Assembly Bill 1738 has hit the desk of Governor Brown and awaits his signature. What exactly is AB 1738 and why should you get involved?
- This bill encourages owners to bring a lawyer to an Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) with a Board member. An IDR, also referred to as a Meet and Confer, is a causal meeting between an owner and a Board member to try to resolve a dispute before pursuing legal action. As an owner, you are already allowed to bring a lawyer to an IDR, but the idea of the meeting is to solve the issue at hand without the costs associated with having a lawyer present. If a resolution is reached during this meeting, it is documented and both parties must sign the agreement. If a resolution is not reached, then either party may pursue legal action.
- Lawyers would be permitted to attend an IDR unannounced and statements made in IDR would no longer be part of a private conversation. This Assembly Bill allows lawyers to attend these meetings without prior notification to the HOA, and any discussions, information, or documents presented during the IDR meeting could be used in future litigation. This could potentially hurt both parties involved and increase the possibility of future litigation.
- Why does any of this concern you? If an owner is allowed to bring a lawyer without notifying the HOA, and with the risk of having comments made during the meeting be a part of future litigation, the Board may decide that it is necessary to have a lawyer present during all IDR meetings. This will eventually lead to an increased legal budget, which in turn increases your dues. Likewise, if you are an owner requesting an Internal Dispute Resolution meeting, the cost of your own lawyer attending could be substantial and may become necessary to protect yourself if the Board member has a lawyer present.
This bill, pushed through by an organization backed by lawyers, has the potential to invalidate the idea of an Internal Dispute Resolution being a cost-free solution to resolve disputes, and it currently sits on the desk of our Governor awaiting his signature.
What You Can Do to Help:
Send a letter or email to Governor Brown urging him to veto the bill. You can use one of the sample letters from either of the websites below or create your own and send it to the Governor here.
Please also email it to email@example.com or fax it to (916) 558-3177 so that the Community Associations Institute can keep track of the grassroots response.
Sample Letter 1
To read the full text of AB1738 click here.