A term limit is a restriction on the number of terms a person can serve as a board member. Term limits, if any, are normally found in the bylaws. If properly drafted, term limits can be positive.
No Term Limits. If there are no term limits in an association's governing documents, directors can be elected and re-elected to the board until they cease to be qualified to serve on the board or they die, whichever comes first.
Strict Limits. Strict term limits that allow owners to serve one or two terms and then forever bars them from the board are unworkable. It is much too difficult to recruit members to serve on the board. Also, what happens when everyone in the association has served on the board? Accordingly, strict limits should NOT be adopted.
Flexible Limits. A more common term limit is one that allows directors to serve two terms and then requires them to step down for a year. This allows other owners the opportunity to serve on the board without permanently barring seasoned directors from serving at a later date. Even this kind of limitation can be problematic if no other owners are willing to serve on the board. To avoid this problem, term limitations should only take effect if there are people willing to run for the board.
Bylaw Amendment. Term limits are added to the election process through a bylaw amendment and then revising the election rules.
NOTE: Beginning January 1, 2020, Senate Bill 323 made extensive changes to election procedures. One of the unintended consequences is that term limits for directors appear to have been voided. There are differing opinions on the issue. Some believe term limits are still viable. Others believe the bill voided all qualifications that limit someone from being nominated as a candidate for the board of directors, (except for those provided for in the bill--see candidate qualifications). As a result, there is uncertainty about the enforceability of term limits. CAI's California Legislative Action Committee is introducing clean-up legislation to eliminate ambiguities.
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