QUESTION: A recall petition was just defeated by the membership. The current board now wants to charge everyone who signed the petition for the cost of the recall. Is that legal?
ANSWER: I could find nothing that would allow a board to bill petitioners for the cost of a failed recall. I understand the desire to recoup attorneys' fees and costs. If the recall failed, why should the association bear the expense? However, if petitioners can be billed for the cost of a failed recall, does that mean directors can be billed when the recall is successful? That is not how it works.
Cost of Doing Business. The association bears the cost regardless of the outcome. For example, the State of California incurred huge expenses in the 2003 recall of Governor Gray Davis. The election cost taxpayers $67 million. If the recall had failed, the State could not have billed the people who signed the petition. Such expenses are part of the cost of democracy. For HOAs, it is part of the cost of doing business.
Abusive Practices. Costs become more of a concern when petitioners engage in abusive practices.
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