HOA Homefront: Is our mobile-home park an HOA?

Q: How is it legal for a mobile-home park HOA to be registered with the government as a condominium association? What ramifications does that have on our CC&Rs? We’re having a lot of trouble here, and I need help understanding how CC&Rs override my constitutional rights or if they do. — Sincerely S.J., Escondido

A: Under Civil Code Sections 4100 and 4200, if your mobile-home park is either a condominium, stock cooperative, community apartment or planned development, and if it has a recorded declaration of covenants and a recorded map, it is a “common interest development” under the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act.

CC&Rs are a contractual document. When recorded on the land owned by the owners, the CC&Rs become an agreement between them.  The agreement is not imposed upon them but came with the property. Therefore, constitutional rights are not the issue – contract rights are the issue. The law allows parties to enter into the CC&Rs contract and will enforce it except for any illegal parts.

Unfortunately, many homebuyers do not read their entire contract when they buy into a common interest development. The purchase agreement is only one part of the contract the buyer receives.  The other part — the CC&Rs on the property.– is already in place, even though buyers did not sign it. Assuming the buyer is using the California Association of Realtors residential purchase agreement, buyers should make sure they review the CC&Rs within the initial 17-day inspection period normally provided by that contract. That will help avoid surprises later after escrow closes.

Q: We are a 55-and-older mobile home park, a co-op in which each shareholder owns an equal share of the land. Recently, a long-time member passed away. Her son lived with her and he is not 55, but he is disabled. Since his mother died, he is no longer eligible to live here, according to our by-laws. How do we go about evicting him? He seems to think that because he’s lived here with his mother, he will be staying. This violates our bylaws and our ability to operate as a 55-and-older mobile-home park. I’m hoping you can provide me with direction. — D.W., Yucaipa

A: I am a little confused about your description of your cooperative association. Normally, cooperative owners do not own land, but rather own a share of stock in a cooperative corporation, which owns the land. Cooperatives are “common interest developments” if there is a covenant recorded on that land. I am guessing you all own equal shares in the corporation.

Under Civil Code 51.2, senior housing communities are exempt from the Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibition against banning children.  However, Civil Code 51.3 allows for a “qualified permanent resident” to reside in the home even though they do not meet the age eligibility requirements. The disabled child of a qualified resident can be a qualified permanent resident under Civil 51.3(b)(3). After a qualified resident dies, the qualified permanent resident may continue to reside in the residence, under Civil Code 51.3(e).

The association may want to consult legal counsel, as the disabled child may have the right to stay.

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Managing Partner of Richardson Harman Ober PC, a California law firm known for community association expertise. Submit questions to KRichardson@RHOpc.com. 

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