact, and executive session minutes. He also provides templates.

A few years ago I kicked around ideas for a product that would fill a void and meet the needs of associations small and large–a product with unrivaled service and value, something uniquely Davis-Stirling.com.

Today I am proud to announce that after years of work, the product has arrived. In next week’s newsletter I will announce what I’ve been up to for the past three years. Stay tuned! -Adrian Adams

FEEDBACK

Director Qualifications #1. I always enjoy reading what other associations are dealing with–makes our problems pale in comparison (usually). We just got someone off our board who had missed seven of the last nine board meetings. Can we make it a requirement that anyone running for the board be current on their dues? When the aforementioned board member ran for the board she was nearly $13,000 in arrears and declared bankruptcy the day before the association was foreclosing on her unit. -Nancy H.

RESPONSE: Yes, you can amend your bylaws to require that directors be in good standing to be elected to and remain on the board.

Residency #1. We have an owner that lives offsite about 20 miles from the complex, he rents out the unit, can this offsite owner run for the board? -Barbara K.

RESPONSE: If your bylaws do not require that he reside in the development, he can run for the board.

Residency #2. We have investors who own 30+ units but do not reside in the community. Can we make living in the community a director qualification? -Teresa H.

RESPONSE: Yes, you can make residency a requirement for serving on the board. You would need to amend your bylaws.

Renters #1. I struggle with why our legislators don’t get the need for rental restrictions. As of this month we now have 5 of 8 units rented. At 62.5% rental, anyone trying to sell won’t find a buyer qualified with FHA, Freddie or Fannie. Our legislators don’t see the harm they caused. -David A.

RESPONSE: You can thank the California Association of Realtors (CAR) for the destructive piece of legislation (SB 150) that crippled the ability of associations cap the number of rentals. CAR railroaded the legislation over the objections of two state-wide organizations and one national organization that warned CAR of the damage it would cause.

Renters #2. If only owners can attend board meetings, how is it possible for a non-owner to be on the board? Our CC&Rs have no restrictions on who can be on the board. It can be anyone off the street. So in this case isn’t it absurd to restrict attendance at board meetings to owners only? We are left with a situation where, when a non-owner is on the board, that person cannot attend the meeting. Welcome to Catch 22. -Anne B.

RESPONSE: Just because renters don’t have a legal right to attend board meetings does not mean you should ban them from attendance. Also, electing them to the board changes their status and gives them the right (and the obligation) to attend meetings.

Small HOAs. I live in a small (18-unit) condo association. Will the new rules about annual disclosures apply to HOAs of our size? -John B.

RESPONSE: Despite the disproportionate burden on small associations, everything in the Davis-Stirling Act applies to all associations regardless of size. The only concession to small associations is AB 968 now before the Legislature that would simplify the voting process for associations with fifteen or less units.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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May 19

QUESTION: We have a lot of rentals in our association and most of our rules violations are from renters. The biggest problem we have is pet violations. Can we ban renters from having pets?

ANSWER: There is disagreement in the legal community over whether associations can prohibit renters’ pets. Following are both sides of the argument:

Renter Pet Rights. The argument for renters’ pets is the general proposition that boards cannot adopt rules inconsistent with the CC&Rs. If the CC&Rs allow owners to have pets, that right is passed to tenants. Except for voting rights and the right to attend board meetings, which are reserved to members only, renters enjoy all of the rights and privileges of an owner when they rent a unit. In Liebler v Point Loma Tennis Club, the court held that when a common interest owner leases his unit the renter automatically receives all rights to use and enjoy the common areas.

No Renter Pet Rights. The other side argues that the Liebler decision dealt only with the transfer of common area usage rights to a tenant, and keeping a pet is not a common area right. As a result, Liebler v. Point Loma cannot be used to support a tenant’s right to keep a pet. Following are additional arguments:

1. Statutory Interpretation. The Davis-Stirling Act does not support renters’ pets. The Act was amended in 2001 to state:

No governing documents shall prohibit the owner of a separate interest within a common interest development from keeping at least one pet within the common interest development, subject to reasonable rules and regulations of the association. (Civ. Code §1360.5(a).)

The key word is “owner.” The statute gives rights to owners not renters. The Legislature could have expanded the section to include renters or even more broadly to “residents” but chose not to. Many other provisions in the Act reference renters (such as Civ. Code §1360.2) but the Legislature chose not to include them when it came to pets.

2. Landlord/Tenant
. Apartment building owners routinely prohibit tenants from keeping pets in apartments as do condominium owners. When it comes to associations, the Act specifically authorizes the adoption of reasonable rules concerning the leasing of units. (Civ. Code §1360.5(a).) Because of the transient nature of renters and the difficulty of enforcing rules against them, it is reasonable for an association to restrict renters from keeping pets.

3. Timeshares. When it comes to timeshares, the argument for pet restrictions is even stronger. Timeshare associations have the right to prohibit both fractional owners and renters from bringing pets into units. Business & Professions Code §11211.7 enumerates the sections of Davis-Stirling that apply to timeshare ownership but does not include pet restrictions. In other words, Civil Code §1360.5 does not apply to timeshare associations.

