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Subject: Spouses Serving Together on HOA Board
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BarbaraG15
(Idaho)

Posts:13


01/03/2021 7:26 PM  
I am a resident of an HOA and have served on a committee until the board disbanded the committee to create a committee of their friends. A quick background: There have been many issues with our correct board, all stemming from a lack of transparency and communication which only gets worse. For example, they switched from monthly meetings to quarterly which means minutes of meetings and financials are posted after months. Currently we only have financials up to August and there are no minutes posted for June through September. Meetings have also not always been announced or open to resident members. I realize that Covid presented a new challenge but our last meeting open to membership was in September. Not announced. A resident learned about it a few hours before it began only because she repeatedly asked the prop management company for info. She was able to get the logon info for the online meeting an hour before it happened. We have also had issues with the last prop management company - not responding and not always open to residents viewing financials. We now have a new prop mgmt company. There is more to the story including a board member outing a resident on social media for a police record from 16 years ago. This occurred because the man has been a vocal critic of the board. The Treasurer on the Board resigned citing the stress from working with the neighborhood (but we believe it is other reasons). I assure you this all happened. Our heads are spinning too.

The latest development is that the Board appointed a member to the vacancy left by the Treasurer. He is married to a current board member who has been on the board for a few years. There is nothing in our CCRs or bylaws forbidding this move but certainly many see it as a conflict of interest. I would like your thoughts about this appointment. Since homeowners are allowed only one vote per household in an election it seems to follow that only one person in a household should be allowed on the board. Thank you.

MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:61


01/04/2021 6:00 AM  
Why are there so many Boards that sound like the one in the original posting? What is the long-range purpose of these people? Why do owners have to hire attorneys to challenge Boards that do not want to follow the governing documents and seek power and control through any method that they can get away with. This is what causes a number of people not wanting to buy into a HOA. Hopefully there will be enough owners who will band together and hire an attorney and challenge this Board. The unfortunate part is that the Board will defend itself using HOA dollars, which are your dollars.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3670


01/04/2021 6:02 AM  
Start with your documents - what do they say? Note this is the same answer to your other post on questions for board candidates.

My community also has one vote per unit, so it would follow that having two people from the same household on the board, that would give them two votes, which isn't fair. However, if YOU have a rouge board, that can only be fixed by either voting them out at the next board election or recalling them.

Recalls require a lot of participation from concerned neighbors - You check the documents to see us special homeowner meetings are called, do what it says and maybe pass the hat to hire an attorney If the board tries an end run to hold onto power (similar to what's being attempted in Congress with the election). If you suceed, you'll need new people ready to step up and take over, and You may need to be one of them.

Rouge boards happen when the homeowners who elect thems don't keep them in check, so stopping this is up to You and like-minded neighbors. Put on your walking boots and start knocking on doors to find them. This won't happen overnight and there will be drama - hope you're up to it. Good luck!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17180


01/04/2021 6:03 AM  
Can this be done? Yes.

Most don't like it because of the reasons you posted.
However, there is nothing that prevents it from happening.

You may want to gather support and make sure you vote the people out at the next election.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1484


01/04/2021 6:24 AM  
It's not a conflict of interest. That occurs if a board member has a financial interest in the outcome of a board vote - for example, the board member owns a landscaping company which has put in a bid for the HOA contract.

It may look odd when spouses serve on the board, but if your bylaws (or state laws) don't prohibit it, then it's OK.

Some facts:

It's not unusual for cliques to form in HOAs. In part it's due to the fact that the majority can't be bothered to serve, and so people tend to recruit their friends for open positions.

Dirty secret: serving on the board is a tough and thankless job. No board member wants a colleague who will spend his or her time fighting everything that the board is trying to do. This is true regardless of whether you have a capable board with one troublemaker or you have a bunch of bozos with a lone voice of reason trying to get them to see the light.

Committees serve at the pleasure of the board. Unless a committee is required in the governing docs, the board may disband it. They may remove committee members and replace them with whomever they want. Obviously this can lead to issues, but it doesn't always and it's not illegal.

Boards may also fill a vacancy on the board with whomever they choose. They could limit their search to people with purple hair - stupid but not illegal.

So what happens if you have a clique in charge? It depends on how much of a problem you think this is, and how much time and effort (and possibly money) you're willing to put into changing things. You won't be able to do much on your own unless you live in a state that has an agency that deals with HOA issues - you'll need allies among the other homeowners (see how the cliques begin to form?). You're the only one who can decide whether it's worth tackling this or if you'd be happier moving - you won't be first to decide on the latter.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


01/04/2021 7:15 AM  
Barbara
Our Bylaws prohibit spouses from serving together on the BOD. Not all Bylaws do such. There are many cases of spouses serving together on a BOD. There is no one answer fits all. Read your documents for the answer in your association.
BarbaraG15
(Idaho)

Posts:13


01/04/2021 12:25 PM  
I totally agree. This should not be happening. And yes, the Board has already defending itself using HOA dollars. When neighbors held educational town halls to discuss what an HOA is and issues such as Parking and Barking, the Board didn't like it and sent their lawyer and prop mgmt manager to the meeting. And used HOA funds of course. Board members were always invited to the town halls. There was no need to send a lawyer and others to investigate if there was anything unlawful. And when they use lawyers then they blame the 'troublemakers'! These are bad actors who should not be on a Board.
BarbaraG15
(Idaho)

