Parliamentary Procedure

Civil Code section 5000(a) requires meetings of an association to be conducted in accordance with a recognized system of parliamentary procedure or other parliamentary procedures the association may adopt. There is no similar requirement for conducting board meetings, but it is probably a good idea. It is also advisable to adopt a system of parliamentary procedure that covers the basics but doesn’t require a professional parliamentarian to understand it. Also see Robert’s Rules of Order.

Public Report

A Public Report (a.k.a. White Report) is a permit issued to a subdivider by the Bureau of Real Estate pursuant to the Subdivided Lands Law and it is required in connection with a subdivider’s sale of a lot or unit in a subdivision to the public. For the purposes of a Public Report, a subdivider may be a developer, a builder or any other person or entity who acquires five (5) or more lots or units in a subdivision with the intention of selling one or more of those lots or units to the public. A Public Report will contain disclosures for review by a prospective purchaser of a lot or unit in that subdivision including the subdivision’s type, assessments, amenities and whether there are any agreements between the subdivider and the association concerning maintenance or subsidies by the subdivider. A Public Report is valid for five (5) years from the date of its issuance.


Partition is a legal procedure for dividing up property that is jointly owned, such as a common area, so that it can be separately owned or sold. As a general rule condominium common area is not to be partitioned unless there are exceptional circumstances as outlined in Civil Code section 4610, including destruction of the property and the failure to rebuild substantially within three years.


Any of several types of domestic animals. The Davis-Stirling Act defines the term as “any domesticated bird, cat, dog, aquatic animal kept within an aquarium, or other animal as agreed to between the association and the homeowner.” See also, Guide Dogs, Service Animal.

Party Wall

A party wall is a wall that is commonly owned and shared by adjoining owners along their common property line and that forms a part of the dwelling owned by each one. Party walls are not mentioned in the Davis-Stirling Act or otherwise governed by statute. However, in most planned developments governing documents where there are party walls, there are frequently party wall agreements binding the owners that regulate what can or cannot be done with the wall, duties to repair them when damaged, etc. In contrast, a division fence or wall that straddles a boundary between two lots is governed by Civil Code section 841. The statute requires the two owners to share the maintenance costs equally subject to the exception in the statute.

Payment Plans

Payment plans can be effective in collecting delinquent assessment accounts, and are something boards should consider. It is advisable to ensure that the debt is secured by a lien unless it is a very small amount, and to make the payments manageable, but in an amount to reduce the debt in no more than a year where feasible.

Perpetuities, Rule Against

An archaic rule of law which required contingent interests in land to become vested within 21 years of lives in being at the time of creation of the interest. Today, the vestiges of the Rule are sometimes found in older sets of CC&Rs which provide that the CC&Rs will expire upon the happening of some future event, typically, the death of some personage.

Petition, Amending Governing Documents by

If an association fails to obtain supermajority approval for an amendment to its CC&Rs, it may petition the court for approval of the amendment pursuant to Civil Code section 4275 (formerly §1356) if it meets a number of requirements, including having received at least majority approval of the amendment pursuant to a vote of the members in accordance with the law and governing documents.

Planned Development

A condominium project is one of the four types of CIDs that are considered common interest developments in Civil Code section 4100. A planned development is defined in Civil Code section 4175 as a common interest development other than a community apartment project, condominium project, or stock cooperative. It also must have either or both of the following characteristics: (1) common area that is owned either by an association or in common by the owners of the separate interests who possess appurtenant rights to the beneficial use and enjoyment of the common area, and/or (2) common area and an association that maintains the common area with the power to levy assessments that may become a lien upon the separate interests. The owners’ separate interests are typically platted lots.