Does an HOA or Condo Board Have to Inform Owners About Association Meetings?

Does an HOA or Condo Board Have to Inform Owners About Association Meetings?

In California, the answer is YES!!! With one exception.

A reader sent in this scenario with the question:

“I found your website awhile ago after I bought a condo and now am part of a
HOA.  My questions pertains to the rules or laws if any regarding quarterly
board meetings.  I live in a complex that consists of 16 condos, all privately
owned.  Only a few are rented out.  Most owners either live in their unit or use
it as a second home.  We have an association and the board members all live in
their condos.  There is a president, secretary, and 3 board members.  There is
an annual general meeting where every owner receives an email the date and a
ballot for elections.  During the year, there are quarterly board meetings.
These meetings are never advertised to the owners, yet I have been informed
anyone can attend but they are actually for the board members only.  They state
that years ago, they would let everyone know, but no one ever attended, so they
stopped advertising the date and time of the meeting.  I have been an owner for
2 years now, and have attended most of the meetings, only finding out of them
because I ask when they will be.  There have been meetings that I have not
attended due to not be informed and me forgetting to ask, or they change the
meeting month to accommodate a member.  I would like to know the law or rules
for these meetings.  Are they to be advertised, an agenda posted 72 hours
prior?”

Per Civil Code Section 1363.05 which you can look up on my website at www.californiacondoguru.com (click on link to the Davis Stirling Act), homeowner association boards are required to give notice of board meetings at least 4 days prior to the meetings. This notice must include an agenda and can be by newsletter, posting in the common area, once a year in a calendar, by notice in the bylaws of the date and time, and by any means geared to reach the owners. If an owner lives off site they can require the board to send notices of meetings to their offsite address.

Per changes that took place January 1 of this year, notice of executive session meetings (confidential meetings that owners may not attend) must be given as well, at least two days ahead of time under the same means as for the regular meetings.

As for the annual or any membership meeting, the notice requirements are usually prescribed by the Bylaws. To date, email notice has not been approved by the legislators in a law, but some associations do it anyway. If people do not want email notices or do not have a computer, they are entitled to other means of receiving notice, usually by mail for membership meetings.  And I hate to make waves, but sending ballots for association elections by email is not approved in California law. There is a complicated technical secret ballot double envelope distribution method required by Civil Code Section 1363.03 that applies to all HOAs and Condos. Yes, it’s a pain and it applies to ALL homeowner associations - even the smallest ones, for most elections including elections for the board. And no, it is not a good idea to ignore the elections laws – especially if there is any chance of a contested election or the election involves a controversial topic. One legal battle over process can make the savings gained by ignoring the law look like a pittance.

 

  • Share/Bookmark
5 Responses to Does an HOA or Condo Board Have to Inform Owners About Association Meetings?
  1. marlene
    January 15, 2012 | 9:50 pm

    What constitutes notice. Thepostmark on an envelope the receipt of the notice.
    My board sends the notice of meeting , i receive it the saturaday before the tuesday meeting. but the manger says that post marked the notice in legal time.
    Help. I cannot attend because of not enough notice to change plans.

    • Beth Grimm
      January 21, 2012 | 2:20 am

      The postmark on an envelope would constitute the date of the notice unless the governing documents specified otherwise. If you are talking about board meetings, there is a 4 days notice requirement for open board meetings so this would qualify. If you are talking about membership meetings the bylaws often require anywhere between 10 and 30 days notice so check the bylaws. Even so, a letter mailed today might not arrive for 3-5 days so that does not leave a lot of time. But it may satisfy the legal requirements.

    • Beth Grimm
      February 24, 2012 | 6:06 am

      In most cases the notice requirements are tied to the date the letter is posted (postmark date). However, in the applicable law in California, the 4 day requirement for notice to owners related to open board meetings is intended to assure the notice will be provided in a manner geared to reach owners at least 4 days before the meeting, and the presumption in California law that posting a letter takes 5 days for delivery indicates that mailing the notice 4 days before the meeting is NOT A METHOD geared to reach the owner 4 days before the meeting.Common sense people!

  2. Wendy Johnson
    February 9, 2012 | 9:48 am

    If the HOA fails to post notice of board meetings what recourse does an individual homeowner have?

    • Beth Grimm
      February 24, 2012 | 5:59 am

      The new law for California says that if a board holds a meeting by teleconference, they still have to provide a location where owners can go and listen in, and at least one board member has to be present at that location. It does not require the board to have teleconference meetings, or to allow owners to call in to any meeting.