Featured Post

Recap of 2016 HVPOA Annual Meeting

April 30th, 2016. The annual meeting was held at the Wilkerson Student Center @ BYU. Our president Randy Hill opened the meeting with Trust...

Friday, September 20, 2013

HOA "DISSIDENTS" learn to educate their boards

Center for California Homeowner Association Law is an organization that helps protect the rights of Association members--I have taken several courses with them and follow their work--this is a great article by Marjorie Murray, President--well worth reading:

This copyrighted article is re-printed with the express permission of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law (www.calhomelaw.org)  All rights are reserved.

CCHAL urges its members to launch their own education/outreach projects in their associations – projects that stress the importance of Wittenberg.

Outreach needs to be done to

  • • other homeowners, friends and neighbors
  • • the association board
  • • the property manager, and
  • • the association’s law firm.

 One ORANGE COUNTY owner writes CCHAL that he and his circle of advocates have already “forwarded the CCHAL NewsBrief on Wittenberg to our Board and to HOA attorneys Epstein Grinnell and Howell to make sure that they knew we knew.“  The advocates are facing an uphill election early next year.
 But another LOS ANGELES COUNTY homeowner tells us that the property manager has locked up the plexi-glass bulletin board where the “preferred candidates” (incumbents) for the board election get to post their statements; she has told the other (“non-preferred”) candidates to post them on the public bulletin board.  Every night someone takes down the statements of the “non-preferred” candidates from the public board.

This type of behavior by the property manager calls for education – tactful and cordial – but firm.

Homeowners won’t be starting from “square one” when approaching boards and property managers.

Wittenberg has been a closely-watched case.   Industry law firms – including Adams Kessler and the 24 other firms who supported the petition to the Supreme Court – all know that Wittenberg v Beachwalk is now law.
 Together these firms represent hundreds – more likely thousands – of California associations.  Furthermore, Wittenberg has been the topic of numerous industry blogs.

See, for example, http://www.hoalawblog.com/2013/07/court_holds_that_associations.html and also CAI California’s blog at http://caiclac.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/appeals-court-ensures-equal-access-during-elections/

This is not to say that boards and property managers won’t resist the Appeals Court ruling; homeowners should expect resistance.  One industry blog -- www.hoaleader.com of September 13, 2013 – in describing Wittenberg said the opinion requires “HOAs to Give Equal Time to DISSIDENTS,” though the term DISSIDENT is used nowhere in the opinion. [This term, along with “troublemaker, nuisance, and ringleader” are routinely used to discredit homeowners holding views different from those of the board.]

Nonetheless, homeowners should follow the lead of the Orange County homeowners who said their main objective in forwarding the CCHAL NewsBrief and the Appeals Court ruling was “to make sure that THEY (board, property manager, and law firm) knew that WE knew (about the Wittenberg decision and its ramifications for HOA elections.”)  (Emphasis added.)

So what specifically can homeowners do?

  • • Organize 2 or 3 homeowners to work on this education/outreach project
  • • Read and study the Court’s opinion on Wittenberg
  • • Make a copy of the opinion for each board member, property manager, and HOA attorney (if your HOA has one.)
  • • Include the CCHAL NewsBrief found at http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=1596
  • • Go to the next board meeting and hand deliver the copies during the Open Forum section of the meeting; make a short presentation describing the importance of Wittenberg and its impact on elections in your association
  • • Ask/insist that your presentation and delivery of the documents be recorded in the meeting minutes
  • • Write an article about Wittenberg for the HOA newsletter or website
  • • If your HOA is already in the middle of elections, distribute a copy to each board candidate
  • • Be polite, but firm.
  • • Carry an olive branch – leave the boxing gloves at home.
  • • Come up with other ideas not listed here and let us know what they are

NOTE about the word DISSIDENT used by HOAleader – but used NOWHERE in the Court’s 19-page opinion.  The author of HOAleader will want to know that DISSIDENT has a long and honorable history starting with the religious DISSENTERS, who left England and sailed to the New World to search for freedom in what became America.

Homeowners who get dismissed as DISSENTERS should be honored: they are in some pretty awesome company.   Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Mairead Corrigan, Aung San Suu Kyi and quite a few other DISSENTERS are on the list of Nobel Peace Prize winners....

CCHAL NewsBrief
September 18, 2013
Copyright; all rights reserved
To request permission to republish, email info@calhomelaw.org

Friday, September 13, 2013

On The Commons this week is Shelly Marshall.

Hosted and produced by Shu BartholomewOn The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.
 Buying real estate is an emotional purchase.  People fall in love with the house, the furniture, a feeling,  the smell of brownies baking in the oven, a view or the potential the plot has.  The sad part is that if that purchase is in an involuntary membership association it comes with extra fees, hidden costs and lots of traps for the uninitiated.  The glossy brochures or the real estate sales people never tell you that the sparkling pool that looks so refreshing and inviting could cost you your house.  Or that the rose bush you plan on planting in YOUR front yard could land you in court. 
 And when you discover that you ended up with a lot more than you bargained for, what do you do?  Where do you go for the answers?
 Joining us On The Commons this week is Shelly Marshall.  Shelly owns a house in a rural  recreational association in Utah.  When some of the full time residents decided to change the rules and the feel of the neighborhood they did not expect Shelly and her neighbors to object.  But object they did.  They got organized, learned everything they could about associations, laws, documents and how to work as a team.  When it was all over with, Shelly wrote an e- book, called HOA WARRIOR and she maintains a blog at http://hoawarrior.com.  Everyone out there, wondering where to turn and what to do next, tune in to the show, check out her website and read her book.
 On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax.  In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 37.  On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia.  To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to http://www.radiofairfax.com and click on “Stream Radio Fairfax” and if you are on the go, on your mobile devices,  http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Fairfax-s24818  The show will be available on http://onthecommons.us/ shortly afterwards.  Please also visit our archives at http://onthecommons.net .

Shu Bartholomew

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Court rules there is equal access to media for HOA elections

From the newsletter of the Center for  California association law (https://www.calhomelaw.org) comes a report on an important ruling in association elections. Every state is different in association law but very similar in corporate law so it pays to keep abreast of important court rulings. Here is what they report:

In a victory for homeowners, a California appeals court ruled June 26 that, when holding an election, an association (HOA) must give homeowners with opposing views equal access to association media, if the board itself is promoting a position.
 The ruling reversed the trial court decision stating that the HOA did not violate Civil Code 1363.03 provisions requiring the HOA to give opponents equal access to the association’s newsletters, website, and other media during a campaign.
The campaign in question was to amend the association’s CC&Rs.
The law firm of Adams Kessler represented the association during the lower court bench trial.  It argued that the HOA board was only providing “information” about the ballot measure and was not engaging in advocacy, that is: the board’s activities did not trigger the “equal access” provision of the statute (Civil Code 1363.03, subdivision (a)(1) and (a)(2).
The Appeals court disagreed and reversed the trial court ruling.  It said that, for purposes of complying with the elections statute, the “board” is a “member” of the association with no greater rights of access to association media than any other member of the associations and that once it uses association media for “advocacy” then the “equal access” provision is triggered.
I think this is only fair--that way boards can't advocate and cut off the opposing views.

~Post by Shelly Marshall