The development of California’s homeowners association law, first from judge’s rulings in the 70s and 80s and then in rules and statutes in the 1990s, has made document interpretation difficult for laypersons, lawyers and boards alike. The latest version of the Davis-Stirling Act, Section 4205 effective Jan. 1, 2014, has provided much-needed clarification to homeowners, associations and lawyers alike. Thanks to this rewrite, when it comes to documents, laws, articles of incorporation, bylaws and declarations, the following order applies:
(a) To the extent of any inconsistency between the governing documents and the law, the law controls.
(b) To the extent of any inconsistency between the articles of incorporation and the declaration, the declaration controls.
(c) To the extent of any inconsistency between the bylaws and the articles of incorporation or declaration, the articles of incorporation or declaration control.
(d) To the extent of any inconsistency between the operating rules and the bylaws, articles of incorporation, or declaration, the bylaws, articles of incorporation, or declaration control.
Although this does not give homeowners associations and boards all the answers to conflicting documents and rules, it is a significant step in the right direction to reduce unnecessary litigation.
If you have specific concerns about how the law applies to the documents of your homeowners association, or what to do when your documents run in conflict with state or federal law, contact us for a consultation. Gregory M. Garrison, APC, has a reputation for no-nonsense counsel and guidance. Call 619-798-9501 or complete our online form. Consultations are free. Choosing the wrong lawyer isn’t.