Albert Einstein

homeowners associations


what those on
committees might ponder


"To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent."

Robert Copeland


"If Columbus had an advisory committee, he would probably still be at the dock."

Arthur Goldberg


"Committee—a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done."

Fred Allen


"A committe is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled."

Sir Barnett Cocks (1907)


"I don't believe a committee can write a book. It can, oh, govern a country, perhaps, but I don't believe it can write a book."

Arnold Toynbee

homeowners associations


  • Overview
  • CC&R Enforcement
  • Capital Improvements
  • Foreclosures



I assist homeowners associations to—

  • create and amend the association's bylaws, covenants, conditions and restrictions, rules, amendments and articles of incorporation

  • help enforce the association's rules

  • advise the association in its dealings with its management company

  • interpret laws as they apply to the association

  • prepare and review contracts with vendors and employees

  • manage and conduct association elections

  • organize association meetings

  • review the association's insurance, and recommend areas where additional coverage is necessary

  • advise on appropriate procedures and processes when the association is conducting board meetings



CC&R enforcement

While there is often an understable anxiety felt by the association's board about the political, financial and social costs of enforcing CC&Rs, in California, the board has a legal obligation to enforce its CC&Rs.

Because CC&Rs are designed to uphold the association's property values, its members have a reasonable expectation that the board they elect will indeed enforce the association's rules and regulations.

In enforcing the association's rules and regulations, the board should consider following these general guidelines:

  • It should befair and consistent when inspecting properties and in notifying owners about violations;

  • It should have a comprehensive enforcement policy, which it should follow;

  • If a particular CC&R provision is troublesome or difficult to enforce, the board should consider amending it;

  • It should consider increasing fine amounts to levels that would deter owners from continuing CC&R violations;

  • It should communicate consistently with homeowners about violations and about compliance measures; and

  • If permitted by the CC&Rs, it should use self-help thoughtfully and cautiously.



capital improvements

Often, the homeowners association board is not permitted to exceed a spending cap on capital improvements without member approval. Where the term "capital improvement" is not defined, boards are understandably uncertain as to whether a particular expense falls within that term.

Generally, if the improvement is either a structural improvement or restores some aspect of common area property, and the improvement either enhances the property’s overall value or extends the items useful life, it should be considered a “capital improvement”.  This generally accepted definition of “capital improvement” can provide guidance as to when an expense should be paid from reserves or might require member approval.



homeowners associations and foreclosures

In California, homeowners associations have a powerful tool to enforce the payment of dues and assessments. They have the power to foreclose on properties where accrued past dues, assessments and penalties exceed $1,800 or if any amount owed is at least a year overdue.

In the case of management companies to whom responsibility is given to collect outstanding dues and assessments, care should be taken that these companies do not abuse this foreclosure power to run up excessive colelction fees that create hostile feelings towards the association. In particular, boards should insist that no foreclosure action be commenced without their express authority.