Removed Presidents, The PUD Myth

Removed Presidents, The PUD Myth

Dear Mr. Richardson, The president of our HOA was recently removed as president (with no explanation and at an unposted meeting) but she is still on the board, referred to as director at large, with no duties. Someone said she is not eligible to vote in that capacity. Is that true? J.K., Murrieta Dear J.K., The president, as with any officer position within the board of directors, normally serves at the pleasure of the board, under Corporations Code 7213(b). Check your HOA bylaws to be sure. Usually there is one section for “board of directors” and a different section for “officers.” You probably will find that officers are appointed from within the board. So, one could be removed by the board from one’s officer position – but being removed from an officer position is different than being removed from the board. Normally after losing one’s officer position one is still a board member. The board does not need to state a reason for changing officers, because no “cause” is needed. However, changing officers should be accomplished during an open meeting with the minimum 4 days agenda notice. Some boards mistakenly consider this a “personnel” matter and so handle the decision in closed session. However, in this context, “personnel” means employees of the association. Thanks for your question, Kelly Kelly, I live in a PUD as I was told. Why do you say there is no such thing, and California has planned developments? B.K., Sun City  Good morning, In an earlier article you stated that California has only planned developments not PUDs. Our manager swears that we are a PUD....
Boards Elections [Part 2]

Boards Elections [Part 2]

Dear Mr. Richardson, We cannot get people to volunteer to be on the board. I have been on the board and told the manager I didn’t want to run. She put my name on the ballot, and said I had to stay on the board until someone took my place. What happens if you don’t have people to serve on the board? Thanks, L.W., Encinitas Dear L.W., The usual cause for difficulty in finding volunteers is that homeowners are discouraged from volunteering by seeing directors working long hours for the HOA. The less common reason is HOAs in turmoil often have trouble filling seats with brave souls. A provisional director could be appointed by the court if the board cannot attain quorum, but this is very expensive (the director will charge hourly). You cannot be forced to serve as a director. A director can resign any time, and the board then can in an open meeting vote to fill the vacancy. The manager may be misapplying Corporations Code 7220(b), which says that a director serves until the term expires and a replacement is elected. Corporations Code 7224(c) provides that a director may resign upon giving written notice. I hope your board investigates the reasons why people are unwilling to serve, and things improve. Sincerely,Kelly Mr. Richardson, We have several candidates running for the board and one candidate is the spouse of an owner of record but she is not on title. Our board president announced in an open meeting that the candidate was not eligible to be a candidate based on the president’s interpretation of the Davis-Stirling Act. Your...
11 Sure-Fire Ways to Frustrate HOA Elections

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 HOAs, whether 2 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 which must be followed on member votes regarding major assessments, governing document amendments, grants of exclusive use rights, and board elections. Many smaller HOAs 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. 5. Skip vote counting in uncontested elections It may make no sense to go...
Unruly Meetings or Meeting Rules

Unruly Meetings or Meeting Rules

Other than the overall condition of the common areas, one of the first opportunities for associations to make a positive impression upon new members is at meetings of the board of directors. Where does a new owner learn how board meetings are conducted? No law requires associations to have meeting rules, but such rules can be extremely helpful to attendees and the board. Much of the rules may be derived from statutes (Civil Code 4900-4955, aka Open Meeting Act) but the statutes do not answer all questions. Topics which could be covered in meeting conduct rules could include: Who can attend board meetings? This is not an academic question. Under the Open Meeting Act, only members have the right to attend open meeting sessions, but what about tenants, non-owner spouses, attorneys, children of owners, and service providers? The rules can confirm if anyone else can attend. What is the order of business the HOA board usually follows? A model agenda can be included in the rules, to inform HOA members about the order in which things happen in board meetings. How is open forum handled? Is it at the beginning or the end of meetings? Can the board vote to have a special open forum on a limited issue during the meeting? What is the time limit on owner remarks? Reasonable guidelines on open forum will be helpful. What behavior is not permitted in board meetings? Meeting rules should contain clear boundaries of behavior, boundaries which no reasonable person would defend. Rules should spell out what is not allowed, and help keep order during board meetings. If someone disrupts...

What You May Not Know About Your CC&Rs

Of the five governing documents of most associations – articles of incorporation, recorded map or plan, bylaws, operating rules and “CC&Rs – the last, covenants, conditions and restrictions, is arguably the most important. Here are eleven things you may not know about your CC&Rs. CC&Rs are: 1. Public documents When filed with the County Recorder (aka, “recorded”) CC&Rs become a public document, and anyone can see a copy. 2. A contract binding all owners Regardless of whether they read it, understood it, or received a full copy of it. Once recorded, the CC&Rs document becomes a “covenant running with the land,” meaning a contract binding all owners. 3. Ordinarily not reviewed by buyers until too late Most buyers regard CC&Rs as boilerplate, to be reviewed eventually. Even though buyers do not sign it, it should be read as carefully as the purchase agreement. 4. Your contract, not just the association’s CC&Rs place rights and responsibilities not only on the association, but on each member. If a neighbor violates the covenants, you have the same right to deal with the problem. 5. Often distributed in draft or unrecorded format  “Official” CC&Rs will have a recording number from the County Recorder on each page. Associations often mistakenly distribute unrecorded copies originally received from the developer. It is easy to obtain a copy of the official document. 6. Normally enforced by the courts, even if they seem unreasonable The California Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that CC&Rs will be presumed enforceable, with some narrow exceptions (such as if they contradict a law). 7. Often not written with your HOA in mind Original...