There are benefits that come from living in a community governed by a homeowner’s association (HOA). You have an intermediary to help if there’s a conflict with a neighbor, as you can report noise violations and problem pets to the HOA. You know that there are others actively looking out to protect your property value and to maintain the overall character of the community.
However, the downside of living in an HOA community is that everything you do with your property is subject to HOA regulations and rule enforcement efforts. The HOA board may enforce rules aggressively so that it does not lose the authority to take action in the future. It may also change the rules in ways that you and other homeowners find questionable.
You should have the opportunity to give feedback about HOA practices and rules when the board meets. What can you do if the HOA board tries to keep you from giving input by holding closed meetings?
HOA meetings should be accessible to all
California has clear rules about HOA meetings. Specifically, the HOA needs to let the community know ahead of time when the meeting will take place and allow all community members an opportunity to attend the meeting. They should be able to speak at the meeting regarding their concerns or to give feedback about decisions or changes proposed by the HOA board.
When the board meets without giving notice to the community or providing an opportunity for residents to contribute to the meeting, they may have violated state law.
How do you respond to a closed meeting?
If your HOA board holds a covert or closed meeting that the community cannot attend, you can take action. Documenting these meetings and your attempts to attend them will help you develop your case. Showing the practical impact of the decisions made could also help, especially if you need to go to civil court to resolve the matter.
In some cases, you may be able to remove board members who violated the law by holding closed meetings. In other scenarios, you may be able to reverse HOA board decisions made without community input.
Understanding the real estate laws that govern HOA communities will help those living in an HOA to better protect themselves.