What Does It Take To Recall A Board Member of an HOA or Condo?

What Does It Take To Recall A Board Member of an HOA or Condo?

Is a board member acting irrationally, causing losses, harassing employees, contractors or members? Are any board members spending association funds without authorization?

Recalling one board member is harder than recalling all board members if the HOA or Condo has cumulative voting authorized by its bylaws. Some people get the wrong idea by reading the bylaws and seeing that Board action or membership action requires only a majority of a quorum  for approval.

Recall is different. It is driven by statutes in California, in the Corporations Code. If you are an unincorporated association then check the documents, but corporations which most HOAs and Condo association are would be governed by Corporations Code Section 7222. I have copied it below into this blog. Do not forget to look at (b((1). The formula is complicated but say there are 5 board members and you are trying to recall one. It is very hard, nearly impossible because a minority candidate can be elected by a minority of owners cumulating their votes and putting them all on one candidate. To get a board  member off the board the number of no votes needed is only be 1 more vote than it takes to get a minority candidate elected. Since failure to vote constitutes a “no” vote, i.e., against recall, and since HOA and Condo owners are notoriously apathetic, it is next to impossible to garner enough favor among the members to recall a board member. You could be looking at needing more than 80% to vote in favor for a successful recall (not likely to occur in most scenarios).

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 Most assocition members have no idea who or what is on the board or what they are doing anyway which in many cases leadsw to failure to return the ballot. Even worse, if the election gets hot and heavy and the sides bombard the owners with negative press or letters, many owners hibernate or lash back with anger at the board and the owners who want to recall them – sending the message – “keep your dirty laundry to yourselves”.  Back in the day when a vote could be taken at a meeting, I have seen 5 brand new candidates step up and nominate themselves from the audience for a post recall election and get elected because everyone dragged out of their homes in disgust shunned the old board and the recall committee members. It’s not likely to happen today because of the complicated election rules and lack of sophistication in using them for any election, let alone a recall election, but owners still can get really angry and take it out on someone.

It is always better to try and get support for good leadership at election time, to get a sympathetic candidate election and in time improve the board. And if a board member is misbehaving, there are a number of things the majority of the board can do to “neutralize” him/her/them. Almost any course of action is better than recall as it completely disrupts the community. Think of the one situation where an HOA board spend thousands of the HOA budget dollars defending a recall effort with the help of the HOA attorney, only to resign en masse the day after the recall election. Talk about idocy! It’s a true story! Egos often trump good sense when a board gets a whiff of a festering recall effort.

If you want to know more about recalling a board member or the whole board, there is a Guide (Recall Guide) available on my website at www.condolawguru.com (in the webstore) that explains the whole ball of wax.  You can spend hundreds, maybe thousands getting an opinion from an attorney, or you can educate yourself for $50 – before you get in over your head. Besides the fact that the recall statutes are complicated – the California elections laws for HOAs and Condos really muck up the works! My “Guide” explains the ins and outs, and the whats, hows and whens of mounting a recall effort – or defending one. I did it for you!

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Smoking in Units Okay … Or Not?
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What Do I Do When I am Really Mad at My HOA?

What Do I Do When I am Really Mad at My HOA?

I get many inquiries each week from people that are really mad at their HOA or Condo Boards. It might be about assessments, madcap spending, meanness or rudeness, unreasonable behavior, playing favories, directors doing things owners are not allowed to do (like breaking the rules). What  can an owner do?

1. Read up on things, go to seminars, and get educated. Visit my resource page for groups that offer seminars, and/or visit my webstore to check out the more than 35 publications and 3 great books available at very low cost. (Although as of today the credit card ordering is not working right so send an email if you want to order something and don’t want to use paypal, or send in a check an specify the items you want emailed or mailed.) You can “surf” the web for information, but consider the source. Check out resources at www.caionline.org – they have a publications store too, but careful, because few of their pubs are California oriented.

2. Get a consultation. Check out the parameters on the consultation page of my website. I do not know of any other California attorney that knows HOA law inside and out that will provide a cost effective telephone consultation to owners. The well versed attorneys for the most part will only represent and counsel association boards.

What not to do!

Do not act rashly. The squeaky wheel may get the grease in some instances but here, you will just be declared by the board a “disgruntled owner”.

Do not get abusive with anyone. People respond in like behavior.

Do not respond by breaking more rules or withholding assessments. This just gets you into more hot water and more frustration.

Do not raise a rucus. This just turns people against you and makes it harder to get allies when you need them.

What Do I Do When I am Really Mad at My HOA?

Do not threaten a lawsuit (unless you know you are right on your position and it is supported by law, you are prepated to push the board to meet in secret or hire an attorney, and you have the oveerall ultimate goal of selling your unit).

What I do is speak with owners and help them get their arms around the problems – and I equip owners with a pragmatic plan geared to resolve their problems and angst with the association. Solutions range from understanding how to approach the board, knowing what “buttons” to push and when, understanding any applicable law in your favor, or even how best to execute a reasonable and clean “exit” strategy.

Do not strike out blindly before you give yourself a chance to get some help from someone who knows the law, knows what kind of things happen, and knows how to solve problems and find solutions. I don’t like to “toot my own horm” but judging from real feedback from owner clients, many of whom have wasted a lot of money on non-HOA attorney legal advice, you will be glad you made the investment – which is small compared to the risk exposure of going blindly forward without knowing what you are doing.

Other articles:
What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online
How to Store Wills Online Safely
What Does It Take To Recall A Board Member of an HOA or Condo?