Interpretation & Enforcement
A key ingredient in managing and operating common interest developments is interpreting and applying the governing documents to everyday situations. It is easy to get lost in the myriad of an association’s governing documents, including the Declaration / CC&Rs, bylaws, articles of incorporation, condominium plan or tract map, architectural guidelines and rules and regulations. To add complexity to the issue, sometimes the documents conflict with each other or with California law.
The attorneys at Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. are experts in reviewing and interpreting community association governing documents. When issues arise, we conduct a thorough review of the documents, research current California statutory and case law and work with the board and community manager to produce a well-reasoned analysis upon which the community association can rely.
Correct document interpretation goes hand in hand with document enforcement. Investigating violation complaints and gaining a homeowner’s compliance can be challenging. California law and the governing documents provide various enforcement procedures and remedies. Using our expertise and skill, the HOA attorneys at Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. will guide your common interest development through the enforcement process. Our enforcement services include:
- Investigation of violations and complaints
- Violation notices
- Cease and desist letters
- Demand letters
- Hearing process
- Enforcement remedies (monetary penalties, suspension of voting rights and/or amenity privileges)
- Development of enforcement procedures/policies
- Internal dispute resolution (IDR)
- Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
- Mediation or arbitration
- Restraining Orders
Amendments & Restatements
Are your community association’s CC&Rs and bylaws outdated, obsolete or ambiguous? Were they written by the original developer of your project? It is possible that rather than helping, your association’s governing documents are likely hindering your ability to effectively manage and operate your community. Unclear and outdated governing documents result in additional time and may cost additional money to determine the rights and obligations of the homeowners and the community association.
The attorneys and staff at Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. are highly experienced in all aspects of the CC&R and bylaw restatement and amendment process. Whether your common interest development needs to start fresh with an entirely new or restated set of CC&Rs and bylaws or simply amend existing provisions, we can help make the process easy and efficient.
We will lead you through drafting documents that meet the needs of your community association, assist in educating homeowners about the reasons for the revisions and guide you through the voting process. Once your community association has an amended and/or restated set of CC&Rs and bylaws, we can work with you to review and revise other governing documents, including rules and regulations and architectural guidelines, to ensure consistency with an effective and comprehensive set of governing documents.
We have assisted hundreds of associations in restating their CC&Rs and bylaws through a flat fee program designed to most effectively and efficiently implement a CC&R/bylaw restatement.
Maintenance & Repair Obligations
Cooperative maintenance obligations are one of the foundational elements of living within a community association. The maintenance obligations of both the common interest development and the homeowners are generally established in the governing documents (including the Declaration / CC&Rs, bylaws and rules and regulations) and California law. Often, these maintenance obligations are not as clear as desired. One of the most commonly asked questions is “Who is responsible for X?” Determining the correct answer involves legal review and interpretation of the governing documents, California case and statutory law.
The experienced HOA attorneys at Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. will guide your community association through the myriad of maintenance issues encountered on a daily basis with the goal of preserving, protecting and enhancing property values and reducing potential liability for deferred maintenance.
Disputes over architectural improvements are common in HOAs and can result in potential liability and expense to your community association. Common architectural conflicts involve unauthorized modifications, unclear guidelines and failure to follow procedures by homeowners or even by an association.
The HOA attorneys at Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. are experienced in handling all aspects of architectural compliance matters including:
- Drafting and reviewing architectural guidelines and procedures
- Interpreting and applying existing architectural guidelines and procedures
- Assisting in investigating possible architectural violations
- Preparing disclosures required by law
- Advising boards and architectural committees in the review and decision-making process
- Enforcement and dispute resolution
The Law Firm of Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. can help your community association be proactive in addressing architectural compliance matters and reducing potential liability. If issues cannot be resolved amicably with Owners, our experienced attorneys will help your community association enforce your architectural standards through IDR, ADR or a compliance lawsuit.
Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR)/Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
A long, drawn out battle in court is not the only way to resolve a legal dispute. Conflicts involving community associations and their homeowners are often successfully resolved using more informal or alternative dispute resolution techniques.
Dispute resolution prior to a lawsuit ranges from informal discussions or meetings known as Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR), to more structured Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) proceedings such as mediation and non-binding or binding arbitration. IDR and ADR often provide a faster, more streamlined resolution of conflicts. Engaging in IDR and ADR may also present an opportunity for the parties to determine the outcome of the dispute as opposed to having a resolution imposed upon them.
The HOA attorneys at Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. are experienced in all aspects of dispute resolution. We can assist you in preparing appropriate IDR and ADR policies and prepare you for participating in IDR, mediation or arbitration and work with you to achieve a successful outcome. With our help you can focus on the heart of the problem and increase your chances of reaching a reasonable conclusion to the dispute.