Civil Code Section 5980 grants to an association “standing to institute, defend, settle, or intervene in litigation, arbitration, mediation or administrative proceedings in its own name as the real party in interest and without joining with it the members,” in matters that pertain to any of the following:
- Enforcement of the governing documents; (Civ. Code § 5980(a).)
- Damage to the common area; (Civ. Code § 5980(b).)
- Damage to a separate interest that the association is obligated to maintain or repair; (Civ. Code § 5980(c).)
- Damage to a separate interest that “arises out of, or is integrally related to,” damage to the common area or a separate interest that the association is obligated to maintain or repair; and (Civ. Code § 5980(d.)
- Construction defects. (Windham at Carmel Mountain Ranch Assn. v. Superior Court (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 1162.)
Under certain circumstances, an association may also have standing to sue third parties solely as a representative of the association’s members. (Market Lofts Community Assn. v. 9th Street Market Lofts, LLC (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 924, 932-933.)
Owner Standing to Enforce CC&Rs
An association’s members also have standing to enforce the restrictions contained in the CC&Rs, unless otherwise stated in the CC&Rs. (Civ. Code § 5975(a).) A member may also “sue the association for damages and an injunction to compel the association to enforce the provisions of the [CC&Rs].” (Posey v. Leavitt (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1236, 1246.)
- No Standing for Prior Owners – A person who no longer owns a unit within the association (a person who is no longer a member of the association) does not have standing to enforce the CC&Rs. (Farber v. Bay View Terrace HOA (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 1007, 1012.)
- No Standing for Renters – Renters do not have standing to sue an association for breach of its CC&Rs or violations of the Davis-Stirling Act, notwithstanding whether an owner has executed a power of attorney to his renter to handle matters relating to the owner’s property. (Martin v. Bridgeport Community Assn. (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1024, 1036 and 1038; See also “Renter Rights.”)
Related Case Law
- Farber v. Bay View Terrace Homeowners Association
(2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 1007
[Enforcement; Standing to Sue] A prior owner of a unit within an association does not have standing to enforce the CC&Rs.
- 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.
- Market Lofts Community Association v. 9th Market Lofts, LLC
(2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 924
[Association Standing to Sue] Right of association to challenge developer agreements; right to bring suit as representative of association’s members.
- Martin v. Bridgeport Community Association
(2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1024
[CC&R Enforcement; Renter Standing] The right to enforce CC&Rs is tied to ownership in a property; renters do not have standing to sue a HOA for a violation of its CC&Rs.