Reader Questions - Pools, Conflicts of Interest

board members c c & rs h o a homefront reader questions Jul 07, 2014

Dear Mr. Richardson,

We have one director who wants to wash their hair after exiting the pool at the outdoor poolside shower. The outdoor shower was intended for rinsing before entering the pool. This director is even trying to have the pool rules changed for their own benefit. We have indoor showers nearby so there is no need to bath outside. Are there are any rules governing board members using their position to enhance their own personal agenda? Thank you for all the informative and helpful articles.


W.P., San Jacinto

Dear W.P.,

Rules must apply to all members, including directors. Directors may advocate a change in the rules, as is any other member. This person probably should not discuss or vote upon this subject, since it pertains to the director’s behavior, and should respect the rule unless and until it is changed. Directors who regard themselves as not bound by the rules should not be directors.

Thanks for your question,

Dear Kelly,

The Board was asked to expand the pool hours. A director who is a real estate agent (not an appraiser) said we could not because it will decrease the value of the homes next to the pool and she could not sell them. (She had the listings for them). Appraisers told me it was not true. The other Board members had no problems with the request. One person did swim and received a violation notice and threat from the same board member, who is trying to catch them in the pool so she can fine them for violating the rules.

Let me know what you think,

B.S., Santa Ana

Dear B.S.,

The board decides the rules and enforces them, not one director who has an admitted personal conflict. Since the director has a conflict of interest, the director should not participate in that discussion. A single director has no power to impose a fine – that takes a board vote after a hearing. As for the director, tell her to back off her individual enforcement efforts – it’s not HER association, it is all of yours. Finally, any problems which result from expanded pool use can be regulated to protect the adjacent residents.


Dear Mr. Richardson,

I have a next door neighbor who runs his pool pump and extra motor all night, hard to sleep. My association which I am a board member of, has sent letters to stop running pool pump and extra motor late at night. Is there something else the association can do to stop this?

H.A., Winchester

Dear H.A.,

Your association governing documents probably contain a general prohibition against being a nuisance to other homeowners. Excessive and unreasonable noise is one example of a common nuisance. Although you are a director, in this subject you should be regarded as a homeowner, not a director, since you have a conflict of interest as the complaining party. The board may schedule a disciplinary hearing and consider imposing a fine or other discipline, as a means of getting the member’s attention. During the hearing, you should be treated as any other homeowner, which means you should not participate in the hearing – state your complaint, ask the minutes reflect you have left the meeting, and then leave the meeting. Trust the board to do the right thing.

Good luck,

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®.