Why Can’t I Get The Keys to the Office of My HOA?

Here’s a question from a board member: is it discrimination when the other board members all get a key to the office and I don’t?

Answer, probably not. There is no law in California that requires a board to approve giving all directors a key to the office. In fact, the more keys that are distributed, the more problems are likely to develop. Lost keys, more copies, more chance of carelessness, etc. And it is up to the Board to decide who gets keys.

Directors do have a right to see all association records per the California Corporations Code –  with some exceptions driven by case law – but that doesn’t mean at any time of day or night or that a key must be given to provide access. Viewing and copying can be arranged during business hours.

I do not know all of the fact about this situation when the question was posed to me, but if I were asked to opine on this question, I would advise limiting tightly access to the office and files, as tightly as reasonable, maybe two keys provided, one main access key with someone having a back up key. Wow, otherwise I can see it now – a situation ripe for identity theft or other unanticipated problems arising because of too many keys, too much access, too many opportunities for key theft or misuse by uninvited intruders.

  • Share/Bookmark
3 Responses to Why Can’t I Get The Keys to the Office of My HOA?
  1. Paul Christy
    June 8, 2011 | 3:39 pm

    Beth: What are the rules in California regarding HOA Board members not being actual owners? If a woman owns the unit and it is recorded under her name, can her son who occupies the unit run for the Board? Thanks.

    • Beth Grimm
      June 23, 2011 | 5:08 am

      The governing documents (bylaws or CC&Rs, sometimes the Articles of Incorporation) dictate who can serve on the board. Some don’t have any requirements, not even a requirement of ownership. This tends to happen in the original documents so that the developer will be allowed to put someone on the board that is an employee of the company.

      Other documents allow only record owners of the association meaning those on title. Some allow businesses that own to designate staff or an employee named by the business and/or allow trustees of trusts to serve. Some documents require specialized training and many that are drafted by HOA and Condo attorneys for mature associations require board members to be in good standing (meaning not in violation of rules and current with dues payments.

      So you can see, one would need to review the governing documents to find out who can serve on the board, and whether an owner’s son would qualify.

    • Beth Grimm
      September 18, 2011 | 4:39 am

      The governing documents of the association should state the requirements of being a board member – in other words who can serve on the board (referred to as “qualifications” for a board member). The state law does not say who can serve on an association board.