Reader Questions - Is Ours A CID, The Small Association

board members c c & rs h o a homefront reader questions Aug 11, 2014

Dear Kelly,

I live in a stock cooperative mobile home park. Do we come under the California HOA laws? If not how can we change to come under the California HOA laws. We do abide by the HOA board election Laws. I would appreciate any help regarding this issue.

 Thank you,

J.D., Chino Hills

 Dear J.D.,

To fall under the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, an association must be a “common interest development” with at least some residences. A “common interest development” (aka “CID”) per Civil Code 4200 means the association is either a planned development, condominium, stock cooperative or community apartment (see Column #100 for more on this) with a recorded declaration and final map or condominium plan, and membership coupled with an ownership in common area and/or automatic membership.

I frequently receive this question from mobile home park residents, but unless you own the land under your home and there are recorded covenants affecting you, your park is not a CID governed by the CID Act. However, you all can voluntarily follow the law if you all choose.

Thanks for your question,

Dear Mr. Richardson,

Saw your column in our paper. Hope you have an answer to the following. We are a small community (of less than 30 homes). For over 35 years we have governed our affairs according to CC&Rs created by the builder. Enter the Davis-Stirling Act. Our assessment has doubled. We now have legal, consultant and management costs to assist us to comply. Our current Board is so concerned of doing something that is not in accordance with the Act that we find ourselves arguing over details that never existed before. People have quit coming to meetings; there is a rancor now that pits board against homeowners.

I can understand the need for a layer of government intrusion for large associations, but I fail to see any benefit for small subdivisions like us, it is onerous to say the least.

Is there something we are missing? Have we no recourse but to wade through 84 pages of details that have done nothing to help the process?

J.B., Orange

Dear J.B.,

The Davis-Stirling CID Act is a “one size fits all” law, but associations do not come in one size. The Act becomes longer and more complicated each year, meaning that even the small associations should have a professional manager and a lawyer to help them comply with the various legal requirements.

Bluntly, some requirements are unreasonable for small associations. For example, why should a ten member HOA have ballots in sealed envelopes, with inspectors of election, and 30 day notification? Why cannot they just have a voice vote or vote of acclamation to elect directors? Because the law prohibits it!

One association board told me recently that they didn’t worry about the CID Act or their governing documents on most matters. “We get along, and do things by agreement”, I was told. That works until one homeowner begins to disagree- and then it all will cave in when all the various illegalities are revealed.

Small associations should require their directors to join the local Community Associations Institute (CAI) Chapter and attend at least 3 hours of board training seminars per year. That will not guarantee you have everything right, but it will improve things.


Written by Kelly G. Richardson

Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to [email protected]. Past columns at All rights reserved®.