Reader Questions – Are Term Limits Illegal, and Who Advocates for HOAs?Sep 13, 2021
By: Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL
Dear Mr. Richardson: With the new election law (effective 1/1/20) removing term limits for board members, does this mean the HOA no longer has to hold annual elections or send out candidate request forms? My association has not held an election in 2 years, no candidate forms are sent out. The current board selects who want to serve. We have term limits in our CCRS. B.B., Aliso Viejo.
I saw your recent article posted from the newspaper regarding the status of the legislation to restore to the law that a term limit in governing documents acted as a disqualification for election to a seat on an association board. I did see that the Senator who brought 20119’s SB 323 (Wieckowsk) had a bill to correct the deletion from SB323. I have been unable to find it or to determine its status. J.C., Indian Wells.
Dear B.B. and J.C.:
The major revamping of HOA election laws from 2019’s Senate Bill 323 created a number of problems. One is that it listed only five possible eligibility factors, and term limits was not included in that list. This means that at present, HOAs cannot use term limits as a disqualifier for candidates who have already served the maximum consecutive terms allowed under their governing documents. However, HOAs still must annually seek candidates and hold annual elections.
Senator Wieckowski apparently recognized that one of many unanticipated consequences of his enacted bill was that it abolished HOA term limits and this year authored Senate Bill 432, which would add term limits as a sixth possible eligibility factor. That bill passed the Senate in May and appears poised to pass the Assembly quite soon. This would restore the legality of term limits in governing documents in 2022, assuming the Governor signs the bill into law.
To check the status of any bill, or to read the Davis-Stirling Act, use www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, the Legislature’s official web site.
Best regards, Kelly
I am the Treasurer on a five-member HOA Board. As you can imagine we are heavily impacted, both financially and administratively, because of the existing state rules. We agree, as your recent article references, that it would be great if we can get changes made for the "small HOAs" like ours. So, are there any advocates, organizations, committees, etc. that you can recommend to us to join so we can join forces to hopefully aid in making these changes. A.S., San Diego.
There are several groups which advocate for California’s over 50,000 HOAs. The largest is the Community Associations Institute (“CAI”), an international organization devoted to better HOA governance and management, which educates homeowners and credentials managers and has eight chapters in California. Those eight Chapters have an organization called the California Legislative Action Committee (“CLAC”) that advocates for California HOAs. Visit them at www.caiclac.com. Another organization, called the Executive Council of Homeowners (“ECHO”) is a California-based organization serving California HOAs. Visit them at www.ca-echo.org. Another organization consisting of California managers, the California Association of Community Managers (“CACM”), advocates for California HOA managers, but only managers can be members.
The legislators need to hear from you because they typically don’t have experience with HOAs or understand their needs. Let them know!