There are two types of petitions: (i) a petition signed by the membership and presented to the board of directors and (ii) a petition filed with the court in a legal proceeding.
PETITIONS FOR SPECIAL MEETINGS
Petitions submitted to a board of directors can only be used to call special meetings of the membership and only for a lawful purpose. Most often, it is a petition to recall the board. Once a board receives a valid petition, it must select a date for a membership meeting and give notice to the membership.
Who May Sign a Petition. The Corporations Code provides that special meetings of the membership can be called by 5% or more of the members. (Corp. Code §7510(e).) The request must be in writing. (Corp. Code §7511(c).) The right to call a meeting by 5% of the membership cannot be changed or eliminated by contrary provisions in the bylaws. Members are restricted on business that can be conducted at a meeting and may be limited in their ability to amend their governing documents via petition.
Verifying Signatures. Associations have the right to verify petition signatures.
Format of Petition. The purpose of the meeting must be set forth in the petition so members know what they are signing. The board is allowed to verify signatures before setting a meeting date and giving notice. The obligation to publish the names of the petition signers is unclear. See sample petition.
Online Petition. Currently, there is no authorization in the law to use online petitions in common interest developments such as homeowners associations. Accordingly, the safer course of action is to circulate paper petitions that can be submitted to the board of directors.
PETITIONS IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Petitions filed by an association are generally done for two purposes. A petition can be filed under the Davis-Stirling Act for the purpose of court approval of CC&R amendments and restatements when super-majority membership approval cannot be achieved. Petitions can also be filed under Corporations Code §7515 to reduce quorum requirements for other approval requirements in addition to amending CC&Rs. (Greenback Townhomes v. Rizan.) A petition can also be brought to compel arbitration. (Mansouri v. Superior Ct.) The court can be petitioned to appoint a third party (a receiver or custodian) to manage the association as provided for in Code of Civil Procedure §564(b)(9). Members can petition the court to order an election through the summary procedure authorized in Corporations Code §7510(c).
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.