A bill to curb abuses in California’s more than 55,000 homeowner associations (HOA) by adding requirements that will lead to fairer elections was approved today by the Assembly Judiciary Committee. SB 1265, authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) now heads to the Assembly floor. It has already been approved by the state Senate.
“When people cast a vote in a presidential, state, city or homeowner association election, they expect fairness and integrity in the electoral process,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Unfortunately, a number of HOA boards have used their rules and by-laws to keep their control and power over the association to the exclusion of other residents. SB 1265 adds reasonable requirements that will lead to more transparency and make sure homeowners’ rights will not be infringed upon.”
Some boards have fined and disqualified HOA residents from running for a board seat, failed to properly notice an election, thrown out valid ballots and failed to deliver ballots.
SB 1265 places limits on the unchecked authority of homeowner associations to impose “qualifications” on HOA candidates. It also requires that the meeting where ballots are counted be accessible to all members and their representatives. The meeting must also take place on the common area of the association’s property or within reasonable distance from the property.
The bill also contains several notice requirements to ensure residents have reasonable time to become aware of the candidates and the voting procedures.
People or businesses currently employed or under contract with the HOA for other services would be prohibited from serving as the inspector of elections.
Marjorie Murray, President of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law, applauded the committee’s approval of SB 1265.
SB 1265 is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the California Alliance for Retired Americans and a number of other organizations across California.