Plumbing

Plumbing includes the pipes, fittings and valves that bring water into a building and removes liquid-borne wastes from the building. The responsibility to maintain, repair and replace the plumbing system servicing the common areas or a specific separate interest will be defined in the governing documents.

Pools

Pools are often a vital part of association living and represent a nexus for community activities. They are, however, subject to a plethora of regulations and often a source rife with potential liability. In order to protect the association, contact your attorney regarding sign, fencing and liability requirements that may change on a yearly basis.

Post Office

The association’s manager should submit a Change of Address for each association that it accepts for new business and/or if the management company moves from the address it initially set up for the association in order to timely receive any mail on behalf of each association it manages. If an association is self-managed, it should open a P.O. Box to receive mail, instead of receiving mail at the board president’s home address. Visit the U.S. Postal Service for forwarding/change of address information and information on how to obtain a P.O. Box.

Privileged Information

Privileged information is data, communications, documents, etc., that are protected from disclosure by law. Communications from your attorney are generally privileged and in litigation, opposing parties can very rarely obtain this information. Topics and materials discussed in executive sessions are also privileged, although to a lesser extent. Keep in mind, privileged information is only protected if it has not been divulged to a non-privileged party.

Paid in Full Check Endorsement (Accord and Satisfaction)

The law is unclear whether a check that states “payment in full” is considered to be binding. Prior to 2002, acceptance of a check with the words “payment in full” did not constitute an accord and satisfaction under California Civil Code section 1526, if the association protested by striking out or otherwise deleting that notation or accepted the check inadvertently or without knowledge of the notation. However, the California appellate case decided in 2002 Woolridge v. J.F.L. Electric, Inc., 96 Cal.App.4th Supp. 52 (2002) (“”Woolridge””), suggests that if you cash such a check, you will not be able to pursue the owner for any remaining balance. Specifically, Woolridge held that the Uniform Commercial Code Section 3311, which says “payment in full” is binding, applies to negotiable instruments (e.g., checks) and overrides the California Civil Code. Consult with your attorney on a case-by-case basis to determine whether cashing the check is worth the risk involved.

Prospective Purchaser

Civil Code section 4525 requires an owner of a separate interest to provide specified documents to a prospective purchaser of that interest. These are often termed “escrow disclosures.” Upon written request, a community association must provide copies of specified documents to the owner of the separate or other owner-authorized recipient within 10 days. (Civil Code §4530) The association’s duty to provide lawfully requested documents pursuant to this section is to the owner of the separate interest, and not to the prospective purchaser.

Parcel Map

A parcel map is a division of land into four or fewer parcels for the purpose of selling, leasing or financing those parcels. It is different from a subdivision map, which is required for a division of land into five or more lots for the purpose of selling, leasing or financing those lots. Both a parcel map and a subdivision map are governed by the Subdivision Map Act, which, in addition to setting forth a number of requirements necessary to obtain a parcel map or a subdivision map, lists certain exceptions as well (such as leases for agricultural, mineral, oil or gas purposes or leases or easements for certain solar or wind-powered electrical generation facilities).

Proxy

Civil Code section 5130 provides that a proxy is a written authorization signed by a member or the authorized representative of the member giving another member or members the power to vote on behalf of that member. In contrast, Corporations Code section 5069 does not require that a proxy must be given to a member; it could be given to anyone. The governing documents of some associations may prohibit the use of proxies, but proxies have been used significantly less since the secret ballot, double envelope system (Civ. Code §5100 et seq.) has been enacted to mail ballots to all members.

Parking

Associations generally have the power to regulate parking on their private streets and other common areas. California Vehicle Code section 22658 authorizes associations to tow vehicles parked illegally within the common area, subject to certain restrictions and procedural requirements. Occasionally, the governing documents will grant an association the power to regulate parking on public streets. In such instances, the ability of the association to exercise this power is limited.