RECOMMENDATION: Because the law unsettled on this issue, associations should consult legal counsel before adopting renter pet restrictions.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

QUESTION: In our CC&Rs everyone becomes a member of our association upon purchasing a condo. In rewriting our CC&Rs the board is proposing a six-month to two-year residency requirement before a homeowner can run for the board. Your thoughts on the legality of this?

ANSWER: It’s legal. Residency requirements are common in the public sector. Not only must candidates reside in the district they want to represent, candidates must reside for a specified period of time. The time period varies depending on the particular jurisdiction and the office sought. Following are two examples:

President. Natural born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years of age, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. (Art 2, §1, Para, 5, U.S. Const.)

Calif. State Senators and Assembly Members. Eighteen years of age, a citizen of the United States, a registered voter, a resident of the legislative district for one year, and a resident of California for 3 years immediately preceding the General Election. (Calif. Const. Art. IV, §2c, S/S Ops.)

Outsiders. The idea behind residency requirements is to ensure candidates have ties to the community they represent. I have one association where a candidate nominated himself to run for the board while he was in escrow to buy a unit. He was disqualified from running because he had not yet closed escrow and therefore was not a member. He turned out to be a nightmare for the community who repeatedly violated CC&R restrictions and alienated neighbors. His blatant architectural violations resulted in litigation, which he lost. He eventually sold and moved out, much to everyone’s relief.

RECOMMENDATION: Residency requirements give neighbors a chance to evaluate candidates before electing them to the board. If an association decides to adopt them, residency requirements should be reasonable not excessive.

FEEDBACK

Zogby Poll. Re the Statistical Review, I can believe 80% positive and 22% neutral and 8% negative even though I didn’t want to at first as I’m on the negative cast. In our association of 8 units we can barely get 3 owners to participate so guess 5 of 8 (63%) are positive because they don’t have to do anything and get away with it. While the other 3 (37%) are pretty teed-off because they have to do all the work to keep the place running. I can also tell you I lived in a 200-unit complex and the HOA could only get 10 people to ever do anything like serving on the board (so 95% positive, 5% negative) It’s those who serve that are the ones who have a negative view because they know what is really going on versus those with their heads in the sand. -David A.

Alphabet Soup #1
. Now I know what some of the professional certifications represent and who issues them. Some people have so many of these after there names and I didn’t know what they all meant. I have a MBA (I don’t show it, but graduated first in my class from Rutgers University, Division of Professional Accounting), PhD (six long years at UCLA) and CPA (since 1974 and I passed all four parts in one sitting). Also a CFE (certified fraud examiner). By wife is not sufficiently impressed and I still take out the garbage cans every Sunday. -Ron S.

Alphabet Soup #2. As a retired California lawyer I am a bit amused by designations following most any name. I have never used my JD degree designation because I considerate presumptuous (arrogant) and suggestive of “doctor” amongst medical folks. I suppose on a business card with full education qualifications for field of specialty there can be use in non-medical endeavors that does make sense.You say you prefer “Esq.” You know in history past that was a member of the gentry “below knight.”

RESPONSE: A member of the gentry? I’m starting to feel entitled.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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May 12

QUESTION: As a community manager, I already have an AMS and CCAM and recently earned a PCAM designation. I noticed that everyone lists them differently behind their name. Is there a proper order?

ANSWER: Good question. Our industry has become more sophisticated and more managers have been earning multiple designations. Unfortunately, style manuals do not agree on how designations should be handled. Following are my observations.

Alphabet Soup. Some authorities, particularly in Europe, advocate listing all degrees and designations in the order earned such as: Adam Smith, BA, AMS, CCAM, MBA, CMCA, PCAM, CPM, PhD. Doing so provides a history of the person’s educational endeavors. However, many view the practice as pretentious. Hence, the trend in the United States is to list only the most advanced degree earned. For example, those who earn a doctorate do not list their high school diploma, undergraduate and graduate degrees: Adam Smith, HS, BA, MA, PhD. Instead, they simply sign their name, Adam Smith, PhD.

No Periods. The trend is also away from putting periods behind the degree’s initials so it becomes Adam Smith, MBA not Adam Smith, M.B.A. Even the cherished “Ph.D.” is increasingly used without periods: Adam Smith, PhD.

Manager Designations. These same rules apply to manager designations. If a manager has earned multiple designations from a single organization, only the most advanced one is used. For example, the Community Associations Institute offers two designations and a certification (in order from highest to lowest):

PCAM: Professional Community Assn Manager
AMS: Association Management Specialist
CMCA: Certified Manager of Community Assns

If a manager earns all three designations, only the highest one is used: Adam Smith, PCAM. Listing the CMCA certification is unnecessary since a manager must hold it as prerequisite to earning a PCAM. Similarly, the AMS is dropped because the PCAM is more advanced.

