As a homeowner, you may be concerned about how opening your family child care in your home will affect your relationship with your homeowners association (HOA). You can rest assured knowing that California state law ensures your HOA cannot stop you or penalize you for opening a preschool or child care on the property that you own.
What if an HOA restricts home-based businesses in its Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions?
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions, also known as CC&R’s, are regulations drafted and enforced by a community group like a homeowners association that restrict what a member can do on his or her property. For example, the CC&R’s might restrict a homeowner in the community from hanging clotheslines outside or landscaping their yard in a certain way.
A family child care is exempt from any CC&R or deed restrictions on home business or commercial practices according to the California Health and Safety Code Sections 1597.30 to 1597.621.
Licensed family child cares are considered a residential use – not business use – of residential property so you have the legal right to operate in your single family home.
What about insurance?
If you are starting a preschool or child care in your home, you must either (1) maintain liability insurance coverage, or (2) post a bond, or (3) in lieu of the insurance or bond, keep a file of parent affidavits informing the parent that you do not have liability coverage. You do not have to have liability insurance.
You are only required to choose one of the three options. If you purchase liability insurance and live in a home covered by an association or covenant agreement, you can name the association as an additional insured on the policy. The law says that adding an association as an additional insured party is only allowed if the addition does not result in a cancellation or non-renewal of the policy and if there is any additional premium that the association pays the extra cost. For more information, see California Health and Safety Code Section 1597.531 and page 8 of the CDSS Tenant Rights.
It is unlikely that your homeowner’s insurance covers you as a family child care provider. You should contact your insurance company to see what you’re covered for.
What if there are damages to common areas?
According to the HOA Law Blog, you are responsible for any damages to common areas.
Can my HOA restrict signage for my family child care?
Yes. According to California Health and Safety Code Section 1597.47, your HOA (or other public entity) can limit your signage as long as the rule applies to all residential properties in the community, not just family child cares.
HOA’s and family child cares in California: In conclusion
If your HOA threatens you for starting a preschool or child care in your home, politely show them the state laws that trump any deeds and CC&R restrictions for family child cares. Reassure them that you will be licensed by the state and will only care for up to 14 children.