An association has the authority to enforce violations of the association’s governing documents. (Civ. Code § 5975; See also “Standing to Litigate.”) Enforcement of the restrictions contained in the governing documents (i.e., in the CC&Rs) is considered the responsibility of an association. (Duffey v. Superior Court (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 425, 431.) An association may be held liable for its failure to enforce those restrictions. (Posey v. Leavitt (1999) 229 Cal.App.3d 1236; See also “Failure to Enforce.”)
Discretion to Litigate
An association’s duty to enforce the governing documents does not necessarily require the board to litigate every violation of the association’s governing documents. A board has discretion when deciding whether to commence litigation; that discretion allows for the board to weigh various factors such as the severity of the violation at issue, the anticipated costs of litigation, and the likely outcome of litigation when deciding whether or not to litigate a particular violation. (Beehan v. Lido Isle Community Assn. (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 858.)
Related Case Law
- 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.
- Beehan v. Lido Isle Community Association
(1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 858
[Enforcement; Discretion to Litigation] A HOA’s Board of Directors may in its discretion decline to take legal action to enforce a perceived violation of the governing documents.