Law and Legislation
Merced County Courthouse Cupola (1875)
Homeowner associations ["common interest development" or CID is the term used in
As currently structured, California law concentrates decision-making power, rulemaking authority, and control over association resources -- money and assets -- in the association board. State law assigns homeowners only a minimal role in the political structure of the association.
However, changes to state law -- creating limited consumer protection for homeowners -- have been occurring slowly over the past decade for several reasons.
§ Since 1997, the number of
§ Homeowner consumer complaints have illuminated for legislators some of the defects of existing state laws governing associations, whether incorporated or not. For example:
§ More complaints are reaching the ears of legislators in
§ Five years ago the Legislature directed the California Law Revision Commission [http://www.clrc.ca.gov] to study the set of laws governing associations and to recommend legislative changes. The CLRC has been holding public hearings ever since. Though the CLRC initially named foreclosure as one of the most serious problems facing the homeowner-consumer, the commission has so far declined to tackle the intractable foreclosure laws.
§ Homeowner and consumer advocates have organized into Sacramento-based coalitions to take homeowner issues directly to legislators and to ask lawmakers to carry bills to provide consumer protection to homeowners. The senior coalition comprising the California Alliance for Retired Americans (http://www.californiaalliance.org), Gray Panthers, the Older Women's League (OWL), and the Congress of California Seniors (http://www.seniors.org) formed five years ago in Sacramento. It has been a consistent voice at the Capitol, not only for seniors but for all homeowners. The coalition has sponsored several pieces of legislation and monitored legislation introduced by others. It has consistently analyzed CID bills, testified at policy hearings, CLRC hearings, and lobbied lawmakers and the Governor's office for corrective legislation to protect homeowners.
§ Consumer organizations, including Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, has supported the campaign to change state law on nonjudicial foreclosure. CU now has a page on its national website dedicated to the
Of special concern to the homeowner consumer is the power that the state of
Until five years ago, when Senator Christine Kehoe [D-San Diego] carried AB 2289, state law allowed associations to foreclose with minimal -- or no -- disclosure to the homeowner of the association's collection policies; minimal notice of the association's intention to lien the property; and no opportunity even to discuss a payment plan with the board.
To view the list of bills signed into law (or vetoed) in the past several years, please go to the FREE online membership page. After you sign up and create a password, you will be returned to this page.
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