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California

We purchased an investment property far from our primary address in California. When purchasing, we added in escrow that "all documents need to be mailed to our primary address for the purpose of communication". However, HOA kept sending their notices (to pay HOA fees) to the investment property, which was to be rented out. When we finally had a chance to visit the place a couple of months after the purchase, and we discovered HOA penalized us for not paying HOA fees. We immediately contacted HOA, paid the fees to date(excluding penalty as advised by the property management comp), and requested to waive the penalty given they never contacted us (no mail to our primary address, no emails, no phone calls to any of the contacts). They recently declined our request and demanded to pay the penalty, this time by email. Are we entitled to pay the penalty?

1 reply

Feb 20, 2019
Rules and requirements related to common interest developments (HOAs or Condo Associations) in California are governed by the Davis-Stirling Act. Certain clauses of the act specifically pertain to notices, and what constitutes appropriate delivery.

Civil Code §4040 governs the association providing notice to individuals. Generally, notice is to be provided by either:

1. "First-class mail, postage prepaid, registered or certified mail, express mail, or overnight delivery by an express service carrier" to "the recipient at the address last shown on the books of the association" or;

2. Email, facsimile, or other electronic means, if the recipient has consented, in writing or by email, to that method of delivery.

However, the statute also specifically allows the individual member to designate a secondary address for the delivery of certain notice types. One of these notice types is a notice concerning the "debt of owner; late charges and interest." For those notices, if a secondary address has been requested by the member in writing, the association is required to deliver an additional copy to the secondary address identified in the request.

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