Earthquake Insurance

California has no statute that specifies the type or types of insurance that associations must carry. Almost all governing documents allow associations to obtain earthquake insurance coverage, but relatively few associations actually mandate such coverage.


An easement is an incorporeal interest in the land of another that gives the easement holder the right to use the other’s land or to prevent the other person from using the land. Easements can be created in many ways, including by deed, agreement, CC&Rs, through necessity, hostile use (prescription), and through petitioning the court to exercise it equitable powers. The owner of the land usually retains the right to use the land encumbered by the easement to the extent that such use does not unreasonably interfere with the easement holder’s use. Easements frequently give rise to disputes concerning what may be done in the easement by the easement holder and the land owner, whether the easement is being overburdened, who must maintain and repair the easement area, and who must share in the cost of that work.


Voting in community association elections involving specified issues must be done using a secret ballot, double-envelope system (Civ. Code §5115), pursuant to duly-adopted election rules. (Civ. Code §5105) The specified issues are elections regarding assessments legally requiring a vote, election and removal of directors, amendments to the governing documents and grant of exclusive use of common area property pursuant to Civil Code section 4600. This list therefore covers most matters brought before the membership for vote. Among other things, election rules must specify candidate and voting qualifications and specify a method for selection of independent inspectors of election. See the statute, Civil Code section 5100 et seq., for detailed requirements.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Effective 1/1/2012, a CC&R provision which prohibits or restricts the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station is void and unenforceable, although the association may impose “reasonable” restrictions (such as those which do not significantly increase the cost of the station or significant decrease its efficiency or specified performance.) If the station is to be placed on common area, including exclusive use common area, the owner must obtain the association’s permission to install it. The association may impose conditions on its approval, as set forth in Civ. Code §4745(f). An association is required to grant permission for an owner to install a charging station, for the owner’s sole use, on the common area, if and only if installation of the station in the owner’s designated parking space is impossible or unreasonably expensive. The association may impose conditions on the installation of the station as set forth in §4745(f).

Electronic Communication

The Corporations Code generally defines electronic transmissions as communications delivered by fax, email, electronic message boards or other means. Members may give consent to the board to transmit certain types of communications, notices or disclosures to members via electronic communication. Consult with your attorney for further information concerning consent and the types of electronic communications authorized under the law.

Electronic Records

Associations have a vast array of documents, communications, correspondences and forms that must be retained. Many associations choose to retain these documents in electronic form to save space and cut down on expense. If the association has chosen to retain its documents in this manner, keep in mind that owners making a document request have the right to review the documents in hardcopy.

Emergency Meetings

Emergency board meetings may be held under limited circumstances. An emergency meeting may be called by the president or by any two members of the board other than the president. It may be held only under circumstances that could not have been reasonably foreseen which require immediate attention and possible board action, and which make it impracticable to provide the notice which would otherwise be required by the Open Meeting Act. (Civ. Code §4923) An emergency meeting may be conducted via electronic transmission if all board members consent, in writing, to do so. Specific procedural requirements must be followed with respect to obtaining and maintaining a record of the required written consents as described in Civil Code section 4910.


Initially, we note there are tax and payroll reporting implications arising from an association’s decision to hire employees as opposed to independent contractors. These are issues that are best addressed by association’s CPA. Additionally, there are insurance and liability implications. If any persons are allegedly injured or property damaged by an employee of the association, there is a greater likelihood the association will be held liable for that injury or damage than if the damage or injury was caused by an independent contractor. Merely having an agreement entitled “Independent Contractor Agreement” is not sufficient to establish ones status as an independent contractor; the authorities will look to several factors in making this determination.

Employment Laws

The federal and state statutes and cases that define the rights, duties and obligations of employers and employees to each other. See also Employees. Associations with employees should always have an Employer’s Liability Insurance policy to protect against possible liability arising from the employment relationship.


Association boards have the duty to enforce governing documents. To be enforceable, enforcement must comply with the due process procedures in the governing documents (Civ. Code §5855 and Corp. Code §7341). This includes, minimally, providing at least 10 days’ advance notice to an owner of a hearing to consider whether to impose discipline (governing documents may require a longer notice period). Associations can be held liable for failure to enforce the governing documents.