To: The California State House, The California State Senate, and Governor Gavin Newsom
Condo Oversight Petition
When condo boards ignore their legal obligations it is very difficult for a condo homeowner or renter to take the board to court and seek compliance with the law. Thus, condo boards are currently free to ignore their fiduciary responsibilities and engage in vindictive behavior secure in the knowledge that there is little a homeowner or renter can do to fight them. Each city needs an agency or office with the power to impose fines on condo boards and management companies when they fail to live up to the law or the condo associations own CC&Rs.
Why is this important?
When condo boards abuse their power and ignore their fiduciary legal obligations it is very difficult for a condo homeowner or renter to take the board to court and force compliance with the law. Many condo boards are dysfunctional or inept and need supervision. It's time to correct this state-wide problem.
The Davis-Sterling Act places homeowners and renters at a disadvantage when confronting condo boards. A condo owner who has a complaint must try to go to non-binding arbitration, then on to small claims court just to have simple issues resolved. Many condo owners are seniors and don't have the stamina for that kind of a fight. All those legal steps can take months. Single-family residential homeowners don't have to do any of it. They can just call the city for help with nuisance complaints that affect their property values. Why don't condo owners get help from city government? We pay taxes and we're not getting equal protection under the law. It’s time to put some teeth into the Davis-Sterling Act.
The Davis-Sterling Act needs to be amended to provide for the following:
1. When major repairs are needed, require sealed bids to be opened only at a public condo board meeting so that property managers and contractors can't conspire to cheat condo associations. That's how the city, state and federal government prevent bid-rigging. Condo associations need it too.
2. Require annual property inspections by the city to force boards to keep up the property like they are supposed to by law. The inspector could fill out a report card on the condo board and require them to shape up, explain their lack of action, or resign.
3. Require special training and licensing for property managers. Your hair stylist needs to be licensed, why not your property manager? (Those who handle property rentals or sales need a real estate license, but condo board property managers need no special license.)
4. Require the condo board to respond in writing when written complaints are made by condo owners so that the history of the complaint can be documented from both sides. Under Davis-Sterling condo boards are not required to reply at all. Some property managers even advise boards not to respond in writing to avoid creating a paper trail that can be presented in court.
5. Each city that approves the building of common interest developments or condo complexes has a social interest in the success or failure of these developments. Local government should play an oversight role to insure that homeowners are treated fairly by amateur condo boards and paid management companies. A local housing agency should be tasked with overseeing condo boards with the power to impose penalties when boards violate local ordinances, state law or their own CC&Rs.
6. Boards usually respond quickly when fines are threatened. For example, the threat of a fine by the fire department results in quick action. Like the fire department, the overseeing agency would have the power to impose reasonable fines. If board members refuse to abide by the law, and their own CC&Rs, the city’s overseeing agency could remove them from office.
7. The overseeing agency shall have the power to inspect the properties, accounts and bookkeeping procedures of any condominium complex or CID within its jurisdiction and impose reasonable penalties against the condo board and any management or financial agent hired by the condo board.
Please feel free to WATCH the local news story at the URL below.
(Just copy and paste the address into your browser.)
You can help by posting this small flyer at your condo complex. http://www.successviamedia.com/pdfs/Bulletin-Board-Sign.pdf
Please remember to Email all your friends and neighbors also.
FACEBOOK: If you're on FACEBOOK you can link to the petition from my page: https://www.facebook.com/tom.heffernan1