Community Association Law
We have broad experience in the interpretation of community association governing documents and provide not just legal guidance, but also practical advice with respect to the interpretation and implementation of these documents. Where necessary, we prepare understandable, workable amendments to governing documents. Our attorneys have prepared complete restatements of governing documents where the age of the documents or the changing conditions of the communities they govern make them obsolete. Our services also include the review, revision and preparation of contracts and the analysis and resolution of real estate issues as they affect our community association clients.
We emphasize the practical, cost effective approach to meeting the legal challenges faced by community associations in recognition of the fact that most associations operate on very limited, tight budgets. We encourage positive, non-confrontational interactions between our community association clients and their members in order to resolve disputes in the most efficient, least disruptive manner. However, we serve as strong advocates for our clients and have substantial experience in the enforcement of community association governing documents through alternative dispute resolution or litigation where other means fail.
In close conjunction with and in support of our other practice groups, Baydaline & Jacobsen's litigation practice group provides efficient, practical representation of our clients when the need to either defend or pursue litigation arises. We emphasize providing our clients with realistic counsel regarding the nature of their disputes, including full and complete evaluations of the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. We provide aggressive representation and serve as forceful advocates for our clients. We also understand and acknowledge that each client has different needs and expectations with respect to the resolution of their conflicts. Our approach towards litigation emphasizes the specific needs and approaches of each individual client.
Community Association Law: Services and Experience
Governance and Policy
Baydaline & Jacobsen provides legal services with respect to all aspects of community association governance and policies. The firm's services include assistance with all of the following:
- governing document enforcement - internal and alternative dispute resolution - election requirement - rental restrictions - open meeting v. executive sessions - architectural control - governing document revision and amendment - enforcement of rules - member inspection rights - demand and compliance letters - parking and traffic issues - capital improvements - special assessments - board training - contract drafting and enforcement
Baydaline & Jacobsen provides regular legislative updates to keep our boards of directors abreast of changes to the laws affecting common interest developments. We offer board training on the obligations of directors, including their fiduciary obligations. Our philosophy is that through training and education, many of the compliance issues faced by boards, committees and members can be avoided, thus reducing costs to the community associations.
Additionally, the firm assists and collaborates with outside vendors to provide community associations with effective representation including insurance appointed counsel; landscaping contractors; collection specialists, disaster relief agencies; and local, state and federal agencies.
The firm serves as counsel to many homeowner associations with on-site management staff and employees. To provide a "on-stop shop" for your basic community association needs, we contract with outside counsel when needed. In the employment law field, we work with the best practitioners who know and understand our business in order to provide advice in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our experienced panel provides a complete resource for handling all aspects of employment issues including training in areas of harassment sensitivity and discrimination. they also assist our clients in preventing wrongful terminations claims by providing effective management solutions and strategies including the preparation and updating of employee handbooks. Our staff of attorneys have experience with a full range of employment items including wage and hour claim; collective bargaining agreements; family medical leave; and reasonable accommodation requests.
We have experience in drafting and reviewing nearly any contract that may come to your community association. In addition to preparing contracts for management, vendors and employees, our team has substantial experience reviewing, analyzing, interpreting and negotiating contracts prepared by third parties. These contracts range from rental and lease agreements; construction oversight and management; licensing agreements; communications contracts; professional management and vendor contracts; land use and easement agreements; and reconstruction, replacement and improvement contracts for association common areas and individual units.
Foreclosure, Bankruptcy and Collections
The firm offers timely and effective counseling to secure financial obligations owed to an association, including how to properly record liens for past due assessments and the lien process. We advise our associations on whether the association may place liens to secure fines, costs and attorney fees under its governing documents. Furthermore, Baydaline & Jacobsen has extensive experience in collecting judgments, as well as filing claims in bankruptcy proceedings.
Governing Document and Rules Enforcement
Baydaline & Jacobsen's attorneys have prepared amendments and restatements of governing documents for thousands of homeowner associations. Through our years of experience we are able to review and analyze proposed amendments to ensure compliance with current law, and provide advice and recommendations to make certain that they are in line with community standards.
Baydaline & Jacobsen's attorneys are familiar with the unique environmental issues affecting communities containing open space easements and preserves to protect wetlands and wildlife. Our attorneys represent numerous communities containing such preserves as well as other amenities including golf courses, recreational lakes, equestrian and pedestrian trails and bike paths. We have first-hand experience dealing with the maze of federal, state and local regulatory agencies governing environmental issues including Army Corps of Engineers, United States Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Game and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, to name a few.
Dispute Resolution (IDR and ADR)
Baydaline & Jacobsen's attorneys have participated in and effectively resolved thousands of homeowner disputes on behalf of their clients. The firm has extensive experience resolving claims in the initial complaint stages and provides cost-effective solutions with favorable results for its community associations. Additionally, members of the firm routinely serve as expert witnesses, mediators and arbitrators due to their extensive background and experience in this area of law.
Conducting Meetings and Elections
Baydaline & Jacobsen assists clients in conducting their annual membership meetings as well as meetings of the boards of directors regular and executive session.
Collectively, our firm has over 60 years of experience assisting boards of directors and the community associations they serve in preparing resolutions and meeting minutes, as well as attending board, membership and committee meetings. Through our attendance at these meetings, our attorneys are able to communicate specific or general advice and recommendations about current topics that are impacting that particular homeowners association. Attorneys are also available to provide seminars and presentations to boards, committees and members on issues that are of interest to a particular community.
The firm has extensive experience preparing election rules that comply with the community association's governing documents, California Civil Code and the California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation Law and has significant experience and expertise in conducting association elections.
Civil Litigation: Services and Experience
Governance and Policy
As the region's premier common interest development law firm, Baydaline & Jacobsen represents community associations in a wide range of litigation matters throughout California and Nevada. We also have a former Sacramento District Attorney on staff who assists us in analyzing and dealing with matters which may involve crimes against the association or its residents. To highlight the scope of our experience, we provide the following sampling of the types of litigation in which we have represented our clients.
- governing document interpretation and enforcement
- senior housing and age restriction litigation
- architectural issues
- use restrictions
- environmental law
- local, state, and federal agencies
- public utility litigation
- boundary disputes
- zoning issues including group homes and halfway houses
- insurance litigation
- California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- enforcement of judgments
- assessment collections
- amendment of governing documents
- bankruptcy matters
Baydaline & Jacobsen represents over 900 common interest development/homeowner associations. Past and present clients range from 5 to 6800 units.