HOA Elections – What Can Go Wrong?


Here is a quandary presented by an owner who hadn’t exactly been diligent, created by a board that may have held an election improperly.


“Unfortunately, through a strange set of circumstances I found out after the fact that at the last regular board meeting that in lieu of going out to ballot a vote was taking at the meeting and since I had failed to fill out a candidate application form and attend the meeting my position was filled by another interested home owner.    While I accept responsibility for the part I played in this I’m left a little confused by how things occurred.”


These facts alone indicate that if the owner wanted to run for the board, he or she should have paid attention to communications of the board. If the board properly and openly solicited candidates to run, then the person maybe SOL. (For those of you that don’t know what that means – it is s_ _ t out of luck!)


However, if the board did not “reasonably” notify owners of the opportunity to submit candidacy or a nomination, then there is a problem with any subsequent “election” or declaration of election by “acclamation” in California.  I would have to review an HOA’s documents and election rules to determine if an election was properly conducted but I can also say this without doing so:  A vote for directors may not be taken at a regular board meeting. Properly submitted ballots may be counted at a membership or board meeting, but no vote can be taken. And as a matter of fact for most association actions, the election has to be held by a specific process requiring a ballot, at least a 30 day voting period, and secrecy protected by a double envelope system, using inspectors of election. There is a basic Elections Primer available on my website in the webstore at www.californiacondoguru.com.


Any owner may challenge an election improperly held and there are potential fines for ignoring the California HOA elections laws. A challenge can be made in small claims court; however, if you go in unprepared and unable to recite authority, you can expect little, and if you go in ill-advised as to possible results, you may find yourself dragged into Superior Court, a costly place to be.

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2 Responses to HOA Elections – What Can Go Wrong?
  1. Dallas
    January 6, 2014 | 2:40 pm

    These elections often turn into high school style popularity contests, as has been my experience anyway!

    • Beth Grimm
      April 24, 2014 | 5:36 pm

      Definitely can happen. People run for the board for all kinds of reasons, and run away from it for others.