This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can Owners Fix Common Area Damage at HOA’s Expense in Los Angeles?

Question from Person, Can Owners Fix Common Area Damage at HOA’s Expense in Los Angeles?

Answer from AI:

When living in a homeowners association (HOA) in Los Angeles County, California, residents often enjoy shared amenities and common areas. However, when damage occurs to these areas, such as a roof, resolving the issue promptly is crucial, especially if it poses health and safety concerns. Understanding your rights and the HOA’s responsibilities can help navigate these situations effectively.

Understanding HOA Responsibilities

In California, the responsibilities of an HOA regarding maintenance and repair of common areas are typically outlined in the governing documents of the association, such as the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions). Generally, the HOA is responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing common areas, while individual owners are responsible for their own units.

Do Owners Have a Self-Help Right?

Self-help refers to the right of an individual to remedy a situation without resorting to legal action. In the context of an HOA, this would mean an owner fixing common area damage themselves and then seeking reimbursement from the HOA. California law does provide mechanisms for owners to address issues when an HOA fails to fulfill its obligations, but these are typically pursued through legal channels rather than through self-help measures.

Criteria and Steps for Addressing HOA Inaction

1. **Review Governing Documents**: First, review the HOA’s governing documents to understand the specific responsibilities of the HOA regarding maintenance and repairs of common areas.

2. **Communicate with the HOA**: Document and communicate the issue to the HOA board in writing, providing details about the damage and how it poses health and safety concerns. This step is crucial for creating a record of your efforts to resolve the issue.

3. **Legal Notice**: If the HOA fails to act, California law allows homeowners to send a legal notice to the HOA demanding action within a certain timeframe. This is often a prerequisite before taking further legal action.

4. **Mediation or Arbitration**: Many HOAs require disputes to be resolved through mediation or arbitration before resorting to litigation. Check your governing documents for any such provisions.

5. **Litigation**: As a last resort, homeowners may consider filing a lawsuit against the HOA for failing to fulfill its maintenance and repair obligations. This step should be taken with the advice of a legal professional.

Consulting a Legal Professional

It’s important to consult with a legal professional experienced in HOA law to understand the specific options available in your situation. They can provide guidance on the feasibility of seeking reimbursement for repairs undertaken by an owner and the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.


While the frustration of dealing with an unresponsive HOA is understandable, self-help remedies, especially those involving common area repairs at the HOA’s expense, are not typically straightforward under California law. Homeowners should pursue resolution through the HOA’s internal processes, documented communication, and legal channels where necessary. Consulting with a legal professional can provide clarity on the best steps to take to ensure the health and safety concerns are addressed promptly and effectively.

For more information on HOA laws and homeowner rights in California, you can visit the California State Portal or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website for resources and guidance.

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