Improperly Posted AgendasDec 27, 2021
By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL
Kelly: Before our monthly board meetings, agendas are provided to each owner the week before the meeting. Occasionally the board schedules a special open meeting. We know that agenda notification for a special open meeting must be provided to the community 4 days prior to the meeting. What is “four days” - does it need to be posted four full 24-hour days? Does the agenda have to be delivered to each owner or is posting on a bulletin board sufficient? Thank you, E.K., Oceanside
Civil Code Sections 4920(a)(d) and 4930(a) require that agendas be posted 4 days prior to the board meeting and prohibit board discussions on items not disclosed (with some exceptions based on urgency). However, the statute does not say that 4 days means 96 hours. So, absent further guidance from the legislature or courts, a notice could be posted less than 96 hours before a meeting, so long as it is four calendar days before the day of the meeting. Board meetings are not required to be individually announced to each member. Per Civil Code Section 4920(c), the announcement is by “general delivery.” General delivery per Civil Code Section 4045 includes (among other methods) posting the announcement in the location announced by the HOA for notices. Starting in 2022, that location may include the HOA’s web site.
Thanks for your question, Kelly
Dear Mr. Richardson: What, if any, significance is there when a board fails to comply with a requirement such as posting an agenda four days prior to a board meeting? Is the only recourse to elect a new board and hope they'll do a better job? B.H., Alhambra
A board not posting agendas cannot do anything in the meeting except deal with emergencies and hold open forum. Civil Code Section 4930(a) is quite clear: “…the board may not discuss or take action on any item… unless the item was placed on the agenda…” A failure to comply with the requirement could open the board to an argument that all of its actions are not proper corporate actions and could be set aside. However, suing is almost always a bad idea because it doesn’t change the board’s refusal to learn how to do things properly. Remember this the next time there is a call for nominations for the board.
Best regards, Kelly
Dear Kelly: I’ve asked our HOA to add a short description (1-2 sentences) for each agenda item on the regular monthly agenda. The response has been, “there is ample time to ask questions when the item comes up for discussion/action”. I want to know ahead of the meeting if there is a topic/agenda item I’m interested in so I can decide if I want to watch (zoom) or attend the meeting. How can homeowners get this type of information on the agenda? Thank you, L.O., Nipomo
The “agenda posting” requirement is designed to help homeowners decide if they wish to attend a given board meeting. Therefore, the posted agenda should contain enough information to disclose the topic of discussion. That might include a few words, such as “review landscaping performance” or “consider painting bids.” It’s not only required by law, but is also a good idea to build community trust in the board.
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