False Resume

 QUESTION: What can be done, if anything, if a candidate includes qualifications in his/her election biography that are not genuine? What if they are elected?

ANSWER: When candidates puff their resumes or lie about their background, board members, candidates and homeowners can point out the false statements to anyone who will listen. This is no different than political campaigns for city council, governor or president–mud and truth fly with equal velocity and voters are left scratching their heads trying to figure out who to vote for.

Equal Access. Board members have a right to campaign the same as anyone else. However, they must do so at their own expense. If the board were to use the association’s newsletter or website to campaign, they must provide equal access to everyone who has an opinion on the matter.

Post Election. If the candidate succeeds in lying his way onto the board, fellow directors cannot remove him/her for lying unless it has to do with their qualifications to be a director as found in the bylaws. For example, he/she is a convicted felon or a non-owner and the bylaws require candidates to be owners and non-felons. If that were to happen, fellow directors could immediately remove the person from the board. In addition, the membership can remove directors at any time with or without cause. If someone lies and gets elected, the membership has two options: (i) wait until the next election and vote the person out of office or (ii) mount a recall campaign.


QUESTION: My neighborhood has CC&Rs but the Declarant no longer exists and there is no public record of their ceding or transferring their rights to anyone. What does that mean for the declaration?

ANSWER: Unless there is something else lurking in the bushes, your Declaration of Covenants Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) should be fine as-is. Your CC&Rs were recorded by the Declarant when he created your development and their recordation brought your association into existence. Your HOA is not the successor in interest to the developer. Instead, it is a separate entity that continues to exist even when your developer ceases to. You don’t need the developer’s powers, your association has its own powers via the CC&Rs, bylaws, Davis-Stirling Act and Corporations Code.

Property Transfers. It is possible, however, that the developer failed to transfer title to the common areas from his company to the association. That sometimes happens in planned developments and creates a problem. If that were to happen, your association would need to go into court on a quiet title action to have title transferred to the association.

RECOMMENDATION: When associations go through a transition from developer to homeowner control, they should use a checklist of records to make sure everything is transferred before the developer disappears into the night.


Our firm will present at the Associa/N.N. Jaeschke annual “Board Education Event” on October 30 in San Diego.

The event will be held at Associa’s office at 9610 Waples Street. Judge Larry Stirling will speak about the historical aspects of the Davis-Stirling Act, after which Christina Ciceron and I will cover the nuts and bolts of the Davis Stirling Rewrite.

N.N. Jaeschke is one of the premier management companies in the San Diego area and part of Associa, North America’s largest and most successful community management company. They provide service to single family/master planned communities, mixed use, luxury highrise, active adult, golf & club, commercial and condominium communities.

There is limited space available for this event. To RSVP, please contact Mary Pat Saffel at (858) 795-7031 or joinus@nnj.com.


Investment Policy #1. I spent over 40 years in banking and dealing with the FDIC and never did see that bank CDs were backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The FDIC is funded by assessments on banks. In the event of massive bank failures I am not sure where the full faith and credit would apply. Hence some of the concern with “too big to fail.” If you want an investment tied to full faith and credit of the United States you need to invest in US Treasury bonds or notes and Ginnie Mae securities. -Bill D.

Investment Policy #2. Just a quick comment on your article on investments. I would encourage a board to never allow one board member with this type if authority. If they are just going to local non-HOA banks there is a risk that he is the only signer on the account. Two board members must be signers. When a board uses a non-HOA friendly bank usually the board is required to visit the bank to complete the signature card. If he is doing it be himself this most likely means he is the only signer. The investment policy should state that two board members must be present or on the signature card. -Cyndi Koester, CommerceWest Bank

CAI Legal Forum #1. I wanted to say congrats and thanks for a great seminar last Friday at the CAI event. Educational with a little humor. Best seminar there. Thanks for your hard work and time. -Tom F.

CAI Legal Forum #2. You and Steve Roseman are great together! Yours was the highlight of the day. And you know how much I love your graphics… they were even BETTER than ever! -Linda H.

Website. I love your website, not only for the information you make available, but also for the design. Thank you! -Pauline K.

RESPONSE: I didn’t use government website designers.

Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC

“Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We’re friendly lawyers; you can contact us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

Should community association boards speak to the media?

I am often contacted by members of the media to discuss various association topics. These can range from the serious (secondhand smoke) to the comical (DNA testing of doggie poop).

After my part of the interview is over, I am inevitably asked by the reporter if I know of any community which fits the category we just finished discussing. Typically, I do know of a handful of communities who have either experienced the problem we discussed or contemplated/implemented the solution I suggested. I always tell the reporter I will contact these communities and see if they wish to participate in the story. Sometimes a director or manager will want to weigh in on the story but many times they are reluctant to do so.

This is one way that associations get in the news. The other way is usually when they are being sued for wrongdoing and a reporter wants the board's side of the story. The two big questions are: should association boards comment and if the answer to that question is yes, who should do the actual talking?

Some boards are wisely hesitant to comment on news stories if they believe it may portray their community in a negative light. Certainly the typical reaction to a story about a community embroiled in controversy is not going to be a selling point to potential purchasers. Conversely, a story showing a community that came together to assist a neighbor in distress or battled a problem such as a cell phone tower installation might garner that community some positive attention.

Media reports can impact a community's property values and reputation both positively and negatively; it all depends on the nature of the story. Sometimes even very negative stories require a community's input as no comment may be much worse than a thoughtful, deliberate response. Also, there is value in sharing some hard-won wisdom with others who are going through similar circumstances.

Once you decide that speaking to the media for a particular story is in your best interests, you must decide next who should do the talking on your community's behalf. Most communities do not have trained spokespeople on hand so this choice can be problematic.  Your choices in this regard include a member of the board, the association's manager or principal of the management company or the association's attorney. 

If the story is focused on proposed, pending, existing or completed litigation, it is absolutely vital to speak to your attorney before giving any comment. Speaking to the media may jeopardize a pending or contemplated case as well as violate a confidentiality agreement post litigation. For all other stories, it is best to pick the person who can articulate the association's position in a concise, positive manner.

Just remember, there really is no such thing as "speaking off the record" so if your board does decide to participate in a media story and you are unclear about what is being asked and how you want to answer, ask for your interview to take place, in part or in whole, via email so you can spend some time deliberating on your answers.

3 Mistakes Every Rookie Landlord Should Avoid

For those who are just getting into the business of investing in rental property, there are plenty of things to learn. Everyone makes mistakes, but the sooner you can learn valuable lessons, the smoother your landlord/tenant interactions will be.

Whenever you make a mistake as a rookie landlord, you may feel terrible about yourself and wonder what on earth you are doing in this business. However, if you can find the strength and stamina to look at the mistake, analyze it and make changes in how you do business, you can implement some changes that will make your business run more smoothly.

Here are some rookie mistakes that can teach you valuable lessons:

Mistake #1: Not Being Strict Enough

You are too lenient with late rent, failing to impose late fees, bargaining with tenants and spending too much time trying to get in touch with them. You are more worried about being a “nice guy” instead of running a business. You postpone delivering pay or quit notices, thinking that deadbeat tenants will eventually come around. As a result, you lose income and waste time.

What’s the lesson learned?

Implement a strict and clear policy about late fees and rarely grant exceptions. Deliver pay or quit notices on time and follow through. When your tenants realize that you are not a pushover, they will increase their efforts to get the rent to you in full and on time. If they don’t, you’ve gotten a head start on the eviction process.

Mistake #2: Using Generic Rental Forms

You downloaded a generic lease agreement from the internet for your rental properties, thinking you will save money by not using an attorney. However, you find that you are constantly battling with tenants about what they can and can’t do, negotiating restrictions and permissions and realizing you have no way to enforce behaviors. You are spending lots of time and money dealing with a range of minor landlord/tenant issues that are piling up quickly

What’s the lesson learned?

Use a customized detailed lease agreement that specifically addresses the unique features of your property. Create a lease agreement with an attorney who has experience in landlord/tenant laws. Go through the lease agreement line by line with each prospective tenant before they sign to ensure that there is no confusion on the expectations of tenancy.

Mistake #3: Not Being Educated

You are in a dispute with a tenant about something concerning the rental property. Both of you are convinced that you are right and upon investigation, you find that your city ordinances support the tenant’s position. At best, you look ignorant of the laws in front of the tenant, and at worst, you may have done something against the law, even unknowingly.

What’s the lesson learned?

Renting property and being a landlord is a business and you need to learn all you can about the regulations, ordinances and laws that concern it. Don’t rely on generic information—you need to know precisely what information applies to you in your state and municipality, from how often you can enter the property to how to deduct from a security deposit. If you unintentionally violate one of them, you lose tenants, lose money and even face an expensive legal battle.

Every landlord encounters negative experiences, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn your lesson and make changes so that such mistakes won’t happen again. Eventually, you’ll start anticipating situations and potential conflicts and take steps to reduce the possibilities.

So, let me know in the comments below what YOUR biggest rookie mistake was when starting out.

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Can Landlords Ban Smoking in a Rental Property?

As more people become aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke, keeping your property smoke-free is more than just controlling a nuisance—it’s protecting the health and well-being of other tenants and neighbors.

But how far can landlords go to control smoking on their rental property?

Most states support a landlord’s right to designate his or her rental property as smoke-free. Smokers are not a protected legal class and smoking is not a right, so most of the laws don’t stop a landlord from implementing regulations and restrictions about smoking.

Screening Smokers During the Application Process

Because smokers are not a protected class under federal or state law, as a landlord you can refuse to rent to smokers. In other words, you can reject an application if you are told that the applicant intends to smoke in your rental property.

So, if you are interested in keeping your rental property 100% smoke-free, it is not illegal for you to refuse smoking tenants. It is your right and responsibility to set up and maintain your property the way you want, as long as it is legal.

Address Smoking in the Lease Agreement

As long as the smoking restrictions are included in the lease agreement, most states will back up the landlord’s rights to create a smoke-free environment at the rental property. Generally, you can establish the conditions on where and if a tenant can smoke. The strictness of the restrictions is up to you.

Some landlords establish a smoking area somewhere on the property, such as outside at least 10 feet from the rental house, or in a certain area by the outdoor pool. Or, you can prohibit smoking on the entire property. However, you do this, the lease agreement must clearly state the conditions so that they can be enforced.

If the current lease agreement does not include language that prohibits smoking, you cannot force a tenant to stop smoking at the property. Your only option is to wait until the lease expires, then add in language about the smoking restrictions upon renewing the lease agreement.

Smoke-Free Trends in Rental Properties

Nowadays, it may mean better business in the long run to keep smokers out of your rental property. Smoking tenants increase the likelihood of damage to the unit—burn and scorch marks, odor removal services and even fires.

Landlords are also the target of an increasing number of lawsuits by non-smoking tenants who are affected by secondhand smoke and claiming that landlords either don’t enforce a no smoking policy or don’t have a good enough ventilation system to take care of smoke. You can avoid this altogether when your property is smoke-free.

Is it OK to Evict a Smoker?

If the lease agreement clearly outlines the smoking restrictions and your tenant is in violation, you can start the process of eviction. It proceeds the same way any lease violation does—with an official notice to comply or quit, then filing the notice with the local court system.

Do YOU ban smoking in your rental property? Let me know in the comments below!

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How Successfully Are You Recruiting New Customers Compared to the Rest of the Industry?

These days, marketing is everything. Finding new owners and adding more properties to your portfolio is the name of the game. Yet budgets are tight, time is precious, and there is little room for error in this increasingly competitive market.

Ask yourself:

1) Are your marketing efforts recruiting new customers?

2) Are you spending your marketing budget wisely?

3) Where does the rest of the industry stand?

To help you answer these questions we recently surveyed 375 of your fellow property managers to find out what’s working and what’s not. And the results are in.


In this new world of increased competition, fickle owners, and dynamic regulation, this comes as little surprise. 84% of property managers reveal that finding new customers is the biggest challenge facing their company in the next year.


Biggest Challenges Facing Property Managers

What is surprising however is the intensity of this need. The second biggest challenge property managers reveal is finding and retaining quality employees, but this is ranked a full 26 points lower on the scale of importance.


Next, we wanted to understand how property managers allocate their marketing budgets. We learned that the highest percentage (about 23%) is focused on Online Lead Services. Second is Word of Mouth, to which property managers allocate 19% of their marketing budget. Other sources of focus include Standalone Websites, Broker Referrals, and Print. TV/Radio and Social Media receive the least funding.


