articles by barry A. Ross

If an owner relies on the representation of the association that a section
of the CC&R’s will not be enforced, can the association then enforce the CC&R’s

In 1 Advising California Common Interest Communities Curtis C. Sproul and Katharine N. Rosenberg (CEB) Section 7.61, p. 501, the following statement appears:

“The courts will not enforce a covenant if the party with the ability to enforce it represents to another party, either verbally or through action or inaction, that the covenant will not be enforced, and the other party relies on those representations to his or her detriment. Courts usually term this defense “estoppel,” although they sometimes state that the party who made the representation has waived the right to enforce the covenant.”

For a contrary view, see Woodridge Escondido Property Owners Association v. Nielsen (2005) 130 Cal. App. 4th 559, where the architectural committee’s erroneous approval of an encroaching deck did not prevent the association from seeking removal of the deck because the governing documents expressly prohibited the encroachment.