Reader Questions - The Small HOA

board members c c & rs governing documents h o a homefront reader questions Jan 14, 2013


I am Treasurer of a 12 unit HOA, built in 1978, and that is how old all the governing documents are. I know we need to update the documents. Is there a CCRs for dummies book? Also, we have a fire alarm we pay to have checked annually, no one knows what the panel is for. Davis Stirling doesn’t really address if that fire alarm panel is required by law and needs to be kept up to date? And like noted in your articles, we are trying to be fiscally responsible with our funds. I guess I’m looking for a cost effective fix/direction.


A.E., Riverside

Dear A.E.,

When the original Davis-Stirling Act became law in 1985, it was just a few pages long. Today it would fill a booklet and free guidance can be hard to find. The Department of Real Estate has a very simple pamphlet. California Association of Realtors issued the “Owners Guide to the Common Interest Development” which you can obtain from your Realtor. Your local CAI Chapter offers information – visit to locate a local Chapter. There are many law firm web sites, including some which use the name of the law in their title, but there is no “official” site for California HOA law.

As to the fire alarms, those are governed by local and state law. Your local fire department or Fire Marshall should be able to help answer questions.


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®.