Relatively new to homeowners in California is the Davis-Stirling Act. This act was passed in 2020 and make homeowner maintenance organizations conduct an election process among its residents. This process gives the homeowners a chance to vote on certain things including how funds are used and who is in charge.
How Does An HOA Board Work?
A homeowners association (HOA) helps maintain a neighborhood and provide cohesion in how the properties in the neighborhood look. If you have ever noticed a well-kept neighborhood with consistency from house to house, there’s a good chance it is managed by an HOA. The residents who live in the community managed by an HOA pay monthly dues to the organization so that they can hire maintenance workers to handle the various jobs needed by the community. These jobs could be mowing lawns, planting flowers, shoveling snow, etc. In California specifically, HOAs employ landscaping businesses to maintain the grounds of a community.
The Issue With HOAs
Because homeowners have to pay into a fund for these maintenance workers, there’s often a question of how the funds are managed. Are they getting the best bang for their buck? Are the maintenance workers the most qualified for the job? Who is actually interviewing these maintenance workers? As you can see, there’s a lot of questions.
For this reason, HOAs hold elections on an annual basis. These elections occur in a large meeting where people can ask questions, determine which services their community needs and who they want to perform these jobs. Additionally, the election process appoints new people to the board of directors (the people managing the community’s money).
Many HOAs have experienced issues with electing new officials. This is most often due to favoritism, nepotism or faulty promises. For instance, a board director may guarantee that something will happen in the community if he/she are elected, they earn the vote and then don’t actually do anything.
The Davis-Stirling Act
Now, due to issues with the election process, the state of California has passed the Davis-Stirling Act to require HOAs to have a 3rd party election process. This is instated to help HOAs avoid common election problems with nepotism or favoritism. It benefits the homeowners in the HOA and makes the entire process fair for everyone involved.
California’s HOA laws have many components, but the most important thing with the Davis-Stirling Act is that HOA boards must hire a 3rd party inspector of elections to oversee the entire process.
What You Need to Do As a Homeowner
Residents of HOAs need to participate in the election process and vote. If you don’t share your voice in the voting process, how can you expect to see change in your community?
What You Need to Do As An HOA
If you operate an HOA in the state, you’ll need to hire an HOA election inspector in California to oversee your elections process. The voting can be done through mail, email or in-person depending on how large the community is. Since this is now law in California, you will need to abide by all components of the law.
Be sure to seek advice from an HOA attorney if you have any additional questions.