Our HOA hasn’t had an annual meeting in years. We receive notice that the “annual meeting” will be held on a given date to “count ballots”. For the last 2 years, when we arrived, we were informed it wasn’t a meeting but only to count or collect votes for board members. We were invited to attend the board meetings that are held in someone’s home. I have always thought that HOAs were required by law to have an annual meeting. Is this incorrect?
E.Q., Newport Beach
Most association bylaws require annual membership meetings. A board meeting to count votes is not a membership meeting. Corporations Code 7510(b) requires that associations hold membership meetings as required by its bylaws and when directors are being elected. Civil Code 5000 also confirms that each membership meeting must have an “open forum” portion, with a reasonable time limit afforded members to speak. Sixty days after the membership meeting is due, the court can be petitioned for an order pursuant to Corporations 7510(c) to compel the meeting to occur. Annual meetings are a great opportunity for members to be connected to their association and each other.
Best to your association,
We have four candidates for three board openings. Civil 5120(b) states, “The tabulated results of the election shall be promptly reported to the board …” Does this mean verbally in the presence of the board and HOA members? Or on a slip of paper to the board? We haven’t read them out loud to avoid embarrassing the candidates with few votes.
C.R., San Diego
Civil Code 5120(b) requires election results be announced by “general notice” within 15 days of the election. Per Civil Code 4045, “general notice” authorizes including a notice in the newsletter or billing statement or posting where the association normally displays notices. The law also allows the announcement to be mailed (or emailed to members who have consented to email notices). Civil Code 5120 is clear that the votes are tabulated and then the tabulated results are announced – which means the announcement should include the vote totals.
Thanks for your question,
Do you know if the sign-in sheet at an association meeting is private? I requested a copy of the sign-in sheet. Management has since responded to my request saying it is private and not a membership list. I cannot find anything in Davis Stirling or online to confirm which it is. Do you know?
Attendance sign-in sheets at board or membership meetings are not “association records” required by Civil Code 5200 to be available for inspection. Sign-in sheets are not financial records (which is most of what Civil Code 5200 lists). Civil Code 5200 mentions minutes, but sign-in sheets do not record association actions and so are not “minutes.” Civil 5200 also mentions “membership lists,” but sign-in sheets only list the members in attendance. Board meeting sign-in sheets are not important except to help to require attendees confirm they are members. At membership meetings, sign-in sheets help to confirm existence of quorum, but Civil Code 5125 only requires ballots to be kept for member inspection – not sign-in sheets.
Hoping this helps,
Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Senior Partner of Richardson Ober PC, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit potential column questions to Kelly@Richardsonober.com. Past columns at www.HOAHomefront.com. All rights reserved®.