Community Apartment Project

A community apartment project is one of the four types of CIDs that are considered common interest developments in Civil Code section 4100. This type of CID is unusual and quite rare. There are only a couple of them we have seen in La Jolla, although there are others elsewhere in California. They are often mislabeled “co-ops,” but they are different from stock cooperatives although they share some characteristics in common with both condominiums and stock cooperatives. In a typical community apartment project, an association owns no real property, but it is responsible for the operation and management of the development as in any other CID. The owners either have a percentage ownership or equal fractional ownership interest in the entire development, including the separate interests (i.e., apartments or interior airspaces). Owners do not own but rather have an exclusive right to occupy the unit. Some community apartment projects may not have separate CC&Rs but were created solely by covenants recorded in the original grant deeds to the first purchasers. See Civil Code section 4105.

Cable Television

Depending on the provisions of an association’s governing documents, an association can enter into cable contracts without membership approval. Bulk cable contracts provide a reduced rate for cable services. Even if the board has authority to enter into a cable contract for the entire community, member approval may be required if the term of the contract exceeds any service contract term limits in the governing documents.

Contact Information

Associations should ensure that there is always a point of contact for members to reach out and express concerns, report emergencies and request repairs. Including this information in your annual disclosures, as well as in assessment statements, ensures clear open lines of communication. That being said, the board is not required to be the point of contact for an association as that is typically the role of a manager.

Classes of Members

Membership classes are memberships that differ in their voting rights. They typically exist in developer-controlled associations and different and usually greater voting rights for developers than members in board elections and votes to amend the governing documents. Developers are typically entitled to three votes for each property owned until one of several triggering events occurs. Owners are typically called Class A members and developers are Class B members. When a specified triggering event happens, Class B members become Class A members with one-for-one voting rights. See Bureau of Real Estate (“BRE”) Reg. 2792.18. In master associations, there may be Class C members under which the developer is entitled to elect a majority of the board until a specified triggering event occurs. See BRE Reg. 2792.32.

Community Service Organization

A Community Service Organization is defined in Civil Code section 4110 as a nonprofit entity (not a CID) organized to provide services to residents of a CID or to the public, to the extent a CID’s common area or facilities are available to the public. The term is also used in Civil Code sections 4575, 4580, 5240, and 5580.

Cameras

Used by some associations to help deter crime and identify perpetrators of crime. Use of cameras can create additional liability for an association, especially if members misconstrue the cameras to be a guaranty or assumption of responsibility by the association for their safety. Cameras may only be used in portions of the common area where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Contractors

Most construction or repair work with a value over $500 must be performed by a contractor that is properly licensed (Bus & Prof. Code 7028 and 7048). A summary of the licenses issued by the State of California, and the work that can be performed by a person holding each type of license can be found at www.cslb.ca.gov. A check of this website should be made before any contract is signed to ensure that the Association is working with a person or company lawfully entitled to do the work and that the license is active and valid.

Clubhouse

An association’s governing documents generally provide that every member of the association shall have a non-exclusive easement for use and enjoyment of the common area, including, but not limited to the clubhouse. Essentially this means that while every member of the association has equal access rights to the common area and clubhouse, they may not prevent other members from using these facilities simultaneously. An individual owner’s use of the common area and clubhouse may be regulated by an association. For example, the association’s governing documents may provide the association has the right to reasonably restrict the number of guests of owners using common area facilities. Further, governing documents generally provide an association has a right to establish rules and regulations pertaining to the use of common area facilities. If not already provided for in its governing documents, an association should consider including a requirement that individuals requesting to use the clubhouse facilities for a private event must enter into an indemnity agreement in order to help insulate the association from liability during this event.

Comparative Fault

Where two or more parties (including a plaintiff) are liable for the damage or injury alleged in a lawsuit, the judge or jury will determine the comparative fault of the parties, expressed as a percentage. If a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault, then the amount of damages awarded is reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s comparative fault. If two or more defendants are found to be comparatively at fault, a plaintiff may recover the full amount of damages from either defendant. It is incumbent upon co-defendants to claim contribution from each other for the amount of damages paid in excess of their respective comparative fault. Defendants may also counter sue third parties for contribution if the third party bears some comparative fault.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a toxic, colorless, odorless gas, produced by the use of fossil-based fuels in areas without adequate ventilation. As of July 1, 2011 the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act required owners of all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide detectors within the home by July 1, 2011. Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, had until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law. (Health & Safety Code §17926) Operable smoke alarms have been required as far back as January 1, 1986. (Health & Safety Code §13113.8)