Specialty Certifications. CAI also offers specialty designations such as:

LSM: Large-Scale Manager
RS: Reserve Specialist

A manager could include the specialty along with the PCAM (Adam Smith, LSM, PCAM) but to be consistent with the rules stated above, the better approach is to drop the PCAM since managers must earn a PCAM before being awarded an LSM. Hence it would be Adam Smith, LSM.

Other Certifying Organizations. The same is true for certifications from the California Association of Community Managers, which offers the following:

CCAM: Certified Community Association Manager
MCAM: Master of Community Assn Management
Plus various specialty certificates.

If a manager earns a CCAM and an MCAM, only the MCAM is used since it is more advanced and requires a CCAM as a precursor. Accordingly it would be Adam Smith, MCAM not Adam Smith, MCAM, CCAM.

Merging Designations. It gets tricky when a manager earns designations from two or more certifying organizations. Which one is listed first–designations from the Community Associations Institute or those from the California Association of Community Managers? Is it Adam Smith, PCAM, CCAM or Adam Smith, CCAM, PCAM? Or do you keep one and drop the other?

The rule of thumb is to list the most advanced/prestigious one first. Is the CCAM more prestigious because it is specific to California or ithe PCAM because it crosses state lines? Each manager will have to decide for him/herself which order to use.

RECOMMENDATION: Because there is no consensus on how degrees and certifications are listed behind one’s name, I can only offer my observations. Anything beyond one or two certifications behind a manager’s name should be reviewed as to which ones are superfluous. Otherwise, the manager is wading into alphabet soup and risks looking pretentious. I could sign my name as Adrian J. Adams, JD, MBA, BA, CPM, PCAM, SGT, ESQ (I earned them all) but I prefer, Adrian Adams, Esq.

CHANGE IN
ANNUAL DISCLOSURES

I’ve been contacted by people nervous about a change in the Davis-Stirling Act’s annual disclosures. Disclosures in the existing Act and the Rewrite remain largely the same; they were simply reorganized into a “Budget Report” and an “Annual Policy Statement.”

Annual Budget Report. As required by Civil Code §5300(b), the new “Annual Budget Report” contains all financial-related items and must include the following:

  1. A budget,
  2. A summary of reserves,
  3. A reserve funding plan,
  4. If reserve repairs will not be undertaken for particular components, a justification for the decision,
  5. If special assessments will be required to cover reserve items (with estimated amount, commencement date, and duration of the assessment),
  6. How reserves will be funded,
  7. Procedures used to calculate reserves,
  8. Disclosure of outstanding loans, and
  9. A summary of the association’s insurance.

Annual Policy Statement. As required by Civil Code §5310(a), the new “Annual Policy Statement” must include the following:

  1. The name and address of the person designated to receive official HOA communications,
  2. A statement that members may have notices sent to up to two different addresses,
  3. The location, if any, for posting a general notice,
  4. Notice of a member’s option to receive general notices by individual delivery,
  5. Notice of a member’s right to receive copies of meeting minutes,
  6. A statement of assessment collection policies,
  7. A statement describing policies in enforcing lien rights,
  8. A statement describing the association’s discipline policy,
  9. A summary of dispute resolution procedures,
  10. Architectural approval requirements, and
  11. The mailing address for overnight payment of assessments.

January 1, 2014. The new disclosure requirements do not go into effect until January 1, 2014. As long as your association’s notice period falls in the 2013 calendar year, you can continue to use your existing disclosure package. What matters is the date the disclosures are mailed out, not the date they are received. Accordingly, anything mailed in 2013, including reserve studies and reserve disclosures, continue to use the existing Davis-Stirling language and Civil Code numbering scheme. Starting January 1, 2014, everyone must switch over to the new Civil Codes and language.

ELECTRONIC BALLOTING

Thanks to your letters and phone calls (over 200), Assembly Bill 1360 passed the Assembly. AB 1360 allows associations to save money by switching from paper to electronic ballots as is now done in 25 other states. I will let everyone know when it’s time to start calling state senators.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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May 05

More kudos to my Office Administrator Laura Whipple. After completing two conversion charts for the Davis-Stirling Act and the Rewrite, Laura went through every paragraph in both Acts and added links between the two so everyone can easily move between them without the need of a conversion chart. It’s quite impressive.

To see what I mean, take a look at the existing Davis-Stirling Act and the Rewrite and look for  brackets in the text that indicate [Old: Civ. Code] and [New: Civ. Code].

STATISTICAL REVIEW


The Foundation for Community Association Research retained Zogby International to conduct a nationwide survey of community associations. The 2012 poll found that California was number two behind Florida as the state with the greatest number of associations. Zogby found that:

1. 70% of those polled rate their community association experience as positive and 22% were neutral. [That means that only 8% were negative--unfortunately, the ones who legislators seem to listen to and who generate the most litigation.]

2. 88% stated that their board strives to serve the best interests of their community.

3. 81% say they get a “good” or “great” return on their assessments. [Wish we could say the same for our state and federal taxes.]

RECOMMENDATION: The report is interesting. See 2012 Statistical Review.

PRE-LITIGATION
ATTORNEYS’ FEES

A case was recently published that addresses the question of pre-litigation attorneys’ fees, specifically those incurred by parties satisfying ADR efforts required by the Davis-Stirling Act.

Factual Summary. A homeowner built a cabana in his backyard without obtaining prior approval from the homeowners association. In response, the association levied daily fines and then sued the owner.

Court’s Ruling. The court determined that the actions by the association in demanding removal of the cabana and levying daily fines were not in good faith because (i) no one from the architectural committee actually visited the alleged violation until long after the initial decision to require removal of the cabana, (ii) the association denied the owner’s violation appeal even while the ADR process was ongoing; and (iii) the association’s actions were based on the owner’s failure to secure prior approval not on the improvement itself. Moreover, the court noted that the association’s enforcement was inconsistent–it had approved similar structures for other members. As a result, the court ruled against the association.

Attorneys’ Fees. The owner, as prevailing party, asked for attorneys’ fees going back to the unsuccessful ADR engaged in prior to litigation. Normally, fees incurred prior to the filing of a lawsuit are not awarded. Here, the court concluded that pre-litigation ADR mandated by the Davis-Stirling Act was the actual start of litigation. Accordingly, the owner was awarded those fees as well. (Grossman v. Park Fort Washington Assn.)

HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?

Patrick Prendiville of the Prendiville Insurance Agency and I will speak on the impact of the Trayvon Martin shooting on homeowner association security, insurance and volunteer liability issues. The presentation will include:

• Implied security
• Levels of security
• Using volunteers
• Board liability
• Limits of insurance coverage
• When safeguards fail

The program is sponsored by the Coachella Valley Chapter of CAI and will be held Friday, May 10, 2013 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Palm Valley Country Club, 39-205 Palm Valley Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211. To RSVP, contact Wendy Van Messel at wvanmessel@cai-cv.org or 760-341-0559.

FEEDBACK

N. Korea #1. Not sure if you are being “tongue in cheek” about the Rodman/Kim Summit in North Korea; but, if it is real, you have your work cut out for you. I am not sure who is the bigger “Nut”, Rodman or Kim. Lots of luck. -Tom M.

N. Korea #2. Loved your last newsletter and tons of luck in North Korea, maybe you can attempt to redirect the missiles. -Terri V.

N. Korea #3. HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA THAT’S FUNNNNYY ADRIAN!! YOU HAVE A NEW CAREER!!! -CARL B.

Calling a Lawyer. On our board, the board president claims that only he can call a lawyer. The other directors must ask him a question and he will decide if it should be passed on or if a follow-up question is permitted. -T.S.

RESPONSE: He is correct, provided the rest of the board agrees to that arrangement. For most associations, making the president and the manager the contact points for the attorney is a common sense way of keeping legal expenses under control. Otherwise, allowing five directors to call and talk the ear off the attorney will significantly run up legal fees. Moreover, the attorney may receive conflicting instructions from five directors. Having said that, the president cannot block requests for legal guidance on issues. If, during a board meeting, a director asks for a legal opinion on an issue and a majority of the directors support that request, the board president cannot overrule the request. (FYI–The director requesting the legal opinion can also vote on his own request.)

Animal Sacrifices. I am the board President who wrote about the tenants in my neighborhood having Santeria ceremonies and sacrificing animals. I am overjoyed to tell you that the animal sacrificing tenants moved out in a hurry the day before Passover. The garage altar was the last thing they moved. I drove by during the move and saw a 3-foot tall statue of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns with blood on His face. He was eerily sitting in the back seat of a car packed tight with clothes. Board members were dreading the Santeria Easter ceremony but the tenants moved just in time to hold the ceremony elsewhere!! Thank you for publishing my question. -Christine D.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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Apr 07

QUESTION: The board is wasting our money calling a lawyer for anything and everything. Our dues are already too high–does a lawyer have to be called every time someone sneezes??

ANSWER: It depends on whether its an allergy or a cold. Knowing when to call legal counsel is no easy matter for boards. There is no need to call an attorney for routine decisions. However, eliminating legal counsel altogether can backfire and subject directors to potential liability.

Personal Liability. As volunteers, directors are protected against personal liability by the Business Judgment Rule, i.e., when they perform their duties (i) in good faith, (ii) in a manner the director believes to be in the best interests of the association, and (iii) with such care, including reasonable inquiry, as an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances.

Breach of Duties. As part of their reasonable inquiry or “due diligence,” boards can seek the advice of legal counsel. (Corp. Code §7231(b).) Failure to seek advice on an important legal issue that results in damage to the association could serve as the basis for an action against the board for breach of their fiduciary duties.

Following are categories of matters and events where boards should seek legal advice:

1.
Amending Documents. Whenever CC&Rs and bylaws are amended or restated, legal counsel legal should be involved in drafting and recording the changes.

