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.

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.

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.

Partition

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.