Your property rights under attack by HMA?

If you read the letter sent by the HMA board recently, then you know that your property rights are under attack from the very people that should be defending them. The proposed rule to limit rental rights in the complex to no less than 6-month leases is nothing short of an attempt to rewrite the CC&Rs at the whim of some misguided board members.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not favor transients and strangers milling about the complex with no control, but at the core of the issue is the preservation of our property rights as they are defined in the CC&Rs, no more, no less. Anything altering this covenant constitutes an erosion of these rights.
Now, if homeowners cause issues to our neighborhood because of their renting practices, then we definitely must keep them in line!

But what if you decide to treat yourself to a long vacation and rent your place for, let’s say, 2 or 3 months while you are gone? Isn’t that your God-given right as property owner?
Not so, under the proposed rule, you would be fined $1,000/month for doing this! Positively ludicrous!

This is why we must categorically oppose the proposed rule seeking to limit HMA homeowners’ rights to rent, lease or let their properties and call on the board to withdraw this proposed rule from consideration for the following reasons:

Operating Rules vs. CC&Rs:
The proposed rule is an attempt at re-defining terms and conditions of ownership that are expressed in the CC&Rs and cannot be modified without a 75% vote of the membership. The right to rent, lease or let is an intrinsic part of property ownership and, if not formally stated in the CC&Rs, can be limited only by local, state or federal law. There is nothing in the CC&Rs or in Rules & Regulations granting the board such right! The board does not hold legislative powers and should not therefore attempt to regulate what is outside its charter and authority, which is limited to operating rules for management of the complex’s common property. We are not the board members’ tenants, we are fully titled HOMEOWNERS!

Banning “month to month” Rental Agreements:
Month-to-month rentals constitute the overwhelming majority of owner/tenant agreements. It goes without saying that such agreements are legal in the United States, California, Orange County and the City of Huntington Beach, which are our legal governing bodies. Banning such practice from our complex can (and will) be considered discriminatory for certain protected classes and expose the HOA to legal liability.

Local Legislation:
The City of Huntington Beach currently has a rule against short-term vacation rental which limits renting, leasing or letting for periods of less than 30 days. This is more than sufficient to prevent issues that may arise from very short-term rentals while still allowing homeowners to rent their property “month-to-month”, by far the most common rental method in use. Please also note that the City is currently considering to rescind this very unpopular rule they passed last year.

Loss of Rental Income and Decrease in Property Value:
The proposed rule will force current homeowners that are renting their units (that’s 39 units in this complex!) to convert their tenants’ rental agreements into 6-month leases at a minimum. This could cause tenants to leave and discourage prospective tenants. Consequently, current homeowners renting units could lose revenue. In addition, our properties could also lose value since full capacity of ownership (rent, lease, let) would be diminished. Furthermore, “grand-fathering” current rental agreements will not be possible as this would amount to “preferential treatment” of specific homeowners.

Confidentiality & Enforcement:
The proposed rule will be virtually impossible to enforce. The rental, lease or let agreements include personal & financial information and are private & confidential contracts between the homeowners and the tenants.

Grand-fathering clause for rental rights:
According to California Civil Code  p.4740 homeowners retain the right to rent, lease or let that were in existence at the time the property was purchased, regardless of subsequent changes of HOA rules (including changes to the CC&Rs). Click here for full text of the law

Please do not let the board dictate how you can or cannot use your property and make sure to notify them of your opposition to yet another attempt at circumventing the CC&Rs that exist to protect our best interests as homeowners!

3 comments on “Your property rights under attack by HMA?
  1. I agree. Any rental restriction above-and-beyond those already mandated by the city is unnecessary will reduce property value. Furthermore, the Association (and all owners) will suffer new risk of litigation related to the restriction.

    The grand-fathering of existing owners means 1) the restriction will not bring any intended benefits for many years, 2) there will be two-classes of owners, those who can rent and those who can’t — do we really think this is fair to our new neighbors?

    Can any existing owner look into the eyes of our new neighbors knowing we voted to treat them as second class?

    New owners will probably sue us. No matter whether we win or they win, we will all lose — and not just financially.

  2. Excellent points AHO! Fostering difference of treatment between homeowners would not only be detrimental for property value but would also, and even more importantly, ruin relations between neighbors.

  3. Time for my 2 cents :)

    Bottom line this is about you property ownership rights! The board should not get involved with how you use you property as long as it complies with local laws.

    First of all the rule is written poorly, second it reeks of selective enforcement. Not to mention how it will be enforced!

    Thirdly, most 6 and 12 month leases have a clause that if a renter continues on past said term the lease goes to month to month in most cases.

    So this now puts that unit in violation of said 6-month rule and is subject to a violation. But as pam stated in the April meeting news letter

    ” This does not apply to long term rentals. rule. There are no fines for long term renters paying month to month.”

    I conferred with my attorney and this could be classified as fraud in the inducement. Not to mention this is text book selective enforcement! you cannot decide who pays a fine and who does not when a rules exists otherwise why have it at all??

    Fourthly, the board has YTD expended close to $7000-10,000.00 on defending this new rule. and this is just against one person, What happens when say 20-40 units start fighting it???that can be upwards of $400000.00 dollars to fight a bogus rule??

    Bottom line is ALL owners should have a say in matters of this magnitude, the board made a statement
    ” well they should show up to the meeting if they want to be heard!”

    this may not be feasible since some live out of state or too far away. This is VERY inconsiderate of owners situations.

    So lets be logical and discuss this rule so it allows owners to retain their rights and should a REAL problem arise address deal with that issue at that time.

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