2. Architectural. Failure to enforce as well as arbitrary and capricious enforcement can lead to costly litigation. Whenever an architectural dispute arises, legal counsel should be called to discuss how to achieve proper resolution or to position the association for litigation.

3. Assessment Collection. Setting up proper collection policies and consistently following those policies is important to maintaining the association’s finances and minimizing legal challenges.

4. Contracts. Agreements not reviewed by an attorney can have significant hidden liabilities.

5. Ethics. Whenever a director or committee member has a conflict of interest and refuses to recuse themselves, it is time to call legal counsel.

6. Injuries. Whether it be slips and falls or other types of injuries in the common areas involving residents, guests, employees, vendors or otherwise, injuries should immediately be reported to insurance and to the association’s attorney so conditions can be documented and steps taken to protect against further injury.

7. Lawsuit Threatened. In addition to putting the association’s insurance carrier on notice of a potential claim, boards should talk to counsel about how best to respond to the threat so as to (i) reduce the risk that a claim is actually filed, (ii) better position the association to defend itself in the event one is filed, and (iii) take the matter into ADR if appropriate.

8. Lawsuit Served. Tendering a claim to the association’s insurance carrier is the first order of business. Sending a copy of the complaint to the association’s attorney is the second. General counsel needs to know of the litigation so he/she can protect the association’s interest in the event insurance is slow to respond or declines coverage. In addition, the board may need guidance on how to respond to the plaintiff on issues outside of the litigated matter.

9. Personnel. The most common high-risk areas are when an employee is hired, disciplined or fired. Employment litigation tends to be expensive so it is best to avoid it.

10. Recall Petition. Emotions run high in recall elections and issues of defamation often arise. Failure to properly handle a recall can lead to significant problems.

11. Request for Reasonable Accommodation. Failure to properly evaluate and respond to a request for disability accommodation can result in costly litigation.

12. Rules & Regulations. At least once, the association’s rules and regulations should be reviewed to make sure proper fine and hearing procedures have been established and to ensure they are enforceable (and not discriminatory, such as rules against children or restrictions on who may use pools, etc.). If enforcement issues are more than routine because of the particular individuals involved or because the issues may be more complex than normal such as with architectural issues, then legal counsel should be consulted before matters deteriorate into litigation.

13. Vendor Disputes. Disputes between the association and its vendors can erupt into litigation. Legal counsel needs to analyze appropriate contract provisions, evaluate the alleged breach, and advise the board on how best to resolve the dispute.

COMMENT: To keep costs under control, many law firms (ours included) offer retainer programs where boards can make unlimited free telephone calls to an attorney. That way, if an issue comes up and directors wonder if they should call legal counsel, they can do so without incurring any expense.

CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

QUESTION: Our condominium complex has 216 units. The City Housing Authority owns 110 of our units, all of which are used for Section 8 housing. This has a very big impact on our HOA re complying with our CC&Rs, obtaining FHA insurance, being able to get reverse mortgages (too many rentals), and the ability of that entity to use its votes for and against nominees for the board. Could you address my issues in your newsletter?

ANSWER: You need help from someone way above my pay grade. This might be a good time to start a prayer group.

FEEDBACK

Restricting Candidates. We dealt with the horror of a husband and wife on the board at the same time. They’re gone now but a year later we’re still trying to put the place back together after all the deferred maintenance/cost savings they implemented which is costing far more than if it had been done right at the time. My advice: immediately get going on changing the bylaws to disallow more than one person from the same unit to be on the board at the same time. While we were at it, we also did away with cumulative voting. -Nancy H.

Litigation Experience
. I notice from your recent newsletter that your new attorney has lots of experience in litigation. When there are HOA conflicts, I hope you are encouraging boards to seek litigation only as a last resort and only then after all other attempts to solve the problem have failed. Litigation is expensive and leaves very hard feelings. What is the point of that? We really need to learn how to work together to live in community, and this means learning to solve problems without filing a lawsuit against our neighbors. -Jan M.

RESPONSE: I prefer that my attorneys have solid litigation experience, the more the better. With that experience, they can more easily advise boards on the significant financial and emotional costs of litigation as well as the vagaries of litigation. (Vagary [vey-guh-ree] n., erratic, unpredictable, capricious.) In the event attempts at resolution fail, I want my attorneys to know how best to represent our clients in court.

NO NEWSLETTER

Sorry, no newsletters for the next two (maybe three) weeks. I will be traveling to North Korea with Dennis Rodman to try and talk some sense into that country’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and avert World War III.

In between my talks with Mr. Kim, I will be gearing up for oral arguments in the Court of Appeals in one case and testifying as an expert in another.

My office manager tells me I will be too preoccupied by these events to write any newsletters. I always do whatever she tells me.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or email us at info@adamskessler.com.

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Mar 31

QUESTION: A renter was elected to the board because our bylaws are silent on who can bea director. Now we have a husband an wife who want to run for the board. We don’t have time to amend our bylaws before the election, can the board simply prohibit renters and spouses in our Election Rules?

