Dear Mr. Richardson,
We cannot get people to volunteer to be on the board. I have been on the board and told the manager I didn’t want to run. She put my name on the ballot, and said I had to stay on the board until someone took my place. What happens if you don’t have people to serve on the board?
The usual cause for difficulty in finding volunteers is that homeowners are discouraged from volunteering by seeing directors working long hours for the HOA. The less common reason is HOAs in turmoil often have trouble filling seats with brave souls. A provisional director could be appointed by the court if the board cannot attain quorum, but this is very expensive (the director will charge hourly).
You cannot be forced to serve as a director. A director can resign any time, and the board then can in an open meeting vote to fill the vacancy. The manager may be misapplying Corporations Code 7220(b), which says that a director serves until the term expires and a replacement is elected. Corporations Code 7224(c) provides that a director may resign upon giving written notice.
I hope your board investigates the reasons why people are unwilling to serve, and things improve.
We have several candidates running for the board and one candidate is the spouse of an owner of record but she is not on title. Our board president announced in an open meeting that the candidate was not eligible to be a candidate based on the president’s interpretation of the Davis-Stirling Act. Your opinion as to the validity of this claim would be greatly appreciated.
D.W., Garden Grove
The Davis-Stirling Act does not place any eligibility standards on board candidacy. Most bylaws require that a director must be an owner to serve, but some of my clients have bylaws which do not require ownership. So, the answer will not come from the Civil Code but from your association’s bylaws.
Thanks for your question,
Our HOA recently had an election. Just before the election date and annual meeting, the Board called an emergency meeting to cancel the election and annual meeting and dispose of the ballots. They had already received enough ballots to meet a “reduced quorum” requirement. A short time earlier, the Board voted to cancel a recall election after it had been scheduled. How do you suggest the community proceeds to have their voices heard?
J.B., Mission Viejo
I am often called upon to deal with allegedly flawed elections. Sometimes the flaw can be fixed and other times the only correct approach is a “do-over”. The decision to start over should occur in an open meeting, and the board should provide members a written explanation as to why the extraordinary action has been taken. Legal counsel should also be involved, because of the possibility of an election dispute and court petition. If what is really going on is the board is delaying because it is worried it might lose, it may well be guaranteeing that outcome by appearing to rig the process.
Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to Kelly@rodllp.com. Past columns at www.HOAHomefront.com. All rights reserved®.