QUESTION: Can a group of owners send newsletters to members regarding HOA issues, including summaries of board meetings? If so, can they request this unauthorized newsletter be included in the association’s monthly mailings and website?
ANSWER: Members have the right to speak out on HOA issues. To that end, they can set up chat rooms on the internet, mail out letters and newsletters, set up websites, talk to other members in the club house, etc.
Monthly Mailings. Homeowners can request that their newsletter be included in the association’s monthly mailings and website. However, the board is not obligated to grant their request. Boards can adopt guidelines on what is distributed to the membership at the association's expense. When considering requests, boards should take into account potential liability for material written by others as well as equal access issues during elections.
Misrepresentation. When it comes to private letters, newsletters, and websites, the materials cannot mislead members into thinking they are communications from the association. For that reason, the association’s name and logo should only be used by the association. It should always be clear to recipients that the private missive is just that, a private missive. When individuals seek to confuse and deceive, they open themselves to litigation.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.