Tips Regarding HOA Committees

Tips Regarding HOA Committees

Most associations find committees helpful. Here are some tips to maximize their value to the HOA: 1. Committees can be “ad hoc,” i.e., temporary, or ongoing Committees typically address a major ongoing area of concern or take on the study of larger or complicated issues. 2. A committee is a group A committee should have at least 3 or 4 members. When a committee dwindles down to one or two persons, it is no longer a committee and should be restocked with volunteers or disbanded. 3. Appointments in the open Committee appointments (or removal) should occur in open meetings. Committee members are not “personnel” and so discussions about committee rosters are not eligible for closed session. 4. Committee service not perpetual Committees normally serve at the pleasure of the board. If a committee is not performing well, committee members can be replaced, and if the committee is not required by the governing documents, it can be disbanded by board vote. 5. Have committee charters Each committee should have a clear written charter adopted by the board. A clear charter informs the committee (and potential volunteers) what is the committee’s role, helping keep the committee on target. A charter also can indicate the minimum and maximum number of members. 6. No interference with vendors or management Committees and their chairs often need to be reminded that decisions are made by the board, that committees make recommendations, and that the committees and their chairs are not authorized to instruct management, association vendors, or other residents. 7. Have directors on committees if possible, but not too many One director on committees helps...
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....
El Presidente Is Not El Jefe

El Presidente Is Not El Jefe

The office of HOA president is often misunderstood, and very serious disfunction for associations and their boards, as well as heartburn for the president, can be the outcome. At the outset, it is critical to understand that the role of the HOA president is dramatically different than the for-profit corporate president. The typical for-profit president is hired to be the boss, and can hire and fire, create or terminate contracts, and otherwise run the show. On the other hand, the HOA’s boss is not the president, but its board of directors. Corporations Code 7210 confirms the chain of command in the common interest development – “the activities and affairs of a [non-profit mutual benefit] corporation shall be conducted and all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the direction of the board.” In a for-profit corporation, the day to day running of the business is typically the responsibility of the president, along with hiring and firing staff. In most associations, day to day execution of board decisions is executed by the association’s paid professional manager. The association president has just one vote on the board, and that vote is no more valuable than any other director. Directors who always automatically defer to the president are not fulfilling their responsibility to the association – which needs each director to contribute. A “super-director” does not exist in the HOA world – each director is just as important as the others. HOA presidents often feel that it is their responsibility to instruct the HOA’s manager, employees, or vendors on how they should perform their jobs. However, in doing so without express...

Ten Damaging HOA Myths

Some myths are not only wrong, but harmful. Here are ten HOA myths which create problems for communities: 1. Governing documents are boilerplate Most HOA homebuyers carefully read their purchase contract, and ignore the CC&Rs, bylaws and rules. However, those documents are binding whether or not the owner reads them. Avoid surprises – read the documents! 2. It’s my balcony In condominium associations, balconies are usually exclusive use common area. It is not “MY balcony; because it is “OUR balcony.” The owner has the exclusive right to use it, but the HOA still controls how it is used and maintained. Owners often misunderstand that exclusive use areas are owned in common and therefore still under association jurisdiction. 3. If the association is off course, I can withhold my assessment payments This is a potentially disastrous myth. Members cannot withhold or offset claims against the HOA as a defense to their assessment delinquency. Withholding assessments will result in late fees, collection costs and attorney fees increasing the problem. The better approach is to follow Civil Code 5658, by paying the disputed amount and then filing a small claims court claim seeking a refund. 4. If it’s inside my home, the HOA has no say Most (but not all) condominiums are defined by a subdivision map or condominium plan describing the unit as “airspace.” This means the member often owns the carpet on their floor and the paint on their walls while everything underneath is common area, requiring HOA permission to alter. Before opening a new doorway, check the condominium plan and CC&Rs to see if HOA permission is needed. 5....