HOAs are structured as democracies. Every so often, the goals and priorities of the members of the community change in such a way that certain parts of the of the CC&R need to change to better fit the community. The general rule of thumb for a CC&R and its amendments, is that if it’s over 15 years old, then it probably needs to be amended to some degree. Of course, it is up to your neighbors and the board to decide what is best for your CC&R, but here’s how to change it if need be:
For amending, three requisites must be met before an amendment can take effect. First, the majority is reached by the voting homeowners has been acquired, second, written certification by an officer or member of the board is obtained, and third, the amendment is recorded and approved. In California, the usual majority necessary for the amendment of the CC&R is about 67% of the votes – also known as a “super majority”, but it ultimately comes down to the provisions in your HOA’s charter.
Of course, with any form of government, there are issues. For an HOA, some of those include the lack of a proper quorum or attendance. In the event that there is a difficulty in obtaining the necessary number of ballots to amend the CC&R, there are provisions for which the board can engage enough of the homeowners in the community to amend it. Some of those include extending the balloting period due to homeowner apathy. Another is via direct mail; if it is unfeasible to gather enough homeowners to a single meeting, then the board may administer the ballot by mail and then count the votes at an open meeting. Finally, if either these or other provisions fail, the board can seek court approval to finalize an amendment. For California, 6 requisites must be met for the court to grant the petition. They are:
1. The membership was given at least 15 days written notice of the court hearing.
2. Balloting on the proposed amendment was conducted in accordance with the governing documents.
3. A reasonably diligent effort was made to permit all eligible members to vote on the proposed amendment.
4. More than 50% of the membership voted in favor of the amendment.
5. The amendment is reasonable.
6. Granting the petition is not improper for any reason stated in subdivision (e) of the statute.
Very rarely does this happen, but it is important to understand that it is a possibility for your HOA to seek the authority of an outside legal entity. No matter what, the expectations and customs for each HOA are always changing, and there comes a time when certain amendments need to change with them. As a voting member, it’s important to understand the process of how your rights and expectations change as you covenant does.