After Wittenberg, What Does the Future Hold for HOA Elections?

Many boards and homeowners alike have to deal with matters of homeowner association elections. One in Southern California had to deal with issues up front and personal over how the association communicated measures to owners and what owner rights were thereby triggered with regard to using association resources to support their causes.

 

The HOA found itself embroiled in controversy because some of the owners did not like the way the HOA board was acting. The owners felt the HOA was taking actions that should have involved more input and voting by members.

A fuller story can be found on my website at www.californiacondoguru.com. Tuesday September 24 an E-newsletter will be sent to over 4000 readers giving my take on the case, and my own involvement to the degree of urging review by the California Supreme Court of an appellate decision that will no doubt make it harder for board members to determine what and how communications revolving around elections should be handled.

When we are dealt lemons, we need to make lemonade. What I hope comes out of this case is a realization on the part of boards throughout the state that the owners “are paying attention” even when they seem completely apathetic and communication prior to and during an election is the key to ironing out problems ahead of time instead of trying to do it in the courts. Boards generally think it will be easier to just move ahead with big decisions, since owners don’t tend to come to meetings or even return ballots or run for the Board.

Avoiding pre-election footwork does not necessarily save money or time! Look at the HOA in Wittenberg! After taking action to remove a pool without seeking owner approval, the HOA Board ended up embroiled in injunction litigation and then, in trying to resolve that in favor of removing more pools, funded 3 consecutive elections with a heavy handed approach. Pre-election investigation, surveys, and queries into what and how important and serious matters should be communicated and/or vetted through including members in some way is important!. And boards who fail to read the association documents and fail to pay attention to when owner approval is REQUIRED, are doing a disservice to the “silent majority” that can backfire big time.

If you missed the E-newsletter because you are not on the list, it will be archived this week of September 24 sometime and you can see it. And get signed up so you don’t miss the next one!

And some have asked about the Amicus Letter that I wrote to the high court seeking review of the case. It is now posted on my website and can be found in the Articles accessible through the main page or by clicking here: http://californiacondoguru.com/hoarticles/wittenberg.html.

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