HOA Election Tips

October 25, 2022 | HOA Management

Like many other institutions, an HOA relies on elections to appoint a set of leaders — the HOA board — to run it. The main responsibility of the board is to maintain the HOA, and make sure that the property is taken care of. This is why it is important for members to elect the right people. That being said, a successful HOA election depends on a few key elements.

Make sure your election rules are up to date

In California, associations are required to have election rules. The Civil Code recently passed new laws on how elections are run.

Beginning July 1, 2006, all associations are required to adopt election rules. (Civ Code § 5105(a)). Failure to do so may result in costly legal challenges that could void election results.

Beginning January 1, 2020, significant changes were made to the Davis-Stirling Act related to director elections. The changes require all homeowner association election rules in California be amended. Election rules should contain the following:

  • Nomination procedures,
  • Director candidate qualifications,
  • A method of selecting independent third parties as inspectors of election (note: volunteers are acceptable),
  • Rules for access to association media during campaigns,
  • Rules for access to common area meeting space during campaigns,
  • Secret balloting procedures,
  • Procedures for uncontested elections,
  • Recall election procedures,
  • Retention of election materials
  • Applicable Elections. As provided for in Civil Code § 5100, applicable elections include:
    • Election of directors
    • Removal of directors
    • Special assessments
    • Amendments to the CC&Rs and bylaws
    • Grants of exclusive use common areas
  • Amending Election Rules: Election rules can be amended but associations must follow the rule amendment process required by the Davis-Stirling Act.
  • Election Timeline: Boards must pay attention to the extended election timeline when preparing their annual meeting elections.
    • First step: Send out nomination forms
    • Second step: Send out meeting notice w/ the listed nominees
    • Third step: Send out the ballot

Be familiar with the new HOA election laws for California

Newly enacted this year, Assembly Bill 502 allows HOAs to declare board candidates “elected by acclamation” if the HOA has followed certain requirements and the number of nominees does not exceed the number of open seats. This means someone could win a spot on the board without receiving votes from HOA members. Associations must follow the rules listed below in order to elect candidates by acclamation:

  • A notice must be sent to each person submitting a nomination within seven days of the nomination
  • Nominees must be notified of their eligibility or ineligibility within seven days of the nomination
  • Term limits are added to the list of allowable board eligibility requirements (limits were unintentionally omitted in 2019’s SB 323 HOA election revisions)

Also in effect this year, Senate Bill 432 makes a few adjustments to general HOA election procedures. It revises the Corporations Code, and makes a modification to 2019’s SB 323 regarding recall elections.

Determine who is eligible to vote

Before you send your request for nominees, it’s important to know which members of the community can run for a seat and which members are allowed to vote. Most associations allow for one board member per unit and one vote per unit.

While it may differ from association to association, homeowners are typically the ones who are eligible to serve on the board. Ideally, the candidates should be in compliance with all rules and regulations, have no outstanding debts to the association, and put the interests of the association ahead of any personal agendas.

Keep in compliance with timelines

Knowing when to send out required documents according to each step of the process is crucial to ensure that you won’t have to start over.

Keep documents on file

All documents related to the election, including the outer envelope and the counted ballots, should be kept for anyone who wants to review.

Notify owners of the new Board

After the election is over, the owners should be notified of who the new Board members are.

Contact APS Management

If you’re looking for an experienced HOA management company who understands the HOA Board President election process, Associated Professional Services can help. Take a look at our HOA services or contact us to request an HOA proposal.

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