All About LA’s EBEWE Ordinance

All About LA’s EBEWE Ordinance

Recently I received a telephone call from a worried client who was contacted by an unscrupulous vendor who insisted that the association will be heavily penalized in the event it does not comply with Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency (“EBEWE”) Ordinance requirements set forth by Los Angeles Department of Building Safety (“LADBS”). The compliance deadline was only two days away, and the vendor offered to rescue our client by offering to file an extension on its behalf, but only under the condition that the association hire the vendor to conduct the compliance work. The vendor emphasized that for the “right price,” he will lead the association to light (an energy-efficient light that is) by reciting an overwhelming slew of requirements that the Association would need to comply with by the fast approaching deadline. Thankfully, the client contacted our office in time for me to do some research and prevent the client from paying an inordinate amount of money for compliance work that was not yet required. Energy and Benchmarking Disclosure laws are popping up across the nation. In California similar laws have been adopted in the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley and San Diego. Now certain buildings in Los Angeles must undergo energy and water efficiency audits. L.A.’s new law, the Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency Ordinance (EBEWE) was unanimously adopted by the LA City Council as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Sustainable City plan and is geared toward reducing energy and water consumption in existing buildings in the City. The ordinance requires existing commercial and multi-family buildings to be “benchmarked”. Benchmarking in this context is the...

Court of Appeal Upholds Association’s Prevailing Party Status

R|O attorney Jonathan R. Davis successfully defended a matter in the Court of Appeal against a homeowners association. After a neighbor filed a lawsuit attempting to force the Association to sign a dubious easement contract, the Association recorded its own maintenance document and successfully moved to dismiss the lawsuit. The trial court deemed the Association the prevailing party and awarded it attorneys’ fees. The neighbor appealed, arguing under the “catalyst theory” that it was the prevailing party because the suit caused the Association to record a maintenance document – despite the fact that the recorded document contained different terms than the contract at issue in the lawsuit. The Court of Appeal sided with the Association, reaffirming the general rule that a defendant in whose favor a dismissal is entered is the prevailing party. Written by Jonathan R. Davis Jonathan R. Davis, Esq. is a Senior Associate Attorney at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo. Follow ← Older Entries Next Entries...
Upcoming Webinar – The Unpleasant Business of Member Discipline: A Primer

Upcoming Webinar – The Unpleasant Business of Member Discipline: A Primer

Thursday, August 22nd at 1 PM Associations have governing documents, and enforcing those documents is one of the unpleasant realities of community association governance and management. Can managers and boards unintentionally make the process harder, more stressful and hostile? Attend R|O’s next webinar by Kelly G. Richardson, as the following topics will be explored: Are you enforcing the unenforceable? How can planning help both board and homeowners? Must every violation be enforced? What myths are there regarding the hearing? What is the interaction of Fair Housing and the enforcement issue? What are some enforcement strategies? What CAN’T you do? How do you deal with tenant problems? When must the HOA be involved in neighbor-to-neighbor disputes? **This course is approved by the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) to fulfill continuing education requirements for the CMCA® certification. www.camicb.org. Register This webinar will be available as an on demand course roughly one week after the webinar is hosted live. To see what other courses Richardson|Ober has available visit...

100-Count Lawsuit Dismissed [R|O Court Victory]

R|O attorneys Kelly G. Richardson and Jonathan R. Davis obtained the dismissal of a frivolous, 100-count lawsuit filed by a vexatious litigant and a coconspirator against an Association and its Board. The vexatious litigant, who had been barred from filing lawsuits without first obtaining a court order due to his history of filing multiple harassing lawsuits against several organizations, utilized a coconspirator to file claims against R|O’s client on his behalf. The vexatious litigant attempted to obscure the fraudulent claims by incorporating them in a lawsuit involving claims that, at first glance, appeared to belong solely to the coconspirator. All claims were brought in the name of the coconspirator despite the fact that many claims were really being brought by the vexatious litigant. The lawsuit alleged violations of Governing Documents and the Davis Stirling-Act, infringement of constitutional rights, as well as a multitude of claims for slander and emotional distress. R|O obtained a court order deeming the coconspirator vexations, meaning that the coconspirator was also barred from filing new lawsuits without first obtaining permission from the court. Moreover, R|O fought each of the 100+ claims by the vexatious litigants on their merits, and obtained the dismissal for its clients. Written by Jonathan R. Davis Jonathan R. Davis, Esq. is a Senior Associate Attorney at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo. Follow ← Older Entries Next Entries...
New Law Mandates Battery Back-up for all Residential Garage Door Motors

New Law Mandates Battery Back-up for all Residential Garage Door Motors

SB 969 amends Section 19891 and adds Section 19892 to the Health & Safety Code and mandates all residential garage motors be equipped with back up battery functions.   Section 19892 provides that after July 1, 2019, any automatic garage door opener manufactured, sold or installed shall be equipped with a battery back-up function such that the automatic garage door opener functions during a power outage. This code section applies to “all automatic garage door openers manufactured or sold for use in any residence or other residential applications of automatic garage door openers manufactured for commercial purposes.” As for existing motors that lack a back-up battery function, the law prohibits any new door from being connected to a non-compliant motor. In other words, if you do nothing, there is no requirement to upgrade an existing garage door motor. If, you install a new door and connect it to an existing motor after July 1, 2019, that existing motor being connected to the new door must have back up battery function. Health & Safety Code Section 19891 carries a fine of $1000 per garage door opener installed which is not in compliance with section 19892. Written by Matt D. Ober Matt D. Ober Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo. Follow ← Older...

