Combined Units
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VOTING RIGHTS FOR COMBINED UNITS

QUESTION: I own two condos in my building (two separate titles; two separate mortgages, etc.). With board approval, I combined the two units. The president claims I only have one vote now that the units are combined. Is that true?

ANSWER: No, it's not true. For living purposes you occupy a single unit but for all other purposes they remain two units. As you pointed out, you have two titles and two mortgages. In addition, your (i) association's condominium plan continues to show two units, (ii) CC&Rs include both in the total units for the development, and (iii) board continues to levy regular and special assessments on both.

Multiple Memberships. The Corporations Code provides that no person may hold more than one membership. However, a specific exception is made for associations so owners of more than one lot or unit can hold multiple memberships. (Corp. Code §7312.) With membership attaches voting rights.

Voting Rights. "Except as provided in a corporation’s articles or bylaws or Section 7615 [cumulative voting], each member shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote of the members." (Corp. Code §7610.) While the language is permissive, it appears to be aimed at allowing cumulative voting rather than eliminating voting rights. This is supported by another Code provision.

No Removal of Voting Rights
. Section 7813 of the Corporations Code states that documents cannot be amended to adversely affect the voting rights of a class without their permission nor can a new class be created without their permission. Removing the voting rights of members who own multiple units would create a new class of members. Doing so would require their permission.

That means you have two votes--one for each unit. If your board wants to eliminate one of your votes, it must first go through the costly process of amending your CC&Rs and Condo Plan (via attorneys, civil engineers, member approval, mortgagee approval, County approval and court approval) to eliminate one unit from the records.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC