How often have you heard about an action taken by our HOA, Granite Peak Management, or of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) justified with the old saw about preserving homeowner value? I have listen to these pundits raise this claim over and over again, and the claim is the loudest whenever the action violates one or more provisions of our CC&Rs or California State Law.  How is that these folks believe that knowingly violating the law preserves value for the homeowner?

Several years ago I was exercising my Constitutional right to free speech and posted a political sign in my exclusive use area behind my unit. It was not long after that, that Granite Peak Management submitted a trumped up complaint against me to our Board claiming several complaints against me and citing a violation of our CC&Rs. Needless to say, this action did not endear me to either GPM or our Board and I did not act on my disgust, partly because there is actually a provision in our CC&Rs prohibiting this form of the guaranteed right of free speech granted by the Constitution.

Then today I received an alert from The Center for California Homeowner Association Law announcing that indeed, all homeowners have a guaranteed right to post political signs, that this right has been codified in California law, and that the loudest opponent of your Constitutional Right, the CAI, was once again unable to demonstrate their claims of preserving property value.

REMEMBER: HOA homeowners have a specific right under
California law to post political signs in support of a
candidate or a ballot measure, whether the election is for
the President of the United States, your congressional
representatives, your state lawmaker, your mayor, your HOA
board of directors, or an election on a special
assessment.

This law is the result of 2003-2004 legislation sponsored
by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and supported
by CCHAL and members of the consumer coalition in
Sacramento.

CCHAL and coalition members went to Sacramento to testify
repeatedly in support of the bill before the Housing and
Judiciary Committees explaining the need for AB 1525.

Coalition members also lobbied members of the committee
for their votes, got the issue covered in the press, and
supported Dr. Bill Durston in his campaign to fly a United
Nations flag outside his HOA home in order to protest the
invasion of Iraq by the U.S.  His HOA told him to take it
down and fined him for every day that it was up.  [CCHAL
website link: http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=706]

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) apparently
doesn’t believe in the U.S. Constitution, because it
fought the bill tooth and nail right up to the end.  CAI
argued that posting political signs and flying flags
degraded HOA property values.

The Governor rejected this phony argument and signed the
bill into law.

The California Attorney General’s Office also endorsed AB
1525.

AB 1525/Longville states that homeowners living in HOAs
have a specific right – guaranteed by the Constitution —
to post political signs.

Here’s what the law says:

Sec 1: It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting
this act to provide for all of the following:

(a) that homeowners throughout the State shall be able to
engage in constitutionally protected free speech
traditionally associated with private residential property

(b) that owners of a separate interest in a common
interest development shall be specifically protected from
unreasonable restrictions on this right in the governing
documents.

More information on AB 1525 is on the CCHAL website and on
the state’s legislative website:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.  To read the bill as chaptered,
go to
http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04/bill/asm/ab_1501-1550/ab_1525_bill_20031011_chaptered.pdf
To read the ACLU letter, go to the CCHAL website:
http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=1214

Since 2001, CCHAL, the California Alliance for Retired
Americans (CARA), Consumers Union and the consumer
coalition have been tireless advocates in Sacramento to
get laws off the books that injure homeowners to create
new ones that protect HOA owners.

To read a partial list of bills that CCHAL and the
coalition have worked on in Sacramento, go to
http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=460 on the CCHAL
website.

CCHAL NewsBrief
October 7, 2010

Over the past fifteen years I have often been attacked by our Board, and now Granite Peak Management, in ways that have violated our CC&Rs and California Civil Code. These sanctimonious actions are presumably a confrontational reaction for promoting a political agenda by simply asking questions and demanding answers.

Time and time these violations are justified under the mantra of preserving home value. It should be clear, even to a casual observer, that neither our HOA, nor Granite Peak Managment, nor the  CAI are able to influence property value (short of a capital improvement) one way or the other. The market forces are far to large.

On the other hand, I continue to believe that having our HOA operate responsibly within the auspices of the law, is an asset to each homeowner.