What is interesting about these responses is how little property managers invest in newer marketing channels such as Social Media, or how little time property managers spend to plan and host Events. It seems that many managers are being cautious with their resources and sticking with known channels or using methods that don?t require a whole lot of time.


Property managers told us that 33% of new customers come from Word of Mouth referrals, the most of any source. Online Lead Services come in second with 20.2%. Other sources of value include Standalone Websites and Broker Referrals. Social media, TV/Radio, and Events are the least effective sources of new customers.



Lastly when it comes to quality, Word of Mouth and Broker Referrals received the most ratings of 1 or 2 and had the highest net quality ratings of 252 and 129 respectively. Property management companies said that their leads from the Yellow Pages, Flyers and TV are the worst quality, with the three sources having the three lowest net quality ratings. The most common response for each source was a rating of 3, as you can see on the graph.


How Successfully Are You Recruiting New Customers Compared to the Rest of the Industry?

We know it’s hard out there. Finding new customers and retaining them is tough work. But that’s our area of expertise. Over the last 10 years, All Property Management has connected over 600,000 owners to property managers just like you, from coast-to-coast. Call us and talk to an account manager today: (855) 818-9340.

When Early Termination of a Rental Lease Agreement is for the Best

No landlord likes to deal with early termination of a rental lease agreement, especially when it comes out of the blue.  However, many states have laws that allow for early termination in special circumstances – and although these can be frustrating for landlords, they can be literally life-saving for tenants.

Abuse and Domestic Violence

Consider, for example, Virginia’s newly-enacted law allowing tenants to terminate a lease early if they are the victims of abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence, and staying in the rental unit would continue to expose them to harm.  Under Virginia’s new statute, tenants may terminate a rental agreement early if they:

  • Have obtained a protective order and  have given written notice of their plans to terminate the lease while the protective order or any extension of the order is in effect, or
  • The perpetrator has been convicted of sexual assault or family abuse and the tenant has given written notice of their plans to terminate the lease.

In most cases, the tenant seeking to terminate the lease early will be attempting to move out in order to escape abuse, domestic violence, or both perpetrated by another member of the household.   And in most cases, the best way to protect the person moving out is to let them go.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, victims of domestic violence face the highest chance of being killed by a partner while they are trying to leave the relationship.  Some studies estimate that the risk of a fatal attack more than doubles when the victim tries to “get out.”

However, landlords do not have to give up all their rights if a tenant happens to be the victim of domestic violence or abuse.  For instance, Virginia’s new law offers landlords the following protections:

  • Landlords are entitled to 30 days’ written notice before the tenant moves out, and
  • Landlords may require the tenant to provide a copy of the protective order or conviction order.

In addition, co-tenants are still responsible for the full amount of rent due.  If the only remaining co-tenant is the perpetrator of the abuse, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement and seek actual damages against the perpetrator.


Similarly, some states provide an early-termination option for tenants who develop a disability that precludes their ability to live alone, and no one is available to move in with them.

Michigan, for instance, allows a disabled or elderly tenant to terminate a lease early if:

  • The tenant has a disability or medical condition that prevents him or her from living alone, and
  • The tenant has occupied the rental unit for at least 13 months.

As in Virginia, Michigan’s law requires tenants to give written notice to landlords, including a written and notarized copy of a doctor’s order or diagnosis explaining that the tenant cannot live alone.

These legal exceptions can make life temporarily more difficult for landlords.  No landlord wants to deal with an early termination and the headaches and lost income involved in finding another tenant.  However, protecting tenants from abuse or injuries suffered while attempting to live alone without the ability to do so far outweighs the temporary problems of a vacant unit.

Note: This article is provided for informational purposes only.  No information provided in this article should be considered legal advice.  If you have legal questions, please consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your area.

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Have you ever been the victim of a crime in your community association?

Over the weekend, I finally watched a movie called The Bling Ring. It is based on a true story of a group of fame-obsessed LA teens who robbed the houses of various celebrities.