Water Intrusion Non-Disclosure Refuted [R|O Court Victory]

R|O recently represented a couple who sold their custom-built family home where they had raised their children over the past 16 years. Subsequent to the sale, and during the heaviest rainfall in Southern California since 2002, the house experienced water intrusion. The buyer sued the sellers, demanding damages in excess of $500,000. The buyer alleged that the sellers failed to disclose the water intrusion issues. R|O argued on behalf of the sellers that the sellers had no knowledge of the water intrusion issues due to the drought and that the issues they had experienced after the house had been built 16 years prior, had been resolved. Notwithstanding a denial of liability, R|O retained an expert who opined that the damage was really worth only $37,500. R|O made an statutory offer to compromise in that amount, which was rejected. After arbitration, an award was granted to the buyer in the amount of $37,248.61. Because the buyer received less than what the sellers offered, she had to pay the sellers $22,306.19 in post-offer costs. Written by Alisa E. Sandoval Alisa E. Sandoval is a Senior Associate at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo. Follow ← Older Entries Next Entries...

SB 323 Heads to the Assembly

Back in April, we alerted you to some changing legislation in Sacramento. Sentate Bill (SB) 323 (last session’s SB 1265) re-emerged to address association elections and provide director qualifications. Just this last week, we learned that SB 323 passed through the Senate, and is now moving on into the Assembly. Associations that want to maintain control over their elections need to reach out and let the legislature hear how these changes will affect them. This revised bill is an attempt by Sacramento to mandate a one-size fits all election process onto communities from 2-2,000 owners. SB 323 would: Restrict the choices for inspectors of election Release privileged voting information of Owners Require Associations to release email addresses Increase oversight by courts in routine election processes Individual communities could no longer set their own standards and expectations for their leaders. If you oppose this attempt to deny owners control over their own communities, now is the time to act.   Boards, owners, managers and all community advocates should make sure their voices are heard. Keep up the communications, ask other owners to contact their representatives, and let Sacramento know how you feel about this attempt to take control away from owners. If you haven’t already, you can follow the progress and stay informed about the legislation using the link below. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov Written by Matthew A. Gardner Matthew A. Gardner is a Senior Associate at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo. Follow ← Older Entries Next Entries...

R|O Hosts Complementary On-Demand Online Courses for CAM-ICB Credit

Providing education to residents living in common interest developments, their boards of directors, and property managers is a passion of ours at Richardson|Ober. That is why Richardson|Ober is currently developing no cost online courses that will be available to help managers earn the CAM-ICB credit they need to maintain their credentials. One course, Not All Rules Are Golden: The Drafting, Changing, and Enforcement of HOA Rules has been approved for credit and available now. Richardson|Ober knows that managers have hectic, busy lives, and are always on the go. Finding the time and energy for continuing education can be a challenge. Our hope is to make life easier by offering quality online content that is available whenever and wherever you are. You will be able to start a course, take a break, and finish a course whenever you find the time. Best of all, we strive to release a new course every month so you will be able to find content that is interesting and helpful to you. If you would like to get the latest information regarding new course releases, please sign up for the Manager’s News Highlights mailing...

Restraining Order Obtained [R|O Court Victory]

R|O litigators successfully obtained a Workplace Violence Restraining Order, brought on behalf of an Association, to protect its management and staff from harassing conduct by one of the residents at the property. Said resident had established a pattern of verbally abusing others, which then escalated to unlawful threats and physical violence. Repeated demands by the Association and R|O for the resident to cease such conduct went ignored. The Court granted the Association’s Petition and imposed a number of personal conduct, communication, and stay away orders upon the resident to protect a number of named employees and staff at the property. R|O attorneys were also successful in obtaining an award for the Association to recover the full amount of its fees and costs. Actions such as this may become more prevalent as a result of newly-passed Senate Bill 1300, effective January 2019, which requires employers, including community associations and management, to take action when they become aware of instances of harassment at their properties. Impact of Workplace Harassment for Community Associations and Management Senate Bill 1300 was adopted on September 30, 2018 and became effective in January 2019. In general, the law has the effect of expanding the scope by which California employers may now be held responsible to their employees for harassment, even in circumstances where the one engaging in such conduct is a separate non-employee. SB 1300 adds Government Code 12923, which emphasizes that California employees now have an enforceable “statutory right to work in a place free of discrimination when the harassing conduct sufficiently offends, humiliates, distresses, or intrudes upon its victim.” The Legislature also mandated that...

Dwelling Units

Only a week after the CAI Day at the Capitol, and CLAC was already back to work reviewing newly introduced legislation. Assembly Member Friedman introduced AB 670, which would require associations to allow owners to construct additional dwelling Units on their property. This bill would void community restrictions on accessory dwelling Units on a single-family lot, unless those restrictions were recorded prior to January 1, 2020. AB 670 defines two types of structures. First would be an “accessory dwelling unit,” which is a second unit on a lot up to 1,200 square feet in size. As drafted, the language allows accessory dwellings to either be completely detached or contained within the walls of the house on the lot, and allows those dwellings to include cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. Second would be a “junior accessory dwelling unit,” which can be up to 500 square feet that has an outside entrance and cooking facilities, but may share bathroom facilities with the main house on the lot. This bill would significantly impact associations’ ability to manage growth and enforce standards within their community. Architectural standards are an important part of maintaining an overall community, and ensuring that owners can have input on decisions that affect the value of their homes. CLAC is asking associations to oppose this effort to move architectural control from communities to Sacramento. Richardson|Ober will continue to dedicate a portion of our newsletters to update key legislative updates as we learn more from CLAC. You can also track the bills as they make their way through Sacramento at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Written by Matthew A. Gardner Matthew A. Gardner is...