Open Forum: When Do WE Speak?

Open Forum: When Do WE Speak?

Hi Kelly, Thank you for helping people understand HOA laws! Civil Code 4925(b) states “The board shall permit any member to speak at any meeting…” (executive sessions excluded). You wrote in a past column that “members may observe board deliberation, but the law does not give members the right to participate.” This appears contradictory to 4925(b). Which law were you referring to that disallows member participation at the board meeting? I.S., San Diego Dear I.S., There is a big difference between addressing the board during open forum and participating in the board’s deliberations of agenda items. Nothing in the Open Meeting Act supports the notion that members participate in board discussions. If homeowners had the right to participate in board discussions, why would open forum be necessary? Open forum is important because members do not have the right to interrupt board deliberations, and the open forum statute guarantees that members can always have a time to speak to the board about issues important to that member. I often see meetings in which members are allowed to talk during deliberations. When homeowners are allowed to interject, question and even argue with the board, the result usually is chaotic and longer meetings. To argue with the directors, get on the board! Best regards,Kelly Dear Mr. Richardson, Our board won’t let us defer our open forum to another homeowner knowing that they have something of value to say. They absolutely said “you can’t do that.” Is this true? C.S., Anaheim Hills Dear C.S., Civil Code 4925(b) gives any member the right to speak, subject to reasonable time limit. If the board set...
Matt Ober & Kelly Richardson Team Up with Beven & Brock

Matt Ober & Kelly Richardson Team Up with Beven & Brock

On October 9th, Matt D. Ober, Esq. will join fellow College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) member, Brian Moreno, Esq. of the Swedelson Gottlieb law firm to present, an HOA Board Seminar titled, “CURRENT HOT LEGAL ISSUES” for Beven & Brock clients. Topics to include: Solar, Elections, Who Is Responsible for Maintenance, Harassment & Bullying, Collections and Amending/Rewriting CC&Rs. SAVE THE DATE Then, on October 23rd, Kelly G. Richardson, Esq., CCAL will lead Beven & Brock’s clients in a HOA BOARD MEMBER EDUCATION seminar. Education for volunteer HOA board members is essential for success as board members. Due to the ever-increasing complex and changing nature of the laws and regulations that impact common-interest-developments staying on top of these changes greatly increases a board’s member ability to succeed in their role, and operate in confidence.   From Beven & Brock Here is how to register: CALL: (626) 795-3282, ext. 886 EMAIL: HOASeminars@bevenandbrock.com Provide your name, your email, the name of your HOA and the number of guests you are...
A Proactive Approach to Controlling Short-Term Rentals in Your Community

A Proactive Approach to Controlling Short-Term Rentals in Your Community

Whether through the Courts, the Legislature or human nature, from drought restrictions to email prohibitions, community associations are often forced to adapt quickly to change in order to govern effectively. In the case of the short-term rental craze, this change seems harder to tackle. Indeed, the short-term rental market is having an increasing impact on community associations. Residents often complain that short-term renters – who are transient by definition – do not treat association common areas with the same regard as resident owners. Most are unaware of association rules and contribute to mounting security, trash removal, parking, and noise related concerns, not to mention the increased common area expenses that come with the increased burden of handling short-term renters. On an emotional level, residents are often uncomfortable with the fact that their neighborhoods are filled with unfamiliar faces, many of whom are on-site for only a few days at a time. The idea of transient rentals in our communities seems at odds with the objective of maintaining the residential character of our neighborhoods. We all have seen provisions in our communities’ documents that prohibit “non-residential” use of a unit, or that restrict use of property for “private single-family residential purposes.” While many associations have adjusted to an increase in tenant occupied residences in their communities, this “business” use of a residence, where unfamiliar groups of people share the common area and facilities for brief periods of time, never to be seen again, is incompatible with everything we’ve come to know and understand about community associations. The short-term use of a residence only adds to the resentment towards tenants who...
Improve Your Board Meetings: Drafting a Code of Conduct for the Board of Directors

Improve Your Board Meetings: Drafting a Code of Conduct for the Board of Directors

A common frustration for managers and association boards of directors is dealing with issues that arise out of conflict with individual board members. At some point we have all heard of the board member who is hostile, disagreeable or the proverbial “loose cannon.” Other boards have struggled with how to rein in the director who consistently advances his or her own agenda without regard to the best interests of the association. Finally, there are directors elected, for whatever reason, who feel compelled to reveal confidential information about the association to third parties. Unfortunately, the Corporations Code does not yet contain a provision allowing the board to remove a director for behaving badly. The slap on the wrist that follows improper disclosure or misconduct does little to undo the damage already done. There are, however, viable options available to managers and boards to address misconduct. In most cases, the most direct option to control improper behavior is censure. There is no more effective method of controlling improper behavior than by confrontation by one’s own peers. Like any disciplinary hearing, the director should be advised of the improper conduct committed and be provided with an opportunity to explain his or her actions. The director should also be cautioned that continued misconduct will result in further disciplinary action by the board to protect the association and could include obtaining a court order seeking to enjoin their conduct detrimental to the association. If the conduct committed is improper disclosure of confidential information, the best option is to exclude that board member from executive session meetings, or from receiving executive session material or both....
We Have Unwritten Rules

We Have Unwritten Rules

Dear Mr. Richardson, Our board frequently adopts new rules, generally following the required process of providing 30-day notice to homeowners prior to voting at an open board meeting. The new rules are documented only in the board meeting minutes. Consequently, many of these rules have been “lost” throughout the years as homeowners come and go and memories fade. New homeowners moving in have no knowledge of these undocumented rules and naturally they are upset when the board enforces them. So, where should new and/or modified rules be documented? D.W., Cerritos Dear D.W., If the rule change is not published in writing, it is not a rule, per Civil Code 4350(a). Once the board has completed the rule-making process, the final steps are sending notice of adoption of the change and amending the rules document to include the change. If a new owner is not provided a copy of the rule, it might not be enforceable against that owner. Also, per Civil Code 4525(a)(1), all governing documents are to be provided to a member upon request so that they can be given to a prospective buyer. Rules are part of the association governing documents, per Civil Code 4150. Hoping this is helpful,Kelly Dear Kelly, I showed our president your article which said Civil 5850 requires associations to have a list of fines and that the list is part of the Annual Policy Statement packet. He said that there is no annual list of fines as we have an Assessment and Collection policy in place, and that the board is not empowered to change it. Our C.C.& R’s on two pages mentions...