A California Appellate Court Awarded a Homeowner’s Association Attorney’s Fees
in an Action Against a Property Owner to Enforce Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
In Rancho Mirage Country Club Homeowners Association v. Hazelbaker, the Hazelbakers owned a condominium in the Rancho Mirage Country Club Development. They applied to the Homeowner’s Association (“HOA”) to make modifications to their property. The changes were approved, but the homeowners allegedly made changes that exceeded the scope of the approval. The HOA sent the homeowners a request for mediation. The parties reached a mediated settlement that required the homeowners to make certain modifications in accordance with a new plan approved by the HOA. The defendants failed to complete the modifications within the time frame agreed upon and the HOA sued to enforce the agreement. While the lawsuit was pending, the parties reached a revised agreement and the defendants completed the modifications required under the agreement. The HOA subsequently filed a motion for attorney’s fees, which the defendants opposed. The trial court granted the motion and the defendants appealed. The court of appeal held that the HOA was entitled to its attorney’s fees since the gravamen of the HOA’s complaint was that the homeowners failed to bring their property into compliance with applicable Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions. The relief sought under the complaint required the defendants to take those steps pursuant to Civil Code section 5975. The HOA was the prevailing party and was therefore, entitled to their attorney’s fees.
Shannon B. Jones, Partner, firstname.lastname@example.org