HOA Homefront is a syndicated weekly column that educates the public on issues pertaining to California residents living in common interest developments, their boards of directors, and community association managers. HOA Homefront is published in over a dozen Southern California newspapers.
Before the pandemic changed our world in early 2020, who knew about WebEx, Zoom, or RingCentral, or the many other virtual meeting platforms used since that time to allow HOA members to “attend” board or even membership meetings? Since that time, HOAs large and small have found the virtual meeting to be the way to comply with County or State health orders while still complying with most of the Open Meeting Act.
When a corporation acts, its minutes document and prove that it acted. If the minutes do not record that the board of directors by majority vote approved a decision, it did not happen.
Perhaps the most frequently abused HOA governance tool is the closed session. Boards justify overuse of closed sessions for various reasons, such as that their open meetings are too raucous and closed sessions are more productive. However, the Open Meeting Act (part of the Davis-Stirling Act) requires all board deliberations to be in open meetings with members able to listen except for the short list of topics listed in Civil Code Section 4935.
When will it be legal for HOA boards to handle any business they want in closed sessions?
Our board has had several closed meetings to discuss revisions to our governing documents. An attorney has been present at each of these meetings. Is this not in conflict with the Open Meeting Act since it is not discussing litigation?
Closed session is a common point of contention in HOAs. This week begins a multipart series of reader questions on this important and often misunderstood HOA governance issue.