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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 110566
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I'm a senior citizen residing in a condominium in Santa

Customer Question

Good morning,
I'm a senior citizen residing in a condominium in Santa Barbara California, with a small HOA with 11 members, a president, and a two member executive board. Twice now, when requests have been for a balcony repair, and broken tiles on roof with a mold, I have been delayed and rebuffed, not treated fairly or timely, because of apparent cliques not new to many Associations. With my appeals largely ignored, violating our CC&R's. Can you recommend a legal solution? Small Claims Count could be an answer, but a legal letter of notice might be effective, and taken seriously.
Thank you.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Small claims court can award money damages only, so if you want to take them to small claims, you need to get an estimate for repairs and then sue the HOA for the cost of paying for those repairs. If you simply want to force them to honor their CC&R, then you need to file a suit in superior court for a declaratory judgment seeking a court order against them to make repairs.
If the balcony is dangerous, then calling the local building inspector would also be an option, as the building inspector would come out and inspect and cite the HOA if the balcony is in dangerous condition and in need of repair.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you. My question is only partially dressed. I had also inquired about replacing cracked tiles on a portion of the roof, where there is also black mold, ( not green which is often algae) that must be attended to. On all matters he says I must have prior approval, i.e. the balcony repair, and roof. Yet he will not cooperate timely and these repairs should be made now. Other complete roofs have been replaced, that have leaks, according to the CC&R's at HOA expense. I have appealed to the president of the association which is the customary protocol in these matters. His last response is that mold is like mold on blue cheese, and not hazardous, and now refusing to respond timely to my emails. He says, 'It will have to wait until his return in a few months'. In California we have the Glass Steagall Act which was established as a regulatory act for condominiums. It is unsettling for a president of an association to be so rude and uncooperative, appearing to follow his own agenda. Contractors tell me mold is dangerous for many reasons. Do I have any legal recourse again the president, the association, and what would be your best advice to remedy this matter. Thank you again.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

The answer is the same recourse, you would need to sue the HOA to obtain a court judgment against them for all of the issues that the HOA is supposed to repair and is failing to repair contrary to the bylaws. The HOA board is bound by those bylaws just like the owners are and when they do not follow them the owners can pursue the board in court for an order for them to do so. You would be suing the whole association/board for a declaratory judgment and damages for their failure to follow the bylaws.

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