HOA Regulations

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HOAs and Brown Lawns

The State Water Resources Control Board has issued guidance on "Prohibitions for HOAs that Act Against Homeowners with Low-Water Landscapes Outside of a Declared Drought".

The following is an excerpt from The Mau Law Firm blog that was developed during the drought.

Since 2014, State laws regarding brown lawns and fines imposed by Homeowners Associations have changed due to the Governor's declaration of a drought State of Emergency. Please click on the link below the text to get the full explanation and the exact wording of the new law.

A homeowners association or HOA is no longer allowed to impose fines against members who reduce or even eliminate watering their lawns during a declared state of emergency due to drought, despite any provision in the association’s governing documents to the contrary. Recent bills have amended Civil Code Section 4735 of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, which originally prohibited an association’s regulation of low-water-using plants as a group and water-efficient landscaping. The latest change is in a subsection (subsection (c)), which prohibits an association from imposing fines against members who reduce or eliminate watering of vegetation and lawns during any period for which the Governor or a local government has declared a state of emergency due to drought. Section 4735 can be found below, with the amended subsection in Bold. As this drought continues and we are under a declared state of emergency statewide, Boards of Directors and property managers should think twice before fining members who stop watering their lawns or landscaping.

Please note, some HOAs require homeowners to file an Architectural Request or similar form to be approved by the HOA or Board of Directors before moving forward with landscaping improvements or turf removal. Check with your HOA to see if that step is required.

Water Cost Savings for Interested HOA Boards of Directors

A water savings/cost reduction project was initiated at Rancho Conejo Village, a gated community on the north side of Highway 101 in Newbury Park. This project commenced as part of a joint effort between resident volunteers of the 950 home community and California American Water Company water conservation specialists.

The results of the three-step approach are described in the links below. The savings have been verified through billing comparisons FY2009 vs. FY2015 provided by Gold Coast Management. The water cost savings displayed in the charts and tables were for the 5-acre multi-parcel common area in Rancho Conejo Village using cost per 100 cubic feet [CCF].

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