HOA/Condo Law & Litigation
Construction Defect Litigation – HOA/Condo Law & Litigation
Construction defect litigation law is a detailed, procedural and fact intensive area of law for plaintiffs, defendants and lawyers. Our significant experience in civil litigation, working with Homeowner Associations and litigating construction defect cases means we give sound advice steeped in experience to both homeowner’s associations and individual homeowners. We can answer your questions: Should a claim be pursued? Is it cost effective? Who should be sued? What expenses will be incurred? What national and local building code sections apply? What is the statute of limitations? What experts should be used? How should you document and preserve a claim for the courtroom? When should you start repairs? Who will pay for them? Call us. Consultations are free. Choosing the wrong lawyer is not.
General Counsel in California
A recurring problem for Homeowner Associations and condominium ownership is Alternate Dispute Resolution or ADR. In the early 1970s and 1980s, California courts decided disputes between homeowners and homeowner’s association. However, Homeowner Associations cases soon became a burden on the civil justice system. To solve this problem, California State Assemblyman Lawrence W. Stirling proposed legislation which eventually became known as the Davis-Stirling Act. On January 1, 1986, the Davis-Stirling Act was codified it was in California Civil Code Sections 1350-1378.
Easements, Licenses, Covenants, Equitable Servitudes
For homeowner associations, condominiums and individuals, easement litigation generally starts with disagreements about how land is being used or limited in use. Sometimes this is the result of unfair application of community rules or a board’s unfair actions; sometimes this is the result of an unreasonable owner or neighbor.
Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Covenant, conditions, restrictions (commonly called CC&Rs) are rules that people agree to be bound by when they purchase a home in a common interest developments (otherwise know as homeowner’s associations). It is common for homeowners and and homeowner’s associations to disagree about how CC&Rs should be interpreted or enforced.
Just like any other democracy, every homeowner’s association must have rules that govern elections to the association board of directors. Failure to follow the law or rules in connection with an election often results in a lawsuit. We have successfully tried cases involving homeowner’s association elections several times.
Documents, Rules and Amendments
The latest version of The Davis-Stirling Act, section 4205 effective January 1, 2014 and recent cases interpreting the Act has provided much needed clarification to homeowners and associations in regard to how CC&Rs should be enforced.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution is a quasi-judicial procedure that involves getting a neutral third party to evaluate the case prior to filing a complaint in a court. Basically, ADR is when parties agree to have an independent third party decide their case rather than a judge. Why do this?
Disabilities and Discrimination
The Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), California Unruh Civil Rights Act (UNRUH), California Fair Housing Act (CFHA) and California Civil Code Section 4760 (rewrite of California Civil Code Section 1360 effective January 1, 2013) give people, agencies and lawyers enormous power.
Assessments, Collection and Foreclosure
Homeowner’s associations have, for better or worse, gotten into the assessment, collection and foreclosure business. The original version of the Davis-Stirling Act (the title for the California law that guides most aspects of homeowner’s associations) was confusing when it came to assessing, collecting and foreclosing on homeowner’s for failure to pay common area maintenance fees.
Real estate law and litigation requires lawyers to have knowledge of the law as well as the ability to convert complicated concepts into language others can understand. To get results, real estate law requires a lawyer to be experienced and knowledgeable in civil procedure, civil law, contract law, real estate law and the courtroom.
Real Estate Contracts and Transactions
The law surrounding real estate contracts and transactions can be confusing. In this area of litigation, your lawyer must pay special attention to the three C’s of communication: consistent, clear and concise.
Neighbor disputes can be difficult for the neighbors and the homeowner’s association or condominium. An experienced lawyer can help. Call us.
Homeowners Associations and condominium boards are responsible for the upkeep and safety of the commonly owned areas and property; they are liable for these premises. How liable?
City, county or state officials can be an enormous source of frustration for Homeowner associations, condominium boards and lawyers alike. Most government agencies that a HOA will deal with are “quasi – judicial, quasi – legislative”, meaning, they are given power to write laws and at the same time enforce these laws. This can create a problem without the check and balance of separating these two processes: absurd results can follow.
Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding
Condominiums and planned community developments are not immune from disaster: when it strikes, the scale can be overwhelming. Suddenly all the “fine print” in the insurance contracts becomes relevant and decisions need to be made. Fire, flood or insect infestation can pit Homeowner Associations against the property developer and insurance company lawyers. Who is at fault? Who will pay? How do things proceed?
Developer and Turnover
In California, a developer who designs and builds a common interest development in any form eventually reaches a point where they begin to transition power and control over to the incorporated or unincorporated association, often called the owners’ association or community association (per Civil Code Section 4800, effective January 1, 2014). This process is commonly called developer turnover.