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Case Law

Fifteen Important Cases

Beehan v. Lido Isle Community Association

(1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 858 An association may exercise prudent business discretion in deciding whether or not to sue for a violation of the governing documents.

Castaneda v. Olsher

(2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 624 The owner of a mobile home park may have a duty to protect park residents from potential gang-related violence where the park has a history of violent gang activity.

Cohen v. Kite Hill Community Association

(1983) 142 Cal.App.3d 642 An association must exercise its authority to approve or disapprove architectural modifications in a manner consistent with the CC&Rs.  The association cannot grant approvals prohibited by the CC&Rs.

Dolan-King v. Rancho Santa Fe Association

(2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 965 The burden of proof is on the challenging homeowner to prove the unreasonableness of an unrecorded restriction. A homeowner challenging the architectural decision of an association in court has the burden of proving that the association's decision was unreasonable and arbitrary under the circumstances.  A decision is unreasonable and arbitrary when it bears no rational relationship to the protection, preservation, operation or purpose of the affected land.  Unrecorded use restrictions (e.g., rules, guidelines, etc.) may not be given a presumption of reasonableness, but evaluated under a straight reasonableness test.  See also, Clark v. Rancho Santa Fe Association (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 606.

Frances T.  v. Village Green Owners Association

(1986) 42 Cal.3d 490 The California Supreme Court held that a condominium association may be held to a landlord's standard of care as to common areas under its control, in a case brought by a unit owner who was raped in the unlit common area of the association after she had been instructed to remove the lights she installed because the association had not.

Haley v. Casa Del Rey Homeowners Association

(2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 863 Relying on Lamden v. La Jolla Shores Clubdominium Homeowners Association (1999) 21 Cal.4th 249, the court held that the association had discretion to select among means for remedying violations of the CC&Rs without resorting to expensive and time-consuming litigation, and the courts should defer to that discretion in a case involving homeowners who brought an action against the association and other owners for, among other things, encroachments into the common area.  See also, Beehan v. Lido Isle Community Association (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 858.

Heather Farms Homeowners Association v. Robinson

(1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1568 The court has discretion to determine whether there is a prevailing party for the purposes of awarding attorney fees in an action resolved by settlement and mutual dismissals.

Heiman v. Worker's Compensation Appeals Board

(2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 724 A property manager and its association were held to be co-employers with an unlicensed contractor subject to Labor Code ‘ 2750.5.  They were all held responsible for payment of worker's compensation benefits and any tort liability arising from an accident which injured the contractor's employee, even though the manager did not know the contractor was unlicensed and uninsured when the contractor was hired.

Ironwood Owners Assn. IX v. Solomon

(1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 766 An association must follow its own internal disciplinary procedures before seeking relief in court.

James F. O'Toole Co., Inc. v. Los Angeles Kingsbury Court Owners Association

(2005) 126 C.A.4th 549 The court ordered an association to impose a special emergency assessment to pay a $140,000 judgment obtained by a homeowner.  The court also ordered the appointment of a receiver to carry out the order.

Lamden v. La Jolla Shores Clubdominium Association

(1999) 21 Cal.4th 249 California Supreme Court held that a court should defer to a board's authority and presumed expertise in discretionary decisions regarding the maintenance and repair of the common areas, provided that the decisions are based upon reasonable investigation, made in good faith and with regard to the best interest of the association, and are within the scope of authority given to the board under the relevant statutes and CC&Rs.

Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Assn.

(1994) 8 Cal.4th 361 According to the California Supreme Court, CC&R restrictions are presumed reasonable and will be enforced uniformly against all association members unless the restrictions are arbitrary, impose burdens on the property that substantially outweigh the restriction's benefits to the development's residents, or violate a fundamental public policy.

Pacific Hills Homeowners Association v. Prun

(2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1557 The court held that the 5-year statute of limitations set forth in Code of Civil Procedure ‘336 controls both the enforcement of CC&R provisions and the rules, in a case involving owners in a planned development who installed a gate and a fence in violation of the height and setback requirements of the CC&Rs and architectural guidelines adopted as rules.

Park Place Estates Homeowners Association v. Naber

(1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 427 An owner may not withhold assessments owed to the association as a set off to his alleged claims against the association.

Villa De Las Palmas Homeowners Association v. Terifaj

(2004) 33 Cal.4th 73 According to the California Supreme Court, a use restriction duly adopted by an amendment to the CC&Rs after an owner acquires his unit is enforceable against that owner through an injunctive relief action, even though the owner disagrees with the amendment.


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