ANSWER: There is a split of opinion in the legal community on this issue.

Opinion - Boards Can Add Director Qualifications. Some attorneys believe that additional qualifications may be imposed by the board without membership approval via the rules. They argue that boards are authorized to adopt election rules and this means they can add director qualifications when they adopt or amend rules. They argue that as long as the qualifications are reasonable, they would survive legal challenge.

Opinion - Boards Cannot Restrict Candidates. In my opinion, boards cannot restrict who can run against them. Only the membership has the power to impose director qualifications. I base my opinion on the following two points:

1. No Restrictions in the Law. The Corporations Code imposes no restrictions on who may be a director except to require that they be a natural person. (Corp. Code §5047.) The Davis-Stirling Act has no restrictions of any kind on who can serve on the board. If neither the Corporations Code nor the Davis-Stirling Act restrict candidates, I don’t believe directors can limit who can run against them.

2. Inconsistent with Bylaws. Moreover, rules adopted by a board cannot be “inconsistent with governing law and the declaration, articles of incorporation or association, and bylaws of the association.” (Civ. Code §1357.110(c).) This requirement is repeated in the election provisions of the Davis-Stirling Act which state that board qualifications in the election rules must be “consistent with the governing documents. (Civ. Code §1363.03(a)(3).) In my opinion, it would be inconsistent to impose restrictions in the election rules where none exist in the bylaws.

RECOMMENDATION: Since there is no consensus in the legal community and no case law to offer any guidance, boards should consult their association’s legal counsel on how best to handle this issue.

FUSS OVER BUDGETS

QUESTION: Is there a requirement for the board to spend no more that the budgeted amount for a particular line-item in the annual budget? If not, why all the fuss regarding establishing, approving and publishing a budget?

ANSWER: Budgets are guidelines only. They are the board‘s best estimate of expenses so (i) directors will know how much to assess the membership and (ii) members will know how the board arrived at that number.

Consequences. If boards were prohibited from spending more than budgeted for a particular line item, it could have significant negative consequences for an association. Theoretically it would mean that if insurance premiums went up mid-year, the board would have no choice but to allow the association’s insurance to lapse. That could be disastrous.

WAYNE LOUVIER
JOINS ADAMS KESSLER

Wayne LouvierI am pleased to announce that attorney Wayne Louvier joined Adams Kessler PLC.

Legal Background. Wayne is an experienced community association attorney. His experience, however, is much broader than CID law. Wayne accumulated twenty-five years of valuable experience in business litigation, commercial insurance defense and maritime law.

Association Law. Wayne now advises boards of directors on all transactional and litigation matters related to commercial and residential common interest developments. This includes drafting and amending documents, contract disputes, employment law issues, FEHA and ADA obligations, rules enforcement, collection of assessments as well as litigation arising out of association disputes. Wayne has solid trial experience including, among other cases, serving as the trial attorney in Crestmar Owners Assn. vs. Stapakis (2008) 157 Cal.App.4th 1223.

Education. Mr. Louvier is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics. He then went on to earn a Juris Doctorate from Western State University College of Law and is admitted to practice in California as well as the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

If your association would like a proposal for legal services, contact us at info@davis-stirling.com or 800-464-2817.

FEEDBACK

Contractor #1. Another great newsletter! I would appreciate a little more clarity on the contractor license law. As a manager it is our responsibility to check for valid license and certificates of insurance for vendors who perform work for our clients. Could the law be interpreted that we, managers, have to have a contractor’s license just to request and keep COI’s for everybody from the landscaper, pool vendor, fire alarm monitoring and occasional arborist or plumber, etc.? -Brad S.

RESPONSE: I hope it does not apply to vendors. Unfortunately, the revised statute broadly defines contractors to include “consultants” and historically the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has broadly applied the licensing statute against those involved in any aspect of construction over $500. As the Supreme Court has already noted, the licensing law “imposes strict and harsh penalties for a contractor’s failure to maintain proper licensure.” (MW Erectors, Inc. v. Niederhauser Ornamental Metal Works (2005) 36 Cal.4th 412, 418.) Unless the law is modified, management companies have potential exposure.

Contractor #2. David Fogt at the CSLB says that they consider HOA managers to be employed by the owners and exempt from the statute. -Glen G.

RESPONSE: I already dealt with employees being exempt. Did Mr. Fogt offer an opinion about third party management companies that are paid to oversee bidding and construction? Did he offer assurances that the courts would follow his opinion? No disrespect to Mr. Fogt but the court did not agree with the CSLB in the Fifth Day v. Bolotin case. I don’t think anyone can say with certainty what the courts will do with the revised law.

Happy Birthday. Your answer for the Happy Birthday sign is beautiful. You just made my day. I think I am printing it and framing it. -Elliot K.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

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Mar 24

QUESTION: If an HOA changes its name, do the original CC&Rs and bylaws still remain the governing documents even if the board has not yet paid to have them updated with the new name?

