What to Expect from the HOA Election Process
The HOA election process can be tricky business. Believe it or not, HOAs can potentially be classified as corporations, and corporations require a governing bodies and a series of elections to stay legitimate. In California, elections usually happen annually. State law requires that each HOA must adopt a certain set of election rules that are congruent with the following provisions (as outlined in Civil Code Section 5100):
- All board candidates are entitled to equal access to resources during the election process
- The association cannot change, edit, or tamper with any of the candidate’s statements or written materials
- All association members are entitled to attend meetings free of charge and in a reasonable common meeting space.
- All necessary qualifications must be explicitly specified.
- All electoral procedures must be explicitly specified.
- All voting qualifications must be explicitly specified.
- The HOA must have between one to three independent inspectors to monitor the election/voting process.
There a more detailed provisions for each part of the electoral process, but this is the official overview of guidelines that all HOAs must abide by. They seem pretty straightforward, and it’s easy to assume that any HOA would have these provisions already in their bylaws, and many do! But in order for an HOA election to be legitimate, all 8 must be specifically outlined in the bylaws or in the CC&R, otherwise, HOAs could face serious liability issues and the potential for elections to become fully voided.
Now, trusting that your HOA has taken all the necessary steps to ensure its electoral viability, let’s take a look at the standard timeline for California’s HOA election process:
|120-90 Days before Annual Meeting||-All Elections dates are set|
|90-60 Days before Annual Meeting||-All candidate applications due
-Nomination close date set
|60-45 Days before Annual Meeting||-Candidate finalization
-Set date of return ballots
-Set date of voter eligibility
-Select third party inspector
-Being preparing ballots and envelopes
|45-30 Days before Annual Meeting||-Mail notice of meeting
-Set date for Candidate Forum
|5-1 Days before Annual Meeting||-Last date to received mailed ballots if election is held by mail|
|Annual Meeting||-Establish quorum if necessary
-Balloting if voting occurs at meeting
-Third party inspectors tally ballots
-Results announced and posted within 14-15 days
As always, check with your HOA to fully understand the rules and provisions specific to your community. Many HOAs have different rules about quorum calling and other electoral issues that often come up. But this is a good primer to get your started on what to expect the next time your HOA decides to elect new members. Remember, even if these rules seem a bit overwhelming, it’s always good to stay involved with your community, and the first step is to stay informed.