Requirement. Beginning July 1, 2006, all associations are required to adopt election rules. (Civ Code §5105(a).) Failure to do so may result in costly legal challenges that could void election results. Beginning January 1, 2020, significant changes were made to the Davis-Stirling Act related to director elections. The changes require all homeowner association election rules in California to be amended. Election rules must contain the following:
Applicable Elections. As provided for in Civil Code §5100, applicable elections include:
- election of directors
- removal of directors
- special assessments
- amendments to the CC&Rs and bylaws
- grants of exclusive use common areas
Amending Election Rules. Election rules can be amended but associations must follow the rule amendment process required by the Davis-Stirling Act.
90-Day Limitation. Election rules cannot be amended less than 90 days prior to an election. (Civ. Code §5105(h).) With the separate mandatory 28-day notice period for membership review of proposed rule changes (Civ. Code §4360(a)), the waiting period for updating election rules is extended to 118 days (4 months) since the change cannot be approved by the board until the end of the 28 days. Unfortunately, the statute does not define the starting point for an election, which has created some disagreement regarding the 90-day period. Boards should consult legal counsel on this issue.
Electronic Elections. With some exceptions, all elections must be held with paper ballots, not electronically.
ASSISTANCE: To update your election rules, contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.