General Counsel in California

The origin of shared dwelling ownership is said to have its roots in ancient Rome where population density drove the need for communal living. It is ironic that at about this time, “law” became a  profession lawyers began acting as general counsel.

Until the 1960s Homeowner Associations were not common in California. Prior to that time, private insurance companies were unsure how to insure and treat condominiums and associations which discouraged joint ownership of common areas in housing complexes. The federal government passed the National Housing Act of 1961, which among other things, remedied prior problems with insuring common area. Thereafter, homeowners associations as we know them became common. By 1973, one of the oldest trade group for homeowners associations, the Community Associations Institute (CAI), was formed.

A recurring problem for homeowner associations is dispute resolution. In the early 1970s and 1980s, California resolved these disputes in the court system, but judge decisions produced a patchwork of opinions that was confusing, costly and time consuming. To solve this problem, assemblyman Lawrence W. Stirling lobbied for and passed legislation which became known as the Davis-Stirling Act. On January 1, 1986, Davis-Stirling was codified in California Civil Code Sections 1350-1378. The Davis-Stirling Act and subsequent case law that interpreted it provided precedent regarding how for homeowner associations were to conduct meetings and operate the associations. Davis-Stirling introduced the concept of mandatory arbitration, as well as the idea that in some cases, prevailing parties should be awarded attorney fees and the cost of litigation. These concepts still exist today.

In 2012, The Davis-Stirling Act was revised again.  This revision went into effect on January 1, 2014 see California Civil Code Sections 4000-6150. The application of Davis-Stirling and cases interpreting it can be complex. We have represented both homeowners and associations in multiple disputes including mediation, arbitration and trial. We know how to win. Call us.. Consultations are free. Choosing the wrong lawyer is not.