Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year, New Laws

E-mail readers, click on "New Year, New Laws" title above for full story.

It's an invisible occurrence, but may be one of the most important ones affecting us in the coming year at Seabridge and elsewhere. When the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve, not only will the party horns be tooting, but a set of new laws will take effect in California.

Of these, the one I believe will be most obvious and important to us Seabridge homeowners is the change to the law resulting from the passage of Senate Bill 528. With a few exceptions, this law requires that the board post meeting agendas in advance and keep decisions limited to the topics on the agenda. If you don't like decisions that have been made in the past, there is virtually no reason left for you to be surprised by a board decision you don't like. So keep an eye out for agendas and make sure you keep informed on the issues affecting our community. And share your views with the board.

If you're curious about the other laws lurking just around the bend, the San Jose Mercury Tribune does a decent job at listing some of them. Of the ones they mention, I was happy to read about the changes to acceptance of gift certificates. California has always been good about looking out for the consumer in the area of gift cards and certificates - including our state's unique law about not allowing cards bought in the state to expire. Also, I see that the hands-free-cellphone-use-while-driving doesn't take effect until July. Still, I believe it's good practice now.

Community Association Law isn't the most fascinating topic, but it has a big impact on how our association runs and how our money is spent. If you're in doubt, consider the numerous organizations - including realtors, management companies, homeowners and contractors - taking positions on all sides of pending legislation, and the lobbyists they send to Sacramento to look out for the millions of dollars they have at stake. I think it's worth an hour or two to understand the basics of the Davis-Stirling Act that guides much of the association's operation. Also, the shiny new 2008 California Condo Bluebook is always an excellent guide. If you are curious about other legislation being considered, there is a good summary of what came up in 2007 here and especially here. Of the information, I was intrigued by the legislation our own Senator, Tom Harman has proposed. It would require mandatory education for board members. I can see the arguments that this is an intrusion into the affairs of the association, but I also understand the intent of making sure people running and HOA understand the basic concepts. Ideally all board members would get this education voluntarily as a part of making sure they understand how to best live up to their fiduciary duty.

"Enjoy"!

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1 comment:

BarbraSue Miller said...

Todd,

Thank you for posting this very important message re:
New Year, New Laws....
Great information & sites provided where home owners may go to learn about the ever changing laws.

I found myself singing out loud, as I read further down about the Six Bears...
Not a bad thing, only I don't have the best voice!
The girls, Deli D & Baby D gave one of those funny looks towards me while tilting their heads...

Wishing everyone a
Happy Healthy New Year, filled with laughter, patience, love, success,obtaining new dreams & goals fulfilled.

Todd, thank you again, for all the wonderufl information & outstanding photos!!!

BarbraSue Miller