Court Untangles California HOA’s Messy Dispute

October 27, 2016
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A recent HOA ruling is putting voters on a level playing field. A San Diego Superior Court ruling has put things in perspective for a California community association, ruling in favor of the association by confirming that the board’s bylaws and covenants, conditions, restrictions, and reservations must be followed for current and future HOA elections.

The dispute at the center of the case arose because of controversy about the last two elections. In April 2015 the association’s election was deemed invalid when election inspectors wouldn’t certify the election because they determined that election rules that should have been adopted weren’t; a secret ballot double envelope should have been used. The former management company and the previous board members had stated to the membership that there were no election rules leading into the elections. A second election was held several months later because the election wasn’t certified.

According to a group of homeowners, elections should be held in the same manner that was practiced in the past, but a board member argued that community rules were not being followed. The ruling means that the next election must follow the rules set in the governing documents, which don’t allow for certain voting methods, like cumulative voting by owners, that were a source of contention.

The court’s approval of the association’s election rules will prevent one self-serving group of individuals from manipulating the system. A September 2017 election to be held in accordance with the judge’s ruling is scheduled for the fall.