Are HOA Boards Limited in What They Can List as Qualifications in Election Rules?

In California, HOA Boards are required to enact ”Election Rules” and the law about the process for elections is extensive. It is located in the Davis Stirling Act at Civil Code Section 1363.03 (5100 et seq. after 1.1.14). For one thing the law requires Boards to state the qualifications that candidates must satisfy in order to be nominated.

In the past I have said that I believe an HOA board cannot “add” qualifications to the Election Rules that do not appear in the association articles of incorporation, bylaws or CC&Rs.  But I have to change my opinion because of the recent Friars Village Case. In the case, an owner challenges the board on a rule that prevents a candidate from running for the board when his or her relative by blood or marriage is already serving on the board. The owner wants to self-nominate, which the law allows, but is told he does not “qualify” to be nominated because of the election rule which the court called the “relationship rule”.  And it is important to note that this qualification does not appear in the association bylaws, but that did not sway the court because the board presented a good argument in favor of the rule. The board said that it did not want relatives serving on the board because of that would encourage or alow directors to form “voting blocks”.

The owner’s challenge to the rule was overruled in the trial court and also in the appellate court and the HOA was awarded reimbursement of attorney fees. . If you want to know much more about the case and the issues, sign up for the E-Newsletter – just go to www.californiacondoguru.com. Be sure and sign up before Tuesday next week if you want to get it directly, or wait until the end of the week and look for the E-newsletter in the archives on my website.

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