Readers ask if board elections and votes for loan are fair? – Orange County Register

Q: I own units in many different HOAs, including one in Huntington Beach. The HOA board has recently promulgated new rules regarding qualifications required for being elected to the board, and only owners who live on-site in the development are allowed to be elected. I believe I have been disenfranchised of my rights as a member of the HOA. I am allowed to vote and required to pay dues and special assessments, but I am prohibited from running for the board! Kelly, what sayeth thou? Can an HOA Board invent new rules NOT found in any CC&R or other corporation or recorded documents? — J.B., Huntington Beach

A: Yes, association boards may adopt election rules imposing additional board candidate eligibility requirements, if the requirements are reasonable and nondiscriminatory and do not conflict with the bylaws or CC&Rs. The 2013 case of Friars Village v. Hansing concluded with the appellate court finding in favor of the HOA and announcing this rule.

Some communities contend that only homeowners living at the property can truly appreciate its needs and problems (this is subject to argument), and so they amend bylaws or rules to require residency as a condition of eligibility for the board.

To adopt more permanent eligibility standards, the best way is to seek a membership vote to amend the association bylaws. Association rules can be amended by the board on 30 days’ notice, so they are less permanent than something which requires approval of the entire membership.

If the board passes a rule that is strongly opposed by the membership, under Civil Code 4365, 5 percent of the members can, within 30 days of announcement of the rule change, petition to overturn it. Following receipt of a timely and valid petition, the association must hold a membership vote, and if a majority of a quorum of members vote to overturn the change, the rule is overturned.

Q: Our HOA seeks membership approval for a large loan to maintain and improve the condo property. Ballots were sent…

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