While it was not shocking that these teens might have been disaffected, lacked parental oversight and behaved badly, what was unbelievable was that one celebrity after another had left a door open to the house, had not turned on their security alarm system and had wads of jewelry and money either under their beds or in unlocked safes. HUH?

In true Hollywood fashion, the bad guys were eventually caught although their actual time served was a little light-handed. Watching the teens in the movie scale walls and fences and open unlocked cars parked in neighborhoods, brought up memories of the one time I was the victim of crime inside my own homeowners' association.

I live in a community which has both a wall and a manned guard gate as well as video cameras at our entrance. Still, we have not been without security incidences over the years but most of those were related to owner error as I am about to relate. Given the difficulty one has in entering a community like mine, it may be that residents get a little looser with their own security measures. Cars may be left unlocked, garage doors stay open during the day or at night and a door or window remains unlocked.

A few years back, a number of cars in our neighborhood, including mine, had items removed from them one night. All of those cars were left unlocked, including mine. I had no one to blame but myself when I realized that all of my CDs were gone. Our board did everything right by getting the word out that the incident had occurred and reminding residents to lock their cars as well as their homes. Of course, one always assumes that these incidences are caused by other people and not the folks living in our own community but the reality is that crime occurs inside your ranks as well.

Have you ever been a victim of crime in your community association? If so, did your own error contribute to your loss as mine did? Were you lulled into a false sense of security that walls, gates, guards and cameras provide at times?

There is a happy ending to my own story. A few days after the incident, I noticed my CD case tucked into a bush in one of our common parks while I was out walking my dog. Apparently, the thieves were not so keen on my musical taste so they threw away the spoils. I had my Chicago and Journey CDs back where they rightfully belonged!

Legal Forum

Each year, the eight chapters of CAI plus the California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) put on a Legal Forum covering key legal topics affecting community associations. This year, attorneys from around the state will present a variety of topics, including the impact of the Davis-Stirling Rewrite, which attorney Steve Roseman and I will present.

Other sessions include:

  • Are You Ready for the Arbitration Arena?
  • Balancing the Three S’s: Safety, Security and Surveillance
  • Association Lawsuits and the Manager
  • Hoarders, Smokers & Harassers, Oh My!
  • Board Member Ethics: A How-To Manual for Directors
  • Resolving HOA Disputes Without Litigation
  • Ask the Attorneys
  • Reasonable Accommodations 2.0
  • Pets + People + Parking = Problems!
  • Disclosure: When to Hold ‘Em, When to Walk Away, When to Fold
  • Handling Bad-Boy Board Members and Out-of-Bounds Owners

This day-long program for community managers, board members and homeowners will be held on Friday, October 18 at the Irvine Marriott. You can register online or call CAI Member Services at (888) 224-4321.

Benefit Dinner. In addition, the evening before the seminar (Thursday the 17th) a CLAC Benefit Dinner will be held at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails, 2607 Main Street, Irvine. If you want to catch up with me and Judge Stirling, you can join us at the dinner. All proceeds from the dinner go to benefit CLAC. For more information about the dinner and to RSVP, contact Wendy Van Messel at office@caiclac.com.

NO ARTICLES. No articles this week. I’ve been working on a couple of cases, including a trial as an expert witness involving rules enforcement and architectural issues and did not have time to write. I will start up again next week (barring any floods, fires or government shutdowns).


Suspended Corp #1. I have one thing to add to the “Suspended Corporation” article. The Franchise Tax Board has said that they will begin revoking the exempt status of suspended corporations. This means that once a suspended corporation has been revived, the association will again have to file Form 3500 – Exemption Application and wait for approval. -Gary A. Vogel, CPA

Suspended Corp #2. What your article on a Suspended Corporation does not mention is the Franchise Tax Boars has now begun revoking the exempt status of a corporation once the entity is suspended. The revocation can occur for not timely filing the Statements of Information (SI-CID and SI-100) with the Secretary of State or corporate tax forms (100 and 199) with the FTB. If the revocation occurs for a past tax year the FTB will impose the annual minimum tax of $800 per year plus penalties and interest.

To revive the entity, the association must file a new exemption application (Form FTB3500) with the Exempt Organization Unit of the FTB. The application which used to be just a five-page document is now 25 pages. Along with the application you must file a copy of the endorsed articles of incorporation, executed bylaws, recorded CC&Rs and it requires five years of HOA financial information.

