Abuse of Power in HOA / Condo Situation?

An email from a reader disgusted with her/his Condo Association:

“A new board member told me recently I have no right to ask to see the financials because I am no longer a board member and have no right to see them. I asked him if he would stay with his bank if they told him same?  The other new member, besides parking all his cars out, determines the Rules to his liking, which is very arguable. Most people would be disgusted and walk away thinking there is no recourse. I am a legal secretary and know I need to ask the expert, you, for a proper course to reduce abuse of power. Thank you.”

Homeowners have the right to see a considerable amount of  financial information under Civil Code Section 1365.2 (California-Davis Stirling Act).  You can get to the Davis Stirling Act through the main page at www.californiacondoguru.com. Board members can see more (all records in fact) per Corporations Code Section 8334 (but there is some case law suggesting this can be limited if there is reason to believe records might be misused).

As for “determining the rules to his liking”, if this means inconsistently enforcing the rules, then the association could be sued – this happens to be the major cause of lawsuits against HOA and Condo associations. However, probably 99% of the cases of inconsistent enforcement continue even after a complaint by a resident or owner because the reality is that most people cannot afford to sue.  If you can afford to have a knowledgeable HOA or Condo attorney write a letter challenging the practices of the board, it may make a difference. It is all a matter of pushing the right buttons to provide incentive to engage in the “right” kind of behavior.

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