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Subject: The truth about my HOA 2021 elections
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ClareL
(California)

Posts:25


02/05/2021 2:47 PM  
(Disclosure: Everything I say in my post is my personal opinion)

Background: I purchased a condo (with my sisters) in 2001 when I was 19 years old. The realtor told me that the HOA/HOA monthly assessment fee pays for landscape, water, garbage, and general maintenance of the common property areas. I was young, excited, had no clue about HOA’s so I just rolled with it. I admit…I barely glanced at the CC&R’s.

I enjoyed living in the condo off and on for close to 20 years. But in fairly recent years, I saw things changing. Some of our member privileges were taken away to accommodate HOA employees. Rules, regulations, and polices kept or enacted burdening members while reducing work for HOA employees. Increases in our HOA fees while HOA employees receiving outrageous pay raises & bonuses, free meals, flowers, birthday cards, etc. Certain office staff leaving early than their scheduled time. Refusal to present job descriptions for employees nor their salaries or contracts. Long standing board members receiving special treatment. Over the years and before our eyes, it become an impenetrable clique. Certain office staff and certain board members.

In 2018, I decided to speak up and I started asking questions. The HOA cut me off from getting answers. And that is when I began to be treated unfairly by the HOA.

I became an instant target by certain board members who controlled the HOA. The HOA has gone through great lengths to keep me quiet. The HOA lawyer pounced on me with letter after letter threatening legal action if I didn’t stop my actions (cease and assist). No one in the HOA office was allowed to talk to me anymore. Everything had to go through the HOA lawyer, even if I wanted to get a copy of the CC&R’s. In board meetings, I was repeated referred to as that resident who costs the HOA unbudgeted attorney fees to the tune of 32k. In one specific board meeting, the GM even mentioned my name and the building I lived in. The treasurer did not stop there and placed similar comments in the newsletter as well.

At this point, you may be thinking, if she is complaining so much, she should run for the board.

I tried this year…but the board unjustly disqualified me. I had already been prepared for the disqualification to happen because the three specific board members who control the board are running for election this year and I knew neither one of them wanted to lose their position to me.

To prevent such questionable disqualifications in HOA elections, California enacted a new election law SB 323 in January of 2020. And in my personal opinion, my HOA violated certain civil codes in the effort to disqualify me so the long standing three board members would remain in control of the board.

My HOA timeline for elections this year:
December 11: Nominations close
December 19: I receive the disqualification letter in the mail. Letter is dated 12/16.
December 21: Members receive both the candidate list and ballots. Letter is dates 12/19.

CA Civil Codes that were not followed:

5105. (7The association shall permit members to verify the accuracy of their individual information on both lists at least 30 days before the ballots are distributed. The association or member shall report any errors or omissions to either list to the inspector or inspectors who shall make the corrections within two business days.

(e) An association shall not disqualify a person from nomination if the person has not been provided the opportunity to engage in internal dispute resolution pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 5900) of Chapter 10.

5115. (b) An association shall provide general notice of all of the following at least 30 days before the ballots are distributed:
(3) The list of all candidates’ names that will appear on the ballot.

On January 26, I had an IDR with HOA regarding the election violations. Two of the board members who are running for the election came (they control the board) along with one other board member and HOA attorney. Since they did not follow the correct timeline established by law, my request was to give members proper notice of all candidates including me and reprint ballots with my name on it.

The two board members who are running for the election voted no and told me to run next year, coincidently when they are not running. I asked for ADR and they said it would not make a difference. They will use HOA funds to pay for the costly HOA lawyer to resolve this matter in court instead of reprinting ballots. Even though the board has complained about spending 32K to fight me.

Also, during this IDR, the HOA stated that the “action” to disqualify me took place in email exchanges by board members between Dec. 11 and Dec. 16. This action was not voted on in a special meeting, emergency meeting, or regular board meeting. Members did not receive general notice regarding this action item either. This is against CA Civil Code 4910.

