A hearing is required before disciplinary action be taken against an owner. (Civ. Code §5855) This includes fines or suspending membership rights. The accused owner is entitled to attend the hearing and address the board before discipline is imposed.

Holiday Decorations

Generally, many associations encourage their members to decorate their homes and units in a non-invasive manner that does not harm or destroy common area. Rules regarding holiday decorations can easily create effective guidelines to ensure that holiday decorations are not intrusive or damaging. However, keep in mind that rules which are overly burdensome on religious displays may be subject to court challenge.

Home Business

Generally refers to the operation of a commercial endeavor from the home. Local municipalities may regulate such usage, often restricting such businesses to those with no onsite customer traffic, noise, deliveries or storage of goods. Although associations often urge that the operation of such business violates the “single family residential use” that claim is not well-supported, at least as to businesses which have no external impacts on the community. Further, California law defines certain commercial uses (such as family day care for children, and home care for the disabled or elderly) as consistent with a “single family residential use,” and provide that CC&Rs may not be interpreted to preclude that use. See, e.g., Health and Safety Code §§1597.40, 11834.20–11834.25.

Homestead Exemption

This allows homeowners whose residence is involuntarily sold to satisfy a judgment to keep a portion of the proceeds from the sale. The amount of the exemption depends on their age and family circumstances. This exemption is not available in foreclosures of homeowner association assessment liens. (Code Civ. Proc. §§704.710 et seq. and 704.910 et seq.)


An outdated expression implying a physical or mental disability. The term is used in the FFHAA, but disabled advocates and subsequent legislation use the term “disability.” While different laws contain slightly different definitions, a “handicap” or “disability” is generally held to mean a physical or mental condition which interferes with a person’s ability to perform life functions.