HOA Homefront – Issues with Presidents

Q. Rumor has it that our Association President has not paid dues since the start of the pandemic. How do I know if the president is not current? (In our most recent election, the requirement to be in good standing was removed). Is the president protected by COVID laws? Is there any recourse for us to demand that the president pay quickly or face a lien?

MH, Irvine

A. While delinquencies may be indirectly reflected in general financial records that Civil Code Section 5200 states members may inspect, other laws refer to the confidentiality of delinquencies. For example, according to article 5665 of the Civil Code, a delinquent owner can request a meeting with the board of directors to discuss a payment plan, and this meeting must be behind closed doors and the votes to seize the liens are required by article 5705 (c) of the Civil Code. be behind closed doors. Many HOAs try to protect delinquent homeowners from embarrassment, so it’s possible that the HOA will pursue the delinquency. Some by-laws or election rules disqualify candidates or directors for breaches. Presidents should be given no more leniency than any other owner when it comes to ratings. Sincerely, Kelly

Q. Our community has been under a reign of terror because of the leadership of an abusive president. He has been verbally abusive to many women who ask questions in public sessions and basically to anyone who questions his decision-making. Two directors resigned because of his dictatorship, his shouting and his intimidation. What options do we have to reprimand him or remove him from the board?

GR, Sun City

A. In most HOAs, the board chooses the chairman, so the board is also part of the problem to allow such a person to continue to lead. The board can issue a motion of no confidence, which is essentially a reprimand, or can hold a disciplinary hearing against the president if he breaks the rules of conduct for meetings. However, short of a recall vote from members (a very difficult task), members in general have little control over the chairs. I note that you describe abusive behavior apparently directed only at women. This could expose the president to a gender-based harassment complaint, which violates fair housing rules. In your open forum remarks, urge the board to appoint another director as chair – someone who is more respectful of neighbors. Sincerely, Kelly

Q. I have a question regarding the president of the HOA. He has done renovations throughout our condo association and is not licensed as a contractor and is violating our HOA rules. I asked that he leave his position as a member of the board of directors, but he refused. What can be done?

RA, San Diego

A. Hiring HOA members (not to mention a manager) to work for the HOA is a bad idea. It is much more difficult to deal with vendor issues when the vendor is part of the community. However, it appears that your president works for individual owners. If the renovations violate association rules, the president is not immune to those rules and should be held accountable for rule violations or CC&Rs. A director who works for other HOA owners also presents a high risk of conflict of interest.

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is a member of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a partner at Richardson Ober DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for its advice to community associations. Submit your questions to [email protected] Past columns on www.HOAHomefront.com.

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