ANSWER: Yes, the documents are still valid even though they contain the old name. CC&Rs are recorded against all property in the development so they remain intact regardless of what you call the development. It is like a young lady getting married, she is still the same person and her credit card debt follows her regardless of the name change (not that she has any debt…I’m just saying it would if she did). In the same way, bylaws follow the corporation not the name. Even so, the board should be diligent about updating documents.

Loss of Name. Sometimes an association will inadvertently lose their corporate name because it was suspended for failing to file tax returns or statements of information. When that happens, it could end up with one name for the corporation and another for the development (via the CC&Rs).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

QUESTION: For 12 years I was able to put a Happy Birthday sign for one day on a common area. Nothing was said to me about the sign. Now I got a letter from the management company that I can no longer do that?

ANSWER: For years I rolled through a stop sign at particular intersection without being molested. One day a cop gave me a ticket. He was not sympathetic to my argument about the years of precedent I had set. He must work for your management company.

MANAGER CONTRACTOR
FEEDBACK

There were too many responses to my article on contractor licensing for me to print them all. Following is a sampling:

Contractor #1. What if a board member serves as project manager? -Jim P.

RESPONSE: As long as the board member is not paid to oversee the project, there is no violation. The association, through its board, is the owner-builder and as such is not required to be licensed. Make sure you put something in the minutes delegating authority to him to oversee the project on behalf of the association.

Contractor #2.
With regards to managers acting as contractors, does this apply to in-house managers who are employed by and work exclusively for an HOA? -Claire M.

RESPONSE: Because your manager is an employee of the association, he is exempt. If you were paying a third party (a management company) to oversee the project, there could be exposure.

Contractor #3. The management contract for our association calls for the management company to “monitor the activities of the contractor… including…the obtaining of contract documents, certificates of insurance, copies of bonds, warranties, releases of liens and other necessary or prudent documentation.” -C. L.

RESPONSE: The case that triggered the Legislative action involved a construction manager who engaged in various oversight activities for an owner. Those activities included the following:

assist, on behalf of the Owner, in coordinating the activities of the various workers to enable them to complete their assigned tasks in an organized and efficient manner, on time and on budget; to maintain records such as insurance certificates, as well as the financial books and records for the project; to keep the Owner apprised of the status of the project; to be the onsite “point person” to respond to issues as they arose; and generally to act as the Owner’s agent with respect to the various parties connected with the development of the project. Plaintiff had no responsibility or authority to perform any construction work on the project, or to enter into any contract or subcontract for the performance of such work. (The Fifth Day v. Bolotin (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 939, 948.)

The court decided that these activities did not make the consultant a contractor. The Legislature disagreed and revised the law to broaden the definition of who needed a contractor’s license. By implication that means that a manager who engages in the above activities would be subject to criminal and civil penalties if not licensed as a contractor.

Contractor #4.WOW! This is a big one. I agree that managers should not oversee construction projects. To do this the HOA manager should not act in the capacity of a general contractor. They should hire a general contractor when multiple trades are involved in the same project. They should never put themselves in a position of coordinating the work between sub contractors or dictating the “means and methods” of work. Managers should not oversee the actual work of the project which includes (from Merriam-Webster): administration, care, charge, control, direction, governance, government, guidance, handling, intendance, management, operation, conduct, presidency, regulation, running, stewardship, superintendence, superintendency, supervision. -Mike G.

RECOMMENDATION: Legislators have a way of targeting one thing and hitting something else. Perhaps if they were members of the NRA, their aim would be better. If a management company would volunteer to be sued, I could nail down how broadly the contractor licensing requirements will be interpreted. Until then, all I can do is recommend that boards and management companies take a close look at how they handle construction projects.

MORE FEEDBACK

Ant Invasion. If the HOA would be responsible for ants in a unit, would they also be responsible for every spider, fly, flea, worm, roach, etc. that got into a unit? Maybe its time for some condo owners realize they own a home not a apartment. -Pamela G.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

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Mar 17

AB 2237 went into effect January 1, 2013. The Assembly Bill received very little notice but may have a significant impact on association managers. The Bill was in response to a court decision that consultants who oversee contracts between project owners and contractors were not required to be licensed. The Bill negated the court’s decision by requiring consultants be licensed as contractors. Because of the way it defines “consultant,” HOA managers could find themselves in violation of the statute.

Size of the Project. First, any project that costs more than $500 in combined labor and material costs requires that the work be done by a licensed contractor. (Bus. & Prof. Code §7048.)

Consultant Defined. Second, a contractor is defined to include anyone who oversees bids for a construction project, arranges for subcontractor work and schedules and/or has oversight of a construction project. (Bus. & Prof. Code §7026.1.) Since most associations have their management companies solicit bids and oversee common area maintenance projects and since most projects costs over $500, management companies and their managers appear to be at risk for criminal and civil penalties.

