Starting the Conversation: Convincing Sellers to Stage a Home

By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating Staging is no longer optional for sellers who want to get the most value from their home. Many sellers are still reluctant to stage, making it a tough sell for their real estate agent. Several key points can help overcome skepticism and convince sellers […]

Beeping Horn

QUESTION: When homeowner A locks his car, the horn beeps. Tenant B screams “I will blow that ****ing car up.” So, A locks his car during the day only, not at night. Unfortunately, B works out of his unit and naps during the day so he can work through the night. B is threatening to sue.

ANSWER: Your tenant sounds like an al-Qaeda recruit. First, put the association’s insurance on notice of a potential claim. I know it sounds silly but you need to preserve the association’s rights under its insurance policy.

Investigate. Next, your board has a duty to investigate the complaint and take appropriate action. If the horn really is a nuisance, “A” needs to stop using his remote. He can manually lock his car or have the beep disabled.

No Nuisance. If the board decides that a beep during the day is not a nuisance, the association does not need to get involved in a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute. The board should, however, document its actions and send a letter to the landlord with a copy to the tenant that it investigated the complaint and found no violation. So the board’s cars don’t get blown up, you may want your lawyer to send the letter.

NOTE: I don’t think it’s widely known but God made ear plugs for people with odd sleeping habits. They’re also cheaper than a lawsuit. The landlord should consider making the investment (or get a new tenant).


QUESTION: We circulated a ballot to amend our CC&Rs. We had to extend the voting deadline three times to get enough ballots. One owner turned in his ballot and then sold his unit. Must we discard his ballot and issue one to the buyer?

ANSWER: The seller’s ballot is still valid. If he was the owner of record when ballots were distributed, he is the one with the right to vote. The buyer can vote in later elections.


QUESTION: DRE regulations of the Real Estate Commissioner state on page 282 section (E) that cable contracts can be five years. According to your hierarchy of docs, does that trump the CC&Rs restricting any contract exceeding one year ?

ANSWER: As a side note, California’s Department of Real Estate was renamed the Bureau of Real Estate (perhaps to emphasize bureaucratic creep?). The Regulation you refer to is §2792.21 “Reasonable Arrangements–Governing Body Powers and Limitations.” Subsection (b)(1)(E) deals with the length of contracts.

Purpose of Regulations. The purpose of the regulation is to establish reasonable standards for developers to use when they form homeowners associations. A developer’s proposed CC&Rs must meet these standards or they won’t be approved by the BRE.

Hierarchy of Documents. The hierarchy you refer do does not trump your CC&Rs because there is no conflict. The regulation applies to developers of common interest developments and is concerned with  cable contracts that exceed five years. If the developer’s attorney drafted CC&Rs that restrict the board from approving contracts greater than one year and the BRE approved it, you’re bound by the restriction. Your board would need membership approval for any agreement with a term greater than one year.

RECOMMENDATION: Once the developer has sold his units and turned over control to the membership, you can amend your CC&Rs to modify or eliminate contract limitations. We routinely add longer contract periods when we restate documents for associations. It can also be done with a simple amendment. If you want to take advantage of reduced costs associated with longer contracts, you need to amend your CC&Rs. 


All boards are welcome to attend S&L Management’s annual “Board Leadership Workshop.” Attorney Cang Le from Adams Kessler, Michael Berg from Berg Insurances, Mike Graves from SCT Reserve Consultants, and Krystal Walker from Fox & Stephens CPAs will be guest speakers.

The event will be Friday, September 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery in Temecula. Complimentary breakfast & lunch will be served during the program.

RSVP to Rosy Amlani at or (951) 698-4030.


Equity Management is putting on its Annual Board Symposium. There will be a speaker on the water crisis and how it affects HOA communities.

I will be part of a panel for an “Ask the Attorney” discussion related to the drought (and any other legal questions that may arise). This dinner event will be held on Thursday, September 4 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula.

RSVP to Melissa Walker at or (951) 296-5640.

Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC

“Legal solutions through knowledge, insight, and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; you can contact us at (800) 464-2817 or

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Red-hot job market conditions exist in North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and Delaware. Job growth rates in these states are running roughly twice as fast as the national average. At the other end of the spectrum, Alaska, New Mexico, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Illinois are adding jobs at a slow pace. Note: these states are not […]

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By 2014 NAR President Steve Brown I’m excited to announce the launch of our new campaign, Conversations with Real Insight. This new initiative is a series of live and online events that feature REALTORS®, policymakers, and various industry leaders who will discuss the important issues affecting real estate today. Our first guest was Julián Castro, […]

Latest Mortgage Applications Data

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RECAP: July Existing Home Sales Data Release

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