California HOA reverses its “open garage door” rule

Association says it will seek a more ‘reasonable’ solution

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


As suspected, Auburn Greens HOA has backed off of its insanely stupid rule requiring residents to keep their garage doors open 5 days per week.

Ah, the power of media attention.

But don’t get too excited about this little victory yet. After all, we still don’t know what sort of “reasonable policy” will be enacted next.


Homeowners association says residents can close their garage doors again


JANUARY 09, 2018 04:06 PM

UPDATED Jan 10, 2018

An Auburn area homeowners association rescinded a requirement Tuesday that homeowners keep their garage doors open during the day, following national attention that had many calling it an example of HOA overreach.

The requirement insisted homeowners keep their garage doors open during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or face a $200 fine. It was intended to keep people from taking up residence in garages, according to the Auburn Greens homeowners association.

The rule angered residents, some of whom complied and others of whom didn’t. It also prompted a growing wave of attention from local and national media as word spread across the internet.

…A notice was posted Tuesday that read:

“Dear resident, the new garage Door Policy has been put on hold by the Board of Directors effective immediately. You may keep your garage doors down until further notice. The Board of Directors will be working with the Membership (Homeowners) to hopefully come up with a more ‘reasonable’ policy.”


Read more here:


It’s interesting to note the HOA’s explanation behind their “open garage door” policy, as told by landlord-owner James Croci.

Like the Tustin fourplex condo association I featured in a previous post, Auburn Greens also started out as an apartment rental community in the 1970s. The housing units were originally built atop open carports. Auburn Greens was later converted to a condominium association, with carports included as common areas to be maintained by the association. Over the years, a number of owners enclosed their carports with garage doors.

It appears that quite a few condos at Auburn Greens are occupied by tenants, not owners. The board is apparently controlled by a pair of Placer County real estate brokers, Bob and Leilani Souza of  Souza Realty.

According to their website:

Bob & Leilani work as a husband and wife team helping clients achieve financial independence through income from real estate investments. Bob and Leilani have been successful acquiring fix-and-flip properties and cash flow rentals at trustee’s sale auctions, foreclosures, short sales and traditional sales since moving to the Greater Sacramento area in 2010.

The property is managed by Eugene Burger Management Corporation (EMBC).

$100 bills ( free image)

What are the motivations of the condo association and management company at Auburn Greens?

Given these facts, several questions come to mind.

How many Auburn Greens units are owned by the Souzas? How many units are owned by real estate investors who purchased the properties through Souza Realty?

Other than the Souzas, who serves on the condo board at Auburn Greens?

What was the motivation for imposing $200 fines for failure to open garage doors during specified days and hours? Was it an attempt to increase cash flow?

Is it possible that garage enclosures at Auburn Greens are out of compliance with Placer County building codes?

Do the Souzas and any co-investors hope to cash in on a condo termination and redevelopment of Auburn Greens in the not-too-distant future?


What property rights do residents have?

For some reason, real estate broker-landlord-investors seem to think it’s okay to invade privacy of tenants and owners alike, and deprive them of full use of their enclosed-carport style garages.

Never mind that some owners paid for a home with a usable garage, and that tenants are paying higher rent to include covered parking.

Even though the carport-converted-to-a-garage is limited common property for the condo association, does that give the condo board or the management company the right to render the space essentially useless to owners and residents?

California’s Davis-Sterling Common Interest Development Act specifies that the condo association’s right to enter a unit, including an exclusive-use, limited common area such a garage, is limited. The association can only enter in emergency situations or to make repairs. Furthermore, in an emergency, advance notice of inspection or entry is required.

What does California landlord-tenant law say about a lanlord’s rights to enter a leased unit?

Tenants appear to have even greater protections under the law.

California law states that a landlord can enter a rental unit only for the following reasons:
• in an emergency.
• When the tenant has moved out or has
abandoned the rental unit.
• to make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements.
• to show the rental unit to prospective tenants, purchasers, or lenders, to provide entry to contractors or workers who are to perform work on the unit, or to conduct an initial inspection before the end of the tenancy.

• if a court order permits the landlord to enter.
• if the tenant has a waterbed, to inspect
the installation of the waterbed when
the installation has been completed, and periodically after that to assure that the installation meets the law’s requirements.
the landlord or the landlord’s agent must give the tenant reasonable advance notice in writing before entering the unit, and can enter only during normal business hours (generally,
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays). the notice must state the date, approximate time and purpose of entry. however, advance written notice is not required under any of the following circumstances:
• to respond to an emergency.
• the tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit.
• the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry.
• the tenant and landlord have agreed that the landlord will make repairs or supply services, and have agreed orally that the landlord
may enter to make the repairs or supply
the services. the agreement must include the date and approximate time of entry, which must be within one week of the oral agreement.



So, either way, it seems unreasonable to expect residents to permit unlimited entry to their garage space every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

US Constitution (

What about regular inspections?

Curiously, one resident interviewed in the following Fox News 40 report seems more than willing to submit to inspections by the association once or twice per month.

This would seem to be excessive and unnecessary, and, according to legal experts, may put the association at risk of trespassing. Auburn Greens association cannot simply violate the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Residents should not be so quick to give up their rights to privacy in their own homes, even if they rent rather than own.


Auburn Community Upset after HOA Tells Them to Leave Garage Doors Open


AUBURN — An Auburn community is upset after their homeowners association told them they needed to keep their garage doors open during the day.
The rule calls for residents with garages to keep them open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. While some have been abiding by the new rule, despite being against it, others were keeping their doors shut.

Nine-year-old Jason, whose family lives at Auburn Greens, was concerned.

For every home like Jason’s that began following the new rule, there were plenty others that refused to, like Shally Ia.

“I have nothing to hide. I understand somebody had people living in the garage. I don’t. I am following the rules,” Ia said. “All I am asking is a reasonable way to get around this. If you want to do a monthly, bi-monthly inspection of my garage, I have nothing to hide. If I have something that’s being stored in there and you don’t like it I’ll remove it.”

Read more (Video):

Auburn Community Upset after HOA Tells Them to Leave Garage Doors Open






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