Posts:13


01/04/2021 12:29 PM  
Agree, it is a thankless job. My husband has served on non profit Boards. We have said repeatedly that we know it's volunteer and thank the Board for their time. I sat in a meeting where three residents in a row, started their question with, Thank you for your time, it is appreciated, we know it's a thankless job and may be difficult, etc etc to have the Board president then say, No one thanks us for what we do. I spoke up and said, the last three residents thanked you! The Board plays the victim too often. They try to disgrace any critics. We need a Board change desperately and hope to make that happen soon. Return to monthly meetings and improve communications and transparency. We have a communication committee that didn't even send out a holiday message. Pretty bad.
BarbaraG15
(Idaho)

Posts:13


01/04/2021 12:30 PM  
Agree, it is a thankless job. My husband has served on non profit Boards. We have said repeatedly that we know it's volunteer and thank the Board for their time. I sat in a meeting where three residents in a row, started their question with, Thank you for your time, it is appreciated, we know it's a thankless job and may be difficult, etc etc to have the Board president then say, No one thanks us for what we do. I spoke up and said, the last three residents thanked you! The Board plays the victim too often. They try to disgrace any critics. We need a Board change desperately and hope to make that happen soon. Return to monthly meetings and improve communications and transparency. We have a communication committee that didn't even send out a holiday message. Pretty bad.
BarbaraG15
(Idaho)

Posts:13


01/04/2021 12:32 PM  
We have nothing in our CCRs or bylaws against spouses serving together. Just as there is nothing saying that they must adhere to monthly meetings or allow residents to sit in on board meetings. They take advantage of everything they can.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


01/04/2021 3:54 PM  
Posted By BarbaraG15 on 01/04/2021 12:30 PM
My husband has served on non profit Boards.
A non-profit, non-HOA/non-condo Board is to a HOA/condo board as apples are to orangutans.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:126


01/05/2021 6:07 AM  
While it doesn't sound like a conflict of interest, the one vote per household rule may be very problematic when it comes voting. Members who do not live together may still be friends and share similar views (which is why I say it's not a conflict of interest per se).

If the community is having trouble with these individuals though, they should work together to vote them out. It won't be a quick process but doing so will ensure the board can focus on the HOA and not the drama.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1484


01/05/2021 7:06 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 01/04/2021 3:54 PM
Posted By BarbaraG15 on 01/04/2021 12:30 PM
My husband has served on non profit Boards.
A non-profit, non-HOA/non-condo Board is to a HOA/condo board as apples are to orangutans.





Ooook.

(*waves to fellow Discworld fans*)
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1484


01/05/2021 7:41 AM  
Posted By MarshallT on 01/05/2021 6:07 AM
While it doesn't sound like a conflict of interest, the one vote per household rule may be very problematic when it comes voting. Members who do not live together may still be friends and share similar views (which is why I say it's not a conflict of interest per se).
...




I believe that the one-vote-per-unit rule only applies to owners voting during the annual election or for things like approving an amendment to the CC&Rs.

Voting on board matters is different, although I agree having spouses serving on the board gives a single unit a disproportionate say in community affairs.

You have to look at whether the person is acting as a homeowner (at the annual meeting) or acting as a director (during a board meeting).

(We had a homeowner who thought that a board member who was running for re-election needed to recuse himself and not vote during the annual meeting because he had a conflict of interest. Nope. He could vote for himself, same as any other homeowner who is running for a seat on the board.)
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


01/05/2021 9:54 AM  
Barbara
The Town Hll Meetings sound like unhappy owners looking to get their issues discussed. You elected the BOD, not let them run the place. If unhappy with then either recall them or vote them out at election times. Stop end running them with the Town Hall crap.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


01/06/2021 6:25 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 01/05/2021 7:06 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 01/04/2021 3:54 PM
Posted By BarbaraG15 on 01/04/2021 12:30 PM
My husband has served on non profit Boards.
A non-profit, non-HOA/non-condo Board is to a HOA/condo board as apples are to orangutans.


Ooook.

(*waves to fellow Discworld fans*)
[shaking head]. Ya right. CathyA3, your posts sound like that of an Orangutan about as much as Einstein's relativity equations sound like Shirley Temple's "Good Ship Lollipop."
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:213


01/10/2021 12:50 PM  
We had something similar in our HOA a few years back. However, the husband was on the board and the wife was on the ARC. She needlessly caused turmoil and drama on the committee (recommending disapproval for run of the mill requests that had been submitted/approved in the past and complaining to her husband when the she was overruled/outvoted). It came to a head when her and her husband submitted a structure request for their lot. The 2 other ARC members disapproved it and she appealed it to the board. We told the husband he could not vote since it dealt with his property. The remaining 4 board members rejected her appeal. That sent her into a full on episode where she took to social media and called us all sorts of vulgar names. That was enough for the board to remove her from her position (as others have stated, committee members serve at the pleasure of the board). She went more on a social media rampage but no one was truly listening to her. At the next annual election, the husband lost his re-election bid. We put in a policy that only one person in a household could hold either a board or committee position. Luckily, we haven't had a similar issue since. In our last annual meeting, we did have one of the ARC members want to run for an open board position. We had to remind her that she had to resign her committee position before joining the board. She won a seat on the board and resigned her committee position.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


01/10/2021 2:21 PM  
In my last HOA we had a Husband and Wife that were undergoing a divorce both show up and want to register as the voter. We asked them to step outside, discuss their issue, and send one back as the voter. They both left. Neither voted.
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