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Age Discrimination, CC&R's, & HOA Abuses California

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  • Age Discrimination, CC&R's, & HOA Abuses California

    My parents own a mobile/manufactured home on it's own land in Riverside County (Hemet to be exact) in a Senior 55+ Park. I live almost 3 hours away in Malibu, am almost 40, am a graduate film student and work in the film industry.

    Here's the problem: I am staying at my parents house for the holidays. I actually came up here about 2 weeks ago, so we could clean out a storage unit and have some garage sales, etc. Two days ago, my parents received a letter from the HOA office stating that they had in fact "confirmed" that there was an underage occupant living in the residence which is a violation of the CC&R's. It states that "if the guest is temporary, then you must inform the Association Office that the resident is a guest." It goes on to state that guests are allowed for 60 days in one calendar year. It then states that unless the "Association is contacted about this violation within the next 15 days, the Association will continue the due process procedure to bring the property into compliance with our CC&R's." The letter does not state what "due process" means.

    My parents are very upset, they feel very threatened and intimidated by the HOA Operations Manager's letter, above. My dad basically wants to tell them to "suck eggs", which clearly is not the appropriate answer to this letter.

    The problem goes much deeper than simply this letter. From the first time I came to visit my parents at this residence, the neighbors made me feel very unwelcome. When my mother introduced me, rather than a polite response they simply blurted out, repeatedly, "You know, guests are only allowed to stay a few days." They informed me, again repeatedly, that I am not to be alone or go anywhere alone in the community, again because I'm not a senior or of the appropriate age. Any time I have seen these neighbors over the past several years, they are incredibly rude and demand to know how long I will be visiting, ask me why I'm not at my house at the beach, and quote the all-holy CC&R's to me, letting me know that heaven will clearly fall into hell if I step out of line. I also have to add that these neighbors have nothing better to do than sit and watch out their window all day long and feel absolutely EVERYTHING is their business. Fine, we have nasty neighbors! I can deal with that. I have always smiled, politely replied, and gone on about my business. Then, as I said above, someone clearly filed a report against my parents with the HOA.

    The HOA office staff, by the way, are like gestappo. Last August, when it was 115 degrees, they sent my parents a letter that a tree at the corner of the property had to be trimmed down...OR ELSE!!! My mother told them she was going to just cut it down altogether. They got really upset and told her she was not to do any such thing without submitting a request and receiving approval from the HOA. I went out there with her in the heat and we hacked the crud out of that tree, cussing the whole time. While out there, we had several little elderly people come by to see what we were doing, who told us they had received similar letters, but they had no money as Social Security was their only income, and they were barely able to walk, let alone trim their trees in that heat.

    Back to the problem at hand. There is no underage violation here. I have my own home, I have not spent 60 nights in the residence, etc. I can write up a letter making that statement for the HOA. However, the problem isn't with compliance or necessarily even the CC&R's. The problem is that the neighbors are harassing my parents' guests (in this case me, although it could be any guests), they are invading my parents privacy, as well as mine (or again any guest), and they are encrouching on my parents' right to enjoyment of their property and their home, simply because I am not of a senior citizen age. And again, this is not after we have violated the CC&R's (such as if I had "visited" for 61 days), but actually began on the first day I visited, continues through each visit, whether I'm home for the holidays or simply stopping by for dinner or dropping something off (My grandmother lives about 45 minutes away and I sometimes stay with her because of her poor health, and then I may come over and do laundry or work on a computer project for my mom's business, etc.). And now, the neighbors have brought the HOA office into this, who has now threatened my parents with a "due process procedure", which I read as legal action, fines, etc.

    Is there something we can do about this? Do we have any rights? I understand and respect the senior community concept and even the 60 day guest rule, with which again, I am in full compliance. My dad wants to tell the HOA office off and tell them that they cannot dictate to him who he may have as guests and when they may visit. I have to agree with him in that, as long as I'm not spending the night 60 times in a year, they can't limit my ability to visit my parents, clean, do laundry, have dinner, assist them in any way, take care of their needs, and enjoy their company. Technically, if I hypethetically lived nearby, I should be able to come over from early morning to late at night 365 days out of the year and there's nothing anyone can do about it. And since when do my parents have to notify the HOA office when they have a guest or register a guest? That's not specified in the CC&R's. Isn't that a violation of their privacy?

    Aside from moving, which would be my parents option if homes were currently selling in this area, is there anything we can do about the neighbors and the HOA office staff, etc.? Part of my concern here is in the tone and nature of the HOA letter itself. The letter states "it is confirmed that there is an occupant in your residence" that's underage and non-conforming. I have no idea how you "confirm" something that is not true. Do I or my parents have grounds to request their supposed evidence? Can we get copies of any complaints made against us? Is the HOA office allowed to make statements in these letters they know to be false in an effort to intimidate? And is there a procedure by which HOA organizations are supposed to find underage violations or is it just Ok to pick a guest, visiting their parents for the holidays, and say "we think you're violating a CC&R and you have to prove you're not"? I guess I'd assume there has to be a verifiable problem, such as loud music, crazy driving, kids skateboarding up and down the sidewalks, etc., before they haul out the big guns and accuse someone of violating the CC&R's and make threats, etc. And by the way, there are quite a number of kids living in the community who haven't been removed. But a nasty neighbor decides she doesn't like "young people" and files a false complaint and now my parent's Christmas is ruined. Aren't my parents entitled to have guests at their home without having to be encumbered by harassment and false allegations and threats against their home, not to mention embarassment on their part and their guests?

    I'd appreciate any help here. I've worked in the legal field as a paralegal and legal investigator, but not in real estate (mainly criminal with some employment law) and I've never dealt with HOA's before.

    Thanks so much,

  • #2
    Your parents signed a contract with the HOA when they moved in. As such, it binds their behavior.

    All of the pieces you mention show a valid, though somewhat myopic, view of CC&R's. I guess when you have nothing to do with your day you fill it with minutiae.

    Having said that... the complaints are valid. You are not a resident and I am sure the other residents are worried that children and grandchildren of residents will begin to take up permanent residence in the community... especially as residents die off. I don't know if this violates law, though... it sounds like something that violates the fair housing laws.... but I don't know.

    Call an attorney and pay for an hour of time.
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.