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Los Angeles Homeowner’s Association Law | Law Advocate Group, LLP


The Davis-Stirling Act (CA Civil Code Sections 1350–1378) governs Common Interest Developments in California.The Davis-Stirling Act applies only if membership in the community association is mandatory. In fact, the Court in Mount Olympus Prop. Owners Ass’n v Shpirt (1997) 59 CA4th 885, 69 CR2d 521, held that Davis Stirling Act applies, if a separate interest coupled with an interest in the common area or membership in the association is, or has been, conveyed (if certain other elements are present). In this case, membership in the association was voluntary, and thus the fact that the association owned two small parcels on which entry signs for the development were located did not couple lot ownership with an interest either in that association property or in the association itself. The Court reasoned that, in this particular case, membership in the association was voluntary.


Governing documents of Common Interest Developments include:

  • Covenants Conditions and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”)
  • Bylaws
  • Articles of Incorporation


CC&Rs delineate the rights and obligations of the members to the association and those of the association to the members.

The rights and obligations include, but are not limited to:

  • Association and Member Maintenance Duties
  • Association Enforcement Powers
  • Association Assessment and Lien Enforcement and Collection Rights
  • Association or Member’s Duty to Insure
  • Association Dispute Resolution

CC&Rs are recorded with the county recorder of the county where the property is located, and they automatically bind anyone who becomes an owner of the property after the CC&Rs are recorded


Bylaws establish laws of governance for the association. In other words, bylaws establish policies and procedures of decision-making for the association.

Even though bylaws often vary in content and length, most bylaws include:

  • Numbers and methods of selection of directors and officers
  • Notice procedures for board meetings and votings
  • Association’s Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements

Bylaws usually are not filed or recorded with any governmental agency. 


Articles of Incorporation are often short and contain:

  • The Association’s Name
  • The Name of the Association’s Agent for Service of Process
  • The statutory statement that the Association is a Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation

Articles are required when the Association is incorporated.


The resolution of a conflict between the governing documents and the law depends on the intent of the governmental body that enacted the law. Where the apparently conflicting law contains a phrase like “notwithstanding the provisions of the Declaration” or “notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the governing documents” in its text, the intent to override is clear and the law controls. Where the apparently conflicting law contains a phrase like “unless otherwise provided in the Declaration” or “subject to the provisions of the governing documents” in its text, the intent to not override is clear and the governing document provision controls. Where the apparently conflicting law contains no clear indication of whether it is intended to supersede conflicting provisions in governing documents, intent must be determined from the language and context of the law, and from historical records of its enactment.

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