Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Center for California Homeowner Association Law?
A: CCHAL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the consumer protection of homeowners living in California’s 47,000 homeowner associations. We are a membership organization; to become a member — for free — click on the JOIN US! box found on every page of the website. Our Mission Statement, Board of Directors, and other basic information about CCHAL are on the Homepage.

Q: Why do I have to register?
A: You don’t have to register, if you don’t want to. Many pages of this website are public, meaning anyone can access them without registering. However, registering for free lets you access additional pages of the website designed for Online Members, who are typically very serious about educating themselves in both their rights and responsibilities as homeowners.  Contributing Members usually want to go even more deeply into certain subjects so certain pages are set aside for them, including successful small claims filed by homeowners. They also get reduced rates at CCHAL workshops and conferences as well as NewsBriefs updating them on proposed legislation, new laws, and news articles.

Q: How do I SEARCH a topic on this website?
A: You can key in one of the words from the list below — e.g. “foreclosure” — or you can key in a word of your own choosing. After keying it in, press ENTER and all documents relating to the topic will be called up in a master list. Scan the list and click on the document you want. Where possible, each document is keyed BY CALIFORNIA COUNTY, so you can search for documents relating to a specific county.

Q: I don’t seem to be able to get access to some of the documents.
A: Many documents on the website are “public”; meaning any visitor to the website can access them. Some documents require that you register — for free — to read them. Registration is helpful to the Center, because it lets us know which pages are visited most often and which need to be expanded. Finally, some pages are for people, who make a small donation to the Center and become Contributing Members. Pages on small claims court and sample small claims suits are benefits for Contributing Membership.

Q: I’m already registered, but I can’t seem to log on.
A: Using your email address and your password (made up by you when you register), you can log in on any page of the website. Sometimes the password “auto fills”, meaning it fills in the box for you with black dots. When this happens, we suggest you erase the password and key it in yourself.

Q: Can the website pages be translated into other languages?
A: Yes, they can.  Just use the Google translator on the top right on each page and choose the language you want.  The page will be instantly translated for you into one of dozens of language.  There is also a special BIENVENIDOS!/WELCOME page for our Spanish-speaking members along with links to translated pages of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California Housing Finance Agency, and to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Q: I just registered as a Contributing Member, but I can’t get into the Contributing Member pages.
A: Please give us at least 24 hours to process your contributing membership, so you can access the Contributing Member pages. We’ll process your registration as soon as we can.

Q: What are the possible topics/keywords I can use in the SEARCH box?
A: At the bottom of this page is a sample of the possible topics: remember, you can also key in other words of your own choosing. The SEARCH engine will search titles of documents, keywords, and also the text of all documents posted on the website.

Q: What if I don’t find what I’m looking for?
A: For individualized service, Contributing Members can send an email to CCHAL at and we’ll answer it as soon as we can. We regret that we are no longer able to handle the volume of email from Online Members who want individualized service. Remember: we do not provide legal counsel in any form, but we do provide information, technical support, and referral services to Contributing Members. Your questions will be answered by CCHAL advocates and staff who campaigned with California lawmakers in Sacramento to get homeowner consumer protection legislation signed into law. CCHAL sponsored a number of consumer protection bills including AB 1098 (association records); SB 61 and SB 1560 (association elections); and SB 137 (foreclosure defense.) Your question may also get referred to one of CCHAL’s volunteer attorneys. Disclaimer: any information you get from CCHAL, in any form, does not mean that an attorney-client relationship has been formed or that CCHAL is providing legal counsel.

Q: I need an attorney. Will CCHAL refer me to one?
A: No, at the moment CCHAL is not an attorney referral service. Again: IF you think you need an attorney, call your local county bar association for an attorney referral. If you do go to the bar association for an attorney referral, BE SURE AND ASK FOR ONE WHO KNOWS HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION LAW AND WHO REPRESENTS THE INTERESTS OF HOMEOWNERS – NOT ASSOCIATIONS.

HOWEVER, in our experience, many homeowners think they need an attorney, when maybe they need another kind of referral, e.g. to a fair housing agency in their community. One service that CCHAL provides to Contributing Members is talking their case over with them to determine what kind of resources they need to solve their problem or get their questions answered.

Access to Justice
Allied Trustee Services
Angius & Terry
Appeals Court
Architectural Changes
ASAP Collections
Association Board
Association Lien Services
Association Records
Association Elections
Attorney General
Baydaline & Jacobsen
Civil Rights
Companion animals
Condo Conversions
Condo Map/Subdivision Map
Constitutional Issues
Construction Defects
Consumer Protection
County Government (articles are keyed BY COUNTY when possible, e.g. Alameda County, so you can key in the county where you live to find out what’s going on in your county.)
Court cases
Deed Restriction
Debt Collectors
Demand Letters
Department of Consumer Affairs
Department of Fair Employment and Housing
Department of Real Estate
Dispute Resolution
Disability Rights
Dispute resolution
Dissolving an Association
Elder Financial Abuse
Environmental Issues
Fair Debt Collection Laws
Fair Housing
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Filing Complaints
Freedom of Speech
Governing Documents
Housing Authority
Judicial Council
Legal Aid
Legal Journal Articles
Legal Services
Legislative Hearings
Local Government
Mobile home parks
Mortgage Fraud
Operating Rules
Pets in Housing
Pro Solutions
Property Manager
Rulemaking authority of the HOA
Self-Help Centers
Shadow Governments
Short Sales
Small Claims Court
Stonehenge Collections
Sun City
Sunrise Assessment Services

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