Open up communication.
The complaining neighbor may not have even brought the
complaint to the attention of the alleged offender. Often, it only
takes bringing the matter to the attention of the offender for a
Who else can help?
If the complained-of conduct borders on criminal, call the
police. Also consider another agency with jurisdiction, such as code
enforcement, animal control, or the health department, depending on
the nature of the complained-of conduct.
Is a restraining order available?
If the conduct is particularly egregious or has involved
violence or the threat of violence, the victim homeowner may be
eligible for a temporary restraining order (TRO). A violation of the
TRO can result in a contempt citation.
Is the dispute covered by the CC&Rs?
If so, the homeowner has the power to enforce it directly
against a neighbor.
Is the nuisance a private nuisance?
If the conduct only offends one neighbor, it is a private
nuisance and the Association (and the Manager) should decline to
Alternative Dispute Resolution
If the Association has adopted an internal dispute resolution
procedure, it should be offered as a means for resolution of
disputes between an Association and a Member. If the Association has
not adopted an internal dispute resolution procedure, it should
follow the procedure set out in Civil Code §§5900 et seq.
“Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) means mediation, arbitration,
conciliation, or other nonjudicial procedures that involve a neutral
party in the decision-making process.
The Association has discretion in many cases whether to insert
itself into the dispute
Beehan v. Lido
Association (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 858, 137 Cal.Rptr. 528 (the
business judgment rule applies to an HOA decision whether or not to
“However, with respect to internal dispute resolution, if the
procedure is invoked by a Member, the Association must participate
in the procedure. Civil Code §5910(c). Note that beginning in
2015, both the Association and the Member may have legal
representation, at their own cost, but the Association may not
impose a charge or fee for participation in the ADR process.
The owner can only enforce a provision in the CC&Rs, not in
the other governing documents.
If the dispute centers on something contained in the bylaws
or rules of the Association, the homeowner may not have an individual
right to enforce the provision. HOA involvement may be unavoidable.
Is the CC&R language discretionary or mandatory?
If the language of the provision is that the HOA “may”
enforce the provision, then, for private nuisance or dispute affecting
only one neighbor, the Association has discretion to not be a party.
If the language indicates that the HOA “shall” enforce the
provision, then the HOA’s discretion to not involve itself is
limited to a business judgment that the situation does not merit