Everything About HOA

I may hate it but you may not…

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[Disclaimer: the following is not legal advice. All information based on my experience in California.]

The article is not bad, but I noticed something that I believe to be wrong.

It says that the HOA can fine you and can take your property from you (via foreclosure) if you refuse to pay the fines.

I believe that only voluntary liens can allow the lienholder to do a trustee sale (non-judicial foreclosure). Examples of voluntary liens are property taxes or deeds of trust (commonly known as mortgages).
Examples of non-voluntary liens are mechanic’s liens or HOA liens or judgments.

Specifically, with HOAs, I believe they can only foreclose for non-payment of recurring fees, such as monthly dues. A fine for painting the door in the wrong color? Not a reason to foreclose… A special assessment to pave the private roads? Non-payment should not allow foreclosure (since it’s a one-time assessment).

In the end, I would not recommend non-payment of fines or special assessments, because, even if one never sells, maybe in 10 years, you want to cash-out refinance… and at that point, the HOA would get paid.

Also, if you owe the HOA enough money (I mean… a LOT of it), they have other options besides trustee sale. I believe even in a trust-deed state like California they could file suit in Superior Court, the (most likely losing) home owner would pay the HOA’s legal fees plus the past due fines, the judge may even force the sale. Not that I have seen this happen.

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“the data shows that 90 percent of Americans are satisfied with their associations.”

So can’t be all bad.

Having said that, my West Oakland HOA just charged me $1200 for “garage framing” that I didn’t know anything about until the bill showed up. Will have some fun conversation with the staff on Monday…


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@ptiemann, you are right. From my time on a HOA board, they can not take your property because of fines. The usual procedure is to wait until you sell the property and collect then. They do not even have to put a lien on the property. They can just refuse to supply the escrow company with any information until you pay it. HOA monthly dues can add up quickly due to late charges and interest. It is best to stay on top of them. Strangely enough, the do not charge late charges on fines.

I remember a case about thirty years ago when an elderly woman in Milpitas lost her condo over 10k in late fees. Her lawyer told her not to worry about the late fees because they would never foreclose because of them. I bet he got sued for malpractice.

More HOA info if that is your thing…

Not that I would ever go near a condo, but you might…


Just like at city council meetings…Open meetings are theater…All the real action is done before the meetings in private…


I’m living in condo with 220 units. And our HOA has interesting rent restrictions:

30% of units could be rented if unit purchase date before 1990.
25% of units could be rented if unit purchase date before 2000.
20% of units could be rented if unit purchase date after 2000

I signed up to rent my condo (purchase date is after 2000) 2 years back, and at that time I was #9 in queue.

Recently I’ve checked with HOA what is my number, and… today it’s #14(!). Because someone who purchased condo`s before 2000 rented up their units.

Real story :slight_smile:


Shouldn’t there be 3 different queues then?

Have you checked with anyone to see if that is even legal?

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Sure, why not? It was part of the deal in buying there (CCRs or whatever the rules are).

Welcome @Aleksei_Petrovski!

Shouldn’t there be 3 different queues then?

I wish :slight_smile:

Have you checked with anyone to see if that is even legal?

Haven’t check with anyone yet. Might want to reach out someone…

Welcome @Aleksei_Petrovski!

thank you.

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From one lawyer about lease restrictions.

There is a statute in California which prohibits unreasonable restraints on alienation of property (Civil Code Section 711). The key to avoiding contradiction of that statute is to propose a “reasonable” restriction. “Reasonable” restrictions include those that are rationally related to the problem you are trying to address, such as preserving the residential quality of the neighborhood and avoiding common problems identified with high percentage rental developments. When proposing percentages for restrictions, considering objective standards such as those set by the secondary lending industry (FNMA, FHLMC, etc.), and finding a sufficient buffer below those standards is a good way of looking at a reasonable limitation. “Grandfathering” and “hardship provisions” are very important as well. They, too, speak to the reasonableness of the amendment. This is why I believe that a prohibition on purchase by investors would meet tougher opposition in court.

The key here is reasonable. I doubt that it would be reasonable to set different percentages for different people or to let people jump the list to get in front of people who are already on it. You might see a lawyer. Although it would be expensive to file suit, you might find one that would send them a letter to tell them what they are doing is illegal. That would give you some leverage to negotiate with the HOA.

Another idea I came up with is to actually sell the leasee a part of the home, (1%) when he signs the lease. He would then become part owner and you may be able to get around the restriction like that. It would have to be worded in the lease that at the end of the lease he would sell it back to you.


Say the renter is a relative. Let the HOA prove different

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HOAs can come up with some stupid rules. When I sold my townhouse last summer, they demanded that I change back anything I did without an architectural approval. This included items done by the last owner. At issue was converting the fireplace from wood to gas and installing a window air conditioning unit in the living room wall. The latest set of revised CC&Rs was just approved and gave them the authority to enter my unit before closing and inspect it.

I ended up not changing anything. I pointed out that the air quality board had barred any changes from gas to wood appliances so that took care of that part. The inspector was the property manager who didn’t even notice the air conditioning unit. I was told i needed a chimney inspection although I never used the fireplace, but they accepted the home inspection person’s inspection because he was also a licensed contractor.

I think though it may be stretching there boundaries to say they have the right to come into your house and inspected it ( and charge you for it.)

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Thanks for sharing. Hence my deep dislike for condo/townhome developments where HOAs are present.