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2021 Common Interest Development & Community Association Legislative Update

Published: December 2020

Effective in 2020 and 2021, the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act was amended to include several laws affecting association operations. Three of these laws mandate that associations change their policies and procedures and permit the imposition of sanctions and damages. These changes in the Civil Code are generally summarized below:

Inspection and Repair of Condominium “Balconies”

Section 5551 requires existing condominium associations with buildings of three or more units to engage an architect or structural engineer to inspect, test and report on the safety of certain balconies and other “elevated” structural and related waterproofing components. This must be done by January 1, 2025. The testing will be expensive, and the repair of identified safety issues are likely to break budgets. Associations should plan now and anticipate the need for member approved special assessments and possibly loans. We have helped negotiate over 250 loans for similar projects and can help where needed. Planning should start now.

As part of our analysis of potential Construction Defect claims for developments under 10 years, we may agree to advance all investigation and testing costs and seek compensation from the project developer. For more information about this, please contact Jill Jackson at

Governing Document Amendments to Conform to New Limitations on Rental Restrictions

Section 4741 requires an Association to amend its governing documents to conform to new rules concerning rental limits and other restrictions. Governing document provisions that restrict leasing to less than 25% of the units or lots are unenforceable as is any provision that “prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting, or unreasonably restricts the rental” of units or lots. We can efficiently determine whether your CC&Rs and rules require amendment, and the pros and cons of doing so.

For assistance please contact Doug Bickham at

Election Rules

Several laws (sections 5100 et seq.) require associations to adopt new election rules dealing with nominations, candidates, voter qualifications, disclosures and other matters. Failure to do so makes key votes subject to being declared “void.” We have helped hundreds of associations make election choices that suit their needs.

If you would like help with your association’s rules, please contact Darcy Smith at

Covid 19 Emergency Rules Expiring

In 2020 many Boards adopted emergency rules addressing Covid-19 without first submitting them to the members for a 28-day comment period as authorized by section 4360(d). Under that law, emergency rules automatically expire within 120 days of adoption.

Boards that wish to maintain those rules will need to go through the membership comment process. We can assist in updating and drafting the required notices based on the Board’s judgments about protecting members, managing budgets and minimizing liability.

Please contact Darcy Smith at for help.

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