Reader Questions – Rental IssuesFeb 22, 2021
By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL
[Dear Readers: Last week’s column on views contained a significant typo. Views are NOT automatically protected in California. My inadvertent omission of the word “not” reversed the meaning of the topic sentence. Please excuse this error.]
Kelly, I have a home that I rent. Last week I received a traffic notice stating my HOA account was levied a fine of $100 for speeding, committed by my tenant’s caregiver. Is it lawful for an HOA to be able to fine an absentee owner for behavior of a guest not known to owner? Thank you, J.S., Mission Viejo
Tenants, guests or visitors should fairly be expected to follow the association rules, but they are not subject to the CC&Rs since they are not members. Many associations have provisions in their governing documents holding the host member responsible for violations or damage caused by their tenants, guests, or visitors. Without that, the HOA would be powerless to respond to conduct which could be detrimental or even dangerous to other residents. By the way, that $100 fine is not enforceable until the HOA holds a hearing and invites you to attend, pursuant to Civil Code Section 5855. In the future, seek reimbursement from your errant tenant or guest.
Dear Kelly: The “short-term” rentals issue has been a thorn in our side. Short-term rental conditions are mandated by the city. In your experience what has been the position of HOA’s on the short-term rental situation. P.P., Cathedral City
Dear P.P.: Many cities consider short-term rentals to be a non-residential use and so either ban the practice or require licensing and collect hotel taxes. For example, associations in vacation-oriented areas such as coastal or ski areas sometimes have a widespread acceptance of such rentals, while in other associations the members may vote to ban the practice. Civil Code 4741(c), new in 2021, allows the banning of rentals of 30 days or less. Most associations should decide if such rentals will be allowed and specify conditions.
Dear Mr. Richardson: Recently you mentioned a state law that requires property owners within an HOA to provide contact information for renters residing within the home. I directed our management company (I’m currently the board president) to request all homeowners who have renters at the property to provide appropriate contact information. The management company replied that as the CC&Rs and guidelines do not call out this requirement that they have no legal obligation or ability to require that of homeowners. Is that correct? Thanks, R.V., Encinitas.
Dear R.V.: Before a landlord rents their HOA home they are required by Civil Code Section 4740 to notify the HOA of the tenant’s name and their contact information, along with the date the landlord acquired their property in the HOA. The date is important because if the HOA has a prohibition on rentals (or, in my view, a rental maximum, which is a partial prohibition), Civil Code 4740(a) states that the prohibition only applies to owners who acquired ownership after the date the prohibition was put into place. The tenant’s contact information ensures the HOA knows who has permission to use HOA amenities. HOAs may wish to consider reciting the statute’s requirements in their rules, since many are unaware of this law.
Best regards, Kelly