RECOMMENDATION: The safest position for managers and management companies is to not oversee construction projects for their associations. Clearly, that should be the case for large projects–such work should be done by licensed construction managers. The small ones are the problem. Managers routinely handle them for their boards. Boards and management companies should talk to legal counsel about how best to address this issue.

PAUL ABLON
JOINS ADAMS KESSLER

I am pleased to announce that attorney Paul Ablon has joined Adams Kessler PLC. Paul brings a wealth of experience to the firm, especially in the area of litigation and appeals.

Paul is a graduate of UCLA where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Gamma Mu honor societies and graduated summa cum laude. Paul was then accepted into U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall where he earned his Juris Doctorate and graduated “Order of the Coif,” an honorary scholastic society that recognizes excellence in legal education.

In private practice, Paul Ablon handled real estate and business litigation, contract disputes, business torts, defamation, fraud and homeowners association disputes. Paul was also involved in a significant amount of appellate work, including the briefing and arguing of Calder v. Jones before the United States Supreme Court in which his client prevailed.

Paul taught Appellate Advocacy at Loyola Law School and later became Senior Research Attorney at the California Court of Appeal where over two dozen of his opinions were published. Paul will be in charge of appellate work for Adams Kessler. We welcome Paul to the firm.

CPM OPEN HOUSE

On Thursday, March 21, I will participate in the 4th Annual Open House put on by Community Property Management. I will be speaking on the rewrite of the Davis-Stirling Act and the impact it will have on community associations throughout the state. In addition, I will touch on board duties and communications and take questions from the audience.

Karen Conlon, President and CEO of the California Association of Community Manager will be speaking on the State manager certification program. Randy West, an HOA Board President will speak on creating goodwill among members through positive communication, rules enforcement and conducting meetings.

FEEDBACK

I had too many responses on animal sacrifices to print them all. Following is a sampling:

Animal Sacrifice #1. I am HOWWWWWWLING!! You made my “Monday Morning Madness” worthwhile! And I thought that I was the ONLY ONE that had this insanity in my building….and then some! -Helene S.

Animal Sacrifice #2. In your Newsletter, you describe Santería as combining elements of African paganism, Roman Catholicism and ritualistic animal sacrifice. Please tell me what elements of Roman Catholicism are in Santeria? -Michael M.

RESPONSE: Adherents of Santeria worship Catholic saints and use Catholic symbols in their practices, including baptism. The word “Santeria” means “Way of the Saints.” I suspect the Catholic Church is troubled by the usurping of their symbols and practices into a pagan religion. See Wikipedia and The BBC for more information.

Animal Sacrifice #3. Excuse me… Roman Catholics do not practice animal sacrifices of any sort…where did you get this idea? It is very offensive… -Marlene J.

RESPONSE: It’s the other way around. Followers of Santeria blend paganism and Roman Catholicism with animal sacrifice.

Animal Sacrifice #4. One of the most interesting topics yet! Our city won’t let me have a gas BBQ on my patio, but I can chop off a few goat heads on a Friday night? I feel for that HOA, I thought we had it bad with lawsuits and plumbing problems. -Karl

Animal Sacrifice #5. Something about this week’s newsletter reminded me of Abigail Van Buren’s column…….. Don’t know whether it’s the questions or the answers. -Bond S.

RESPONSE: I used to fill in for “Dear Abby” when she went on vacation.

Animal Sacrifice #6. Thank you, as always, for the information you share every week. Regarding the animal sacrifice in a homeowner’s unit, the person mentioned blood escaping from the common area trash. Blood is a bio-hazard and the HOA should check local waste management requirements for the proper (and non-leaky) disposal of the blood and animal carcasses. Following the law will not infringe on religious freedom of the Santeria practitioner. -C.P.

Animal Sacrifice #7. Most associations have the limitation of “customary domestic animals,” i.e. dogs, cats and birds. Why couldn’t the association prevent goats from being brought in? Does the association have the right to require the resident dispose of the carcass and blood off-site and not in the association’s dumpsters or common trash cans? Doesn’t the health department have something to say about blood disposal? -Dee D.

MORE FEEDBACK

Bible Study: A Bible study in a private home a violation? You answered it well with comparison to a card game. I have property in three different HOA communities and they all B__ch about something. Makes me never want to retire and become one of them. -Steve C.

Ant Invasion #1. Rather than having an exterminator spraying chemicals in your home, sprinkle a tiny line of cornstarch at your baseboards or wherever you see ants coming in. They carry the grains back to the nests and it kills them. -Carol S.

Ant Invasion #2. So, the ants are jumping from the street or nearest public area, over the common condo area, not touching down for one moment on common area, and sitting down to dine at the condo owners unit? I would think that the HOA would have to prove their theory TECHNICALLY, that ants simultaneously appear, rather than their traditional “ant trails” through building structures (AKA common area) before they can make a stupid plea that it’s the homeowner’s problem. Given the fact that any ant would HAVE TO go through a common area to get into any condo, I’d sue the HOA for negligence and failing to perform their duty. -K.P.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; when your association needs counsel, call us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

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