Reviving a corporation is no longer an easy task and can be very time consuming. My firm now charges twice the fee we once did to prepare this filing. Once approved, the FTB will refund up to four years of minimum tax paid. -Joseph Kennedy, EA, Kennedy Accounting Systems

RESPONSE: As everyone is discovering, the government has become frightfully onerous at all levels. Between the escalating taxes, higher fees and excessive regulation, once simple tasks have become painfully slow and expensive. As I cautioned last week, boards should immediately check their corporate status with the Secretary of State and, if needed, promptly revive their corporation. In addition, all associations should setup recurring calendar events for filing annual and biennial Statements of Information.


Blacklisted. We keep a list of vendors for homeowners but it is called the Active Insurance and License list. That way we are not recommending anyone and are giving homeowners the choice. Any contractors doing poor work are simply not placed on the list regardless of insured and licensing status. None of the vendors know who else is on the list so collusion is not a problem. -Kingsley M.

Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC

“Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We’re friendly lawyers; you can contact us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

Suspended Corporation

QUESTION: Our corporate status has been suspended. The website of the Secretary of State says a suspended corporation cannot conduct business. What if there is a roof leak or a burst pipe? Can we not hire someone to make necessary repairs?

ANSWER: Even though suspended, your board should continue to make repairs and pay bills while you go through the process of reviving your corporation.

Loss of Rights. Being suspended does not mean you are relieved of your obligations, it means you lose certain rights–you cannot initiate or defend yourself against lawsuits or enforce contracts. In addition, you run the risk of losing your corporate name. We are currently dealing with that issue with one of our clients. The prior management company failed to timely file Forms 100 and SI-CID with the Secretary of State. Normally, it is an easy matter to revive the corporation by simply filing the forms. Unfortunately, before they could be filed one of the members contacted the Secretary of State and acquired the association’s name.

Name Change. When the owner refused to turn over the name, the board had no choice but to choose a new name. This was once fairly easy to do, i.e., simply file a form with the new name. Unfortunately, recent procedural changes by the Secretary of State have made it more difficult. As a result, the association must first take the name change through a costly and convoluted approval process with its membership because it has subassociations.

RECOMMENDATION: Because the prior management company failed to timely file forms and because of the actions of a homeowner, a simple revivor has become a costly and disruptive exercise in frustration for the association. By one estimate, 20% of all associations are suspended. Accordingly, boards should immediately check their corporate status with the Secretary of State and, if needed, promptly take appropriate action. Finally, all associations should set up recurring calendar events for filing annual and biennial Statements of Information so as to avoid losing their corporate status.


Our Firm represents the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, an association of artists in a picturesque mountain community above Palm Springs and home to artists, art galleries and a dozen fabulous restaurants.

Art Walk and Wine Tasting. This coming Saturday (October 12) from
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Art Alliance is hosting an “Art Walk and Wine Tasting” event featuring beautiful gallery art, artists at work, live music, local dancers, extraordinary cheeses and  fine wines. Over 20 wineries will be featured and extraordinary artistic creations. The cost is $25, payable at the event.

Deer Sightings. In addition to art and wine tasting, visitors can view life-size painted deer recently installed throughout the town. The herd consists of eight bucks and seven does standing, five fawns grazing and two recumbent fawns. Each is painted a different artistic theme by different artists including one from the Idyllwild School of the Arts. I encourage everyone to attend this delightful event.


Attorney Christina Ciceron will be speaking on October 11th at the CAI San Diego Luncheon entitled “Are We There Yet? An Interactive Road Trip Through the 2014 Davis-Stirling Act.” Ms. Ciceron will be presenting with James McCormick, Jr., Esq. of Peters and Freedman and Carrie Timko, Esq. of Epsten Grinell & Howell.

Topics covered will include information on what community mangers and board members will be required to do differently under the new Act and tips and advice for confidently navigating the revamped Act. The event starts at 11:00 a.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Diego. To register, go to www.cai-sd.org.


