My question involves a condominium located in the State of California.
I'm an owner in a CA condo, there are only 12 units in our complex and we have a leasing restriction limiting the amount of rental units to three. The same three units have been for rent since the rule went into effect in 1991, and there is no mechanism for other units to enter the rental pool unless the owners of the three rentals decide for whatever reason that they no longer want to rent.
My family has to relocate due to a temporary job training program for 2 years. With the market the way it is, we would pretty much have to walk away from our property if we cannot rent it to at least cover the mortgage. Even though the HOA's rules and regulations have a hardship clause, it is very minimal. Basically all it says is that the board will consider hardship appeals. It has no details on what factors they will consider, or even what percentage of the board must be in agreement to grant a hardship exception.
I just joined the board this year, and there are only two other owners on the board. One is sympathetic to my position, the other is not. The latter owner denied my hardship request unilaterally, but i can find no clause anywhere in the rules saying that the board must be in complete agreement, nor can I find a clause saying I must disqualify myself from being involved with a decision because my unit is at issue.
Another owner was recently put on active duty and he was granted a hardship clause. While I am not moving due to military service, I think I am in a somewhat similar situation.
Thanks for bearing with me on the facts. Here are my questions:
1) Is the hardship clause as written vague enough that it could be challenged in CA court?
2) Is there a case to be made that the HOA is administering the clause in a non uniform matter?
3) Is the fact that the same three units have been renting the unit for nearly 20 years, with no procedure for other owners to enter the rental pool itself a situation in which the HOA is administering its rules in a non-uniform matter?
4) Do courts even care whether HOA boards enforce rental restrictions in a uniform matter? And even if they do, would they just defer to the board's decision that two situations are "different enough" for the outcome.
5) Any idea what my legal options are? Would I have to sue for an injunction on the HOA trying to enforce the lease restriction rule? I'm not looking for legal advice, just wondering what I could expect to hear from a lawyer if and when I seek one out.
Thanks so much!