4910. (a) The board shall not take action on any item of business outside of a board meeting.
(b) (1) Notwithstanding Section 7211 of the Corporations Code, the board shall not conduct a meeting via a series of electronic transmissions, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, except as specified in paragraph (2).
(2) Electronic transmissions may be used as a method of conducting an emergency board meeting if all directors, individually or collectively, consent in writing to that action, and if the written consent or consents are filed with the minutes of the board meeting. These written consents may be transmitted electronically.

Conclusion: I strongly believe in democracy and I have come to the fork in the road. Let these questionable actions continue by certain HOA board members or go to court to make things right? Either way is costly.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10607


02/05/2021 3:00 PM  
Clare

Simply stated, on what grounds did the BOD disqualify you?
JohnC77
(California)

Posts:560


02/05/2021 3:02 PM  
If you email me offline, I can help point you in the right direction. My email address is [email protected]
ClareL
(California)

Posts:25


02/05/2021 4:51 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/05/2021 3:00 PM
Clare

Simply stated, on what grounds did the BOD disqualify you?




Another new SB 323 law is 5100(3) An association may (keyword is MAY) disqualify a nominee if that person has been a member of the association for less than one year.

I purchased the home in 2001 with my sisters. During a refinance in 2008, my name was taken off the deed by mistake. We finally had it corrected in 2020 and submitted the corrected deed to the HOA.

The HOA has our original deed on file but the “certain staff and board members” used the corrected deed date of 2020 to manipulate the rest of the board to believing I am a brand new owner who has never lived on the property for 20 years and that I was “required” by law to be disqualified.

The main ring leader is my next door neighbor. Our doors are 3 feet across from each other in corner units wrhere it is just me and her. We have seen each other for years almost every other day.
AugustinD


Posts:0


02/05/2021 5:12 PM  
Posted By ClareL on 02/05/2021 2:47 PM
I have come to the fork in the road. Let these questionable actions continue by certain HOA board members or go to court to make things right? Either way is costly.
-- Please answer JohnC46's question.

-- Your Board reminds me of another Board I know personally, particularly with the defamatory statements the board publishes about you. With owner apathy being the rule, it is very hard to unseat such a board.

-- Regarding the fork in the road: You are astute. Battling a corrupt Board, where there is no movement afoot to replace the directors, will take an intense effort of campaigning and probably a court order. Just the lawsuit alone will take a year or more. Though Davis-Stirling.com might indicate a shorter path in the courts for election problems, or so I think I recall.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4276


02/06/2021 9:51 AM  
Posted By ClareL on 02/05/2021 2:47 PM
... The HOA lawyer pounced on me with letter after letter threatening legal action if I didn’t stop my actions (cease and assist).

Cease & desist what? Please get to the point. At this point it's already too long.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10607


02/06/2021 9:55 AM  
Posted By ClareL on 02/05/2021 4:51 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/05/2021 3:00 PM
Clare

Simply stated, on what grounds did the BOD disqualify you?




Another new SB 323 law is 5100(3) An association may (keyword is MAY) disqualify a nominee if that person has been a member of the association for less than one year.

I purchased the home in 2001 with my sisters. During a refinance in 2008, my name was taken off the deed by mistake. We finally had it corrected in 2020 and submitted the corrected deed to the HOA.

The HOA has our original deed on file but the “certain staff and board members” used the corrected deed date of 2020 to manipulate the rest of the board to believing I am a brand new owner who has never lived on the property for 20 years and that I was “required” by law to be disqualified.

The main ring leader is my next door neighbor. Our doors are 3 feet across from each other in corner units wrhere it is just me and her. We have seen each other for years almost every other day.



So you have not been a member of the association for one year is correct. Does not matter about before. Only now matters. They got you fair and square even if you do not think so.
JohnC77
(California)

Posts:560


02/06/2021 10:42 AM  
So the OP stated they bought their unit in 2001, so this year they will be an owner/member for 20 years. Because one refinances their home doesn't make them a non-owner. There was a screwup when the title company refiled the deed and the board took advantage, wrongly I might add.

In their opening statement they stated in 2018 they decided to speak up, so the board knew full well they were an owner. The OP also stated that the board has spent $32K fighting them. With an annual budget of around $7M, that's chicken feed. Unless you have $200K to use, they won't when in court.

My suggestion was to gather a slate of candidate and run them over two election cycles using a positive, not negative campaign. Not what the board has done, but all the things that can be done!

ClareL
(California)

Posts:25


02/06/2021 7:22 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 02/06/2021 9:51 AM
Posted By ClareL on 02/05/2021 2:47 PM
... The HOA lawyer pounced on me with letter after letter threatening legal action if I didn’t stop my actions (cease and assist).

Cease & desist what? Please get to the point. At this point it's already too long.





Agreed, two years too long dealing with a questionable board. I received five cease and assists.

1. I made comments about the GM ignoring my IDR request with the board and access to the membership list for two months on our Nextdoor app. I thought I was just speaking to my neighbors on a private forum but She had an unauthorized account and saw my post. Next day, received a letter to cease and assist speaking negatively of the GM on Nextdoor, the HOA will sue if I don’t delete the comments about her and seek damages for ruining her reputation.

2. For apparently “highjacking” the HOA’s Facebook page and demanding I give it back to them.

3. Cease from communicating with my neighbor involving a water damage issue.

4. Cease from speaking to the inspector of election regarding the HOA failing to give proper notice of election candidates (even though CA law states I have to notify the inspector of elections of the errors)

5. Cease and assist from speaking to any vendors, (property management accounting , security, etc.) for I may damage HOA reputation.

Once the HOA got the bill for 32K from the HOA attorney, they stopped and were being good...lasted until the election unfortunately.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3792


02/06/2021 8:56 PM  
Clare,

Does everyone have it out for you?
ClareL
(California)

Posts:25


02/07/2021 6:25 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 02/06/2021 8:56 PM
Clare,

Does everyone have it out for you?




No, I wouldn’t say they have it out for me although I am being monitored as to not start an uprising. Our HOA is very very old school especially for living in such a expensive high tech area. The GM and the Directors who monopolize the board are all 75 or over. I feel they are very afraid of change and letting go of power they held for so long.

Going automated and paperless would save the HOA so much money but would mean either less pay and/or jobs they held for so long. That’s why they don’t want me talking to anyone about advancement.


AlbertE
(Maryland)

Posts:13


02/15/2021 5:14 PM  
Posted By ClareL on 02/06/2021 7:22 PM
Posted By GenoS on 02/06/2021 9:51 AM
Posted By ClareL on 02/05/2021 2:47 PM
... The HOA lawyer pounced on me with letter after letter threatening legal action if I didn’t stop my actions (cease and assist).

Cease & desist what? Please get to the point. At this point it's already too long.





Agreed, two years too long dealing with a questionable board. I received five cease and assists.

1. I made comments about the GM ignoring my IDR request with the board and access to the membership list for two months on our Nextdoor app. I thought I was just speaking to my neighbors on a private forum but She had an unauthorized account and saw my post. Next day, received a letter to cease and assist speaking negatively of the GM on Nextdoor, the HOA will sue if I don’t delete the comments about her and seek damages for ruining her reputation.





Nextdoor is a private not public social network and I'm sure fake accounts are not allowed.
MikeM48
(California)

Posts:4


02/19/2021 12:57 PM  
SB 323 was championed by CA State Senator Bob Wieckowski. He is a childhood friend of a neighbor in my building and we are about 0.5 miles from his office.

I had an election issue in 2019 just weeks before SB-323 was signed into law for 1.1.2020 forward.

I have met the Senator and corresponded with his office is Sac.

I have my own experiences to share as a Board member and homeowner in the SF Bay area.

Our Board prez is also a vendor to the HOA. She has 1-3 businesses that provide services to other HOA's. And some of those HOA's are serviced by the management vendor our HOA currently uses.

If you are looking to compare notes, etc, please feel free to send me an e-mail at [email protected]

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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > The truth about my HOA 2021 elections



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