Blacklisted #1. Hey nice Job. Just so you know we have blacklisted some HOAs. Thanks for mentioning the insurance. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them just because you have general liability insurance it doesn’t mean you are insured for a CID. -George Van Oosbree, ProTec Building Services

Blacklisted #2. We had a contractor doing a lot of work on homeowners’ yards who had lost his license and bonding due to bad business practices. We mailed to the owners that “a contractor working in the community has lost his license” and educated them on how to check the Contractors State License Board for their proposed contractor. We did it as a special mailing instead of a newsletter item to stress the importance but named no names. -Marla Hemmel, BHE Mgmt

Blacklisted #3. Years ago, we banned a termite contractor from the complex for performing unauthorized work and also for looking for jobs for their colleagues who work in other aspects of construction such as tile work, flooring, etc. I only had to order them out of the complex once for doing work not authorized by the board. We never heard from them again. -John A.

Blacklisted #4. The problem with having a list of contractors available to do work in a development is that price setting occurs among the contractors and they charge excessively. The become an “elite” group of contractors who are becoming very wealthy. This is most likely to happen in very large developments with a short list of contractors. -Judith S.

Blacklisted #5. From an insurance risk management standpoint, we do not recommend that the board opine one way or the other with respect to contractors. We have defended far too many of these under various causes of action including defamation, interference with prospective business advantage and other business torts. What I would recommend is to have a comment neutral list of contractors that members have used and whether the member is open to discuss the work done by the contractor. It covers the good, the bad and the ugly while keeping the association and the board out of it. Otherwise, the board is assuming a liability that will not benefit the association and can only give rise to potential liability. -Joel Meskin, Esq., CIRMS

RESPONSE: A contractor who ignores the association’s rules, damages the common areas, refuses to stand behind his work will have a detrimental impact on the community. If the board does not warn members and allows the contractor continued access to the association’s common areas, that too can lead to litigation. Under the circumstances, banning the contractor may be the only prudent course of action for a board to take.

Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC

“Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We’re friendly lawyers; you can contact us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

When and How Often Can a Landlord Access a Tenant Occupied Property

Even though you are the rightful owner of your rental property, the law is quite clear on when and how often you can access that property when it is occupied by a tenant.

Each state has set up strict limits on the regulations regarding accessing the property, and violating that can actually be illegal. Before you enter your occupied rental property, make sure you are familiar with the conditions imposed by your state.

Entering for Maintenance and Upkeep

Performing maintenance and upkeep tasks on the rental property is your right as the owner, but the means by which you gain entrance to the property is conditional upon providing the tenant enough notice.

Most states require that landlords deliver a written notice of the intent to enter at least 24 hours in advance, what is considered a reasonable time period. Your right to enter is also limited to normal business hours—between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays only.

Some states require that landlords can only give a notice to enter if there is actual maintenance to perform. You can’t perform a surprise inspection or a walkthrough with no intent to repair anything. If you enter the rental property for maintenance and the tenant is not home, it’s required in some states that you leave evidence of your entry, such as a note or signed business card, for the tenant.

Entering if There is an Emergency

In very limited circumstances, you can enter the rental property if there is an emergency that would cause damage to the property or harm to a person if you did not take care of it.

An example of this might be accessing an upper floor apartment because the downstairs tenant reports water dripping from the ceiling. In an emergency, you can enter the property at any time, any day of the week, whether the tenant is home or not.

You do not have to deliver a written notice to enter in an emergency, but it’s always a good idea to document your actions with a written letter explaining the circumstances and what you did to resolve the problem.

Entering to Show Your Property to Buyers

When you decide to sell your rental property, the law allows you to show it to prospective buyers, even if it is occupied by a tenant. However, the conditions of entry are strict as well.

To let your tenant know of your intent to sell, you must deliver a written notice in advance. Each state has differing time limits.

For example, in California it is 120 days. After that, you must give the tenant a written notice or an oral notice at least 24 hours in advance that you intend to bring potential buyers into the unit. Stick to normal business hours and only on weekends.

You can work additional scheduling out with the tenant and should only deviate with the tenant’s permission.

Review Landlord/Tenant Rights in Your State

While entering your own property may seem like a non-issue, it’s actually a big deal to tenants who sign a lease agreement. They are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property and are also protected from unwanted or unlawful entry—even from the owner or landlord. Protect yourself and your business by sticking to the established guidelines in your state for landlord entry.

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