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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Will the state rein in homeowners' association boards?

Elections at the federal and state level are monitored to make sure that everyone eligible to vote has the chance to do so without interference. It would be logical to believe that all elections, no matter how large or small would be the same way, but that may not be the case. As it turns out, the elections for homeowners' association boards often defy this logic, and the California legislature may do something to change that.

Not all of the approximately 55,000 HOAs here in California honor the democratic election process. Instead, current board members may get creative in circumventing the process. They may creatively manipulate the community's rules in order to invalidate votes. In some cases, residents never received ballots or even knew about the election.

Elections are supposed to be governed by the rules and bylaws of the HOA, but that obviously does not always happen. A prospective bill currently in the California State Senate would impose the rules on HOA board elections. Providing information regarding elections to residents will be required. Certain individuals would be barred from holding positions on the board as well. These changes could allow a much needed more democratic process in HOA elections.

In the meantime, community residents who suspect that their homeowners' association boards are being less than transparent about the election process may want to consult with an attorney regarding available legal options. Many homeowners may not be sure what their legal rights are and the limitations of the board. HOAs may have a great deal of power, but it does come with limitations. Understanding where the board's power ends could help avoid becoming a victim of a board overstepping its bounds.

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