CALIFORNIA – HOA Homefront: 11 sure-fire ways to frustrate HOA elections
Most associations have member voting at least annually, and the process required by statute applies to all homeowners associations, whether two units in Redondo Beach or 3,000 units in Oakland. Avoid these mistakes which can doom HOA elections.
1. Ignore the procedure. Civil Code Sections 5100-5135 provide a process that must be followed on member votes regarding major assessments, governing document amendments, grants of exclusive use rights, and board elections. Many smaller homeowners associations either intentionally or ignorantly do not follow the process, leaving their elections open to challenge.
2. Don’t have election rules. Civil Code 5105 requires HOAs have written election rules in place. These rules help answer questions in advance, making for more organized and fairer elections.
3. Forget to appoint an inspector of elections. When setting an election, associations occasionally fail to appoint or hire an inspector to conduct the process. This appointment must occur in an open board meeting. Inspectors may be paid professional vendors or may be homeowner volunteers.
4. Allow proxies. Most developer-supplied original HOA bylaws allow for the use of proxies, by which members give to another member the right to vote on their behalf. California statutes provide little guidance as to what is a valid proxy, and proxy disputes (and sometimes chicanery) are a common problem in HOA elections. Proxies are unnecessary, since on most important HOA votes members receive ballots 30 days ahead of the election. HOAs are better served by, through member vote, amending governing documents to ban proxies except for the narrow purpose of achieving quorum. Read more: