Reader Questions – Board Contacts, Discussions, and Elections

board members community managers h o a homefront reader questions Apr 20, 2020


Kelly: Is the HOA required to supply the state a current list of the board members? Is the list available for public view? I am not a member of the HOA.

G.O., Agoura Hills


Dear G.O.:

If you are not a member of the HOA, the only public information available is on the Secretary of State’s website – This site will give you the correct legal name of the corporation (if the HOA is a corporation) and is updated at least every 2 years. It will also provide you the names and contact information for the CEO/President, Secretary and CFO/Treasurer (but often the management company lists its own address for each of the officers).

Thanks for your question, Kelly.


Mr. Richardson,

I read your column each week in the [paper] and have learned many great tips. I have a question about board members talking to each other about issues outside of the meeting sessions.

I prefer to make sure the association is always protected and indemnified with all contracts and work orders. In order to do so, I want to develop an agreement that would protect the association but would like to get input from my other board members. Does the Davis-Stirling act preclude any conversation, or interaction prior to a meeting to develop documents and reviews that would be brought to the open session board meeting for discussion and or approvals?

Thanks, D.G., Orange.


Dear D.G.:

If a quorum of the board is discussing an HOA topic at the same time or in email, it violates the Open Meeting Act. Civil Code 4090 says if a quorum of the board discusses any item pertaining to the HOA, that is a “board meeting.” Civil Code 4910(b)(1) prohibits deliberations via email. Therefore, if you choose to discuss this issue with the board, it must be in open session, unless you are receiving attorney advice in a closed session. Your HOA attorney is the person who can help you all with your contract protections – that is their area of expertise and what they are licensed to do.

Best regards, Kelly


Dear Kelly,

I am on our HOA board. Our homeowners are mostly apathetic to the HOA and never attend meetings.

We have two open board positions out of three seats with only one person applying. Does the HOA still have to mail out costly ballots for our 2020 Annual Meeting when there is only one person running for the two open positions? It seems like a highly unnecessary cost to the HOA to pay for an election/ballots when there is no competition. Can the board simply notify the homeowners that due to lack of candidates no ballots will be sent?

Thank you, C.B., Escondido


Dear C.B.:

Unfortunately, California’s current HOA election laws are a “one size fits all.” There is no exception to the requirement of written secret ballots, no matter how small the HOA, or if the election is uncontested. A new law took effect this year allowing the election to be canceled if the number of applicants matched the open seats, except it only applies to HOAs of 6,000+ members! Our HOA election laws are impractical and need a reasonable legislator to take a look at them.

Best, Kelly

Written by Kelly G. Richardson

Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to [email protected]. Past columns at All rights reserved®.