Davis-stirling Act

Civil Code Section 5975. Enforcement of Governing Documents; Attorney’s Fees.

(a) The covenants and restrictions in the declaration shall be enforceable equitable servitudes, unless unreasonable, and shall inure to the benefit of and bind all owners of separate interests in the development. Unless the declaration states otherwise, these servitudes may be enforced by any owner of a separate interest or by the association, or by both.

(b) A governing document other than the declaration may be enforced by the association against an owner of a separate interest or by an owner of a separate interest against the association.

(c) In an action to enforce the governing documents, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 180, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2013. Operative January 1, 2014, by Sec. 3 of Ch. 180.)
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Related Case Law

  • Almanor Lakeside Villas Owners Association v. Carson
    (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 761

    [Attorney’s Fees; Prevailing Party] Where both sides achieved some positive net effect as a result of the court’s ruling, a prevailing party determination is made by comparing the practical effect of the relief attained by each; After resolving the issue of prevailing party in an action to enforce the governing documents, a trial court has no discretion to deny attorney’s fees.

  • Rancho Mirage Country Club Homeowners Association v. Hazelbaker
    (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 252

    [Attorney’s Fees; ADR; Settlement Agreement] An action to enforce a settlement agreement reached between a HOA and an owner through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was held to be an action to enforce the governing documents entitling the prevailing party to an award of attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to Civ. Code § 5975.

  • Heather Farms Homeowners Association v. Robinson
    (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1568

    [Attorney’s Fees; Prevailing Party] The determination as to who is the “prevailing party” entitled to its attorney’s fees under the Davis-Stirling Act is based on the court’s analysis of which party prevailed on a practical level. When that determination is made, the court’s ruling should be affirmed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion.

  • Salehi v. Surfside III Condominium Owners Association
    (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 1146

    [Attorney’s Fees; Prevailing Party] A HOA is deemed a prevailing party entitled to recover its attorney’s fees where the outcome of the lawsuit results in the HOA realizing its litigation objectives on a practical level.

  • Tract 19051 Homeowners Association v. Kemp
    (2015) 60 Cal. 4th 1135

    [Attorney’s Fees Awards; Non-CID Action] Attorney’s fees may be recovered by the prevailing party under Civ. Code § 5975 in an action to enforce the governing documents regardless of whether the association is in fact a common interest development that is subject to the Davis-Stirling Act.

  • Posey v. Leavitt
    (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1236

    [Restrictions; Duty to Enforce] A homeowner has the right to sue the HOA to compel the HOA to uphold its duty to enforce the restrictions.

  • Duffey v. Superior Court
    (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 425

    [Declaration; Enforcement] HOAs may file declaratory relief actions for an authoritative interpretation of the governing documents; An owner need not be a defendant in any lawsuit brought by a HOA to discharge its own duty to enforce the CC&Rs simply because that owner complains about a neighbor’s proposed construction.

Related Links

Recovering Pre-Litigation Attorney’s Fees in HOA DisputesPublished on HOA Lawyer Blog (March, 2013)

Attorney’s Fees are Recoverable to Enforce Settlement Agreement Reached in ADRPublished on HOA Lawyer Blog (November, 2016)

Clarifying When a HOA may be Deemed the ‘Prevailing Party’ in an Enforcement SuitPublished on HOA Lawyer Blog (January, 2017)