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Penalize This: Fines and Penalties Imposed on Associations

By Ellen Schuster, Esq.

We talk a lot about the fines and other penalties associations can impose on members who violate the governing documents. What about the fines and penalties that can be imposed on associations? Associations that violate certain Civil Code sections may have to pay monetary penalties or fines (typically called "civil penalties") in addition to paying for actual damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.

At a time when members are increasingly challenging associations and associations are under increased scrutiny, it is important to understand the common violations that can subject associations to significant fines and penalties.

Open Meeting Act (Civil Code section 4900, et seq.)

Associations that violate this act may have to pay attorneys’ fees, court costs, and civil penalties of up to $500 per violation. (Civil Code section 4955(b).) Common violations include failure to provide the required four days’ or two days’ notice of an...

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