An association's bylaws can establish qualifications for serving on the board of directors. (Corp. Code §7151(c)(3).) Original documents prepared by the developer often do not require any qualifications for serving on the board. This allows the developer to appoint non-owners to the board until such time as homeowners assume control. This means anyone, including tenants and delinquent owners, can serve on the board.
Reasonable Qualifications. Associations may amend their bylaws to establish reasonable qualifications for directors. Reasonableness is determined by whether the requirement is rationally related to the protection, preservation or proper operation of the association. (Laguna Royale v. Darger.) After homeowners assume control of their association, they frequently amend their documents to require director qualifications. Some of the more common qualifications include:
For a full list of director qualifications, see "Nominations" in the Election Menu.
Qualifications Via Rule Change. Even though the bylaws may be silent on director qualifications, the court of appeal in Friars Village v. Hansing ruled that boards can adopt director qualifications in their election rules provided the qualifications are "reasonably related to the performance of the Board and will serve to protect its overall mission--protecting the best interests of the Association." The court's decision was based on a particular set of circumstances and the language in the association's governing documents so it is unclear if the decision opens the door to associations freely adopting director qualifications via rule changes.
Vacate Seat. If a director ceases to be qualified to serve on the board, the remaining directors can vacate the seat and appoint a replacement.
ASSISTANCE: For assistance establishing director qualifications for your association, contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.