Frustrated? Stifled? Trying to Get Something on the Agenda of Your HOA?

I commonly receive questions about meeting and committee agendas. Owners want to get something on the agenda for an upcoming meeting. Sometimes the owner is also a board member.

And somehow the item never gets on the agenda, or is rejected. Who is in charge?

The answer is

First, look in the bylaws and CC&Rs to see if there is a procedure for getting items on the agendas.

If not, ask your HOA if there are any policies, written or otherwise.

If not, and you feel that you are running into roadblocks in getting items placed on an agenda you should try a written request asking for what you want, and requesting a written response as to why the item is being rejected and what the process is, who’s in charge, and where the authority comes from.

These are things you need to know before you start a skirmish.

If you are an  owner, you do not have authority to ask to have something put on the agenda for a board meeting. You might be able to get some action put on the membership meeting agenda if the board is amenable. If not, you will probably have a problem and need another strategy for seeking what you want.  You can always ask for what you want of course, but the processes in place may have a way of dealing with it without involving the full board, such as a maintenance item where someone like a manager or individual board member has been given some authority to arrange for certain repairs.

If you are a board member, it seems you ought to be able to get items on the agenda if they are “review-worthy”. But it’s not always the case. Sometimes there is a good reason for not putting something on the agenda that only one or fewer than the majority of board members want to discuss.

In some Associations a manager  puts the agenda together and the items for discussion come out of board meetings (such as deferred business) and requests by board members. The manager by his or her actions may seem to be exerting control, but generally any “control” is more likely coming from the president of the Association, who might by policies be in charge of the agenda,  or as  sometimes happens, another board member who believes for some reason they have unfettered authority to accept or reject agenda items.

If attempts to get reasonable action items before the board fail, legal advice is probably needed, perhaps a letter from an attorney if warranted. Sometimes you might have to hear that the only way to get the board to consider action on any item is to run for the board and become part of the decision making group.

 

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2 Responses to Frustrated? Stifled? Trying to Get Something on the Agenda of Your HOA?
  1. Riley Jones
    August 23, 2014 | 10:44 am

    I am a renter who lives in an upscale gated complex in Orange County, CA. My girlfriend has had the misfortune of twice letting people into the building who decided to later urinate in the complex and they were caught on camera (they had been drinking). The HOA first fined us $250 for the first infraction and the second time it happened fined us $750. Could you define the legality of this HOA action of fining us for simply letting someone into the building who breaks the community rules? They fined the landlord of course but he passed that charge on to us. I’m just wondering if we have any recourse other than submitting to the seemingly arbitrary fines. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Beth Grimm
      September 4, 2014 | 5:26 am

      There are legal requirements to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard before fining. And owners are entitled to receive a copy of the association’s fining schedule before being fined, so they know what to expect. Fining is one way of providing deterrent to unsavory conduct – and I would think that a deterrent is important here to prevent future negligent conduct in allowing people into the complex that have been drinking and are capable of doing disgusting things. If two fines totaling $1000 won’t provide adequate deterrent, what will? The way you couch this, “My girlfriend has had the misfortune …. ” It sounds more like she may be a poor judge of character or lacking good sense as opposed to having the same misfortune twice.

      You may be able to find a legal loophole to the fines, but not here.