This case involved a dispute between homeowners (Owners) and their homeowners association (Association) over the enforceability of Associations policy that banned short term HOA rentals in their common interest development. Owners property is situated in an area of California that is subject to the California Coastal Act which requires the obtaining of a coastal development permit for any development that results in a change in the intensity of use of or access to land in a coastal zone. Because Association did not obtain a coastal development permit before adopting a ban on short term HOA rentals, Owners contended the policy prohibiting short term HOA rentals was invalid and unenforceable. In their action, Owners sought an injunction prohibiting enforcement of Associations policy that prohibited the short term rentals.
The trial court ruled that Associations ban on short term HOA rentals was not a development within the meaning of the California Coastal Act and denied Owners request for an injunction. The trial court further stated that the Superior Court was not the proper venue to determine whether or not Associations policy was in violation of the Coastal Commission Act. Owners then appealed the trial courts decision.
The appellate court ruled that the California Coastal Act permits any person to file an action for declaratory and equitable relief to restrain violations of the act, and upon a prima facie showing of a violation, preliminary equitable relief shall be issued to restrain any further violation The appellate court further ruled that short term rental bans may not be regulated by private actors where it affects the intensity of use or access to single family residences in a coastal zone. The court also stated that the question of whether a 7 day rental is more of a neighborhood problem than a 31 day rental must be decided by the City and the Coastal Commission and not a homeowners association. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the trial courts decision and directed the trial court to grant Owners motion for a preliminary injunction preventing Association from enforcing its policy prohibiting short term HOA rentals.
PUBLISHED California Appellate Court decision (March 27, 2018)
See case decision: Greenfield_v._Mandalay_Shores_Cmty._Ass’n_(Cal._App._2018)1