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
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.