Delinquent Board Member
Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association Law June 7, 2020

QUESTION. Can a board member with a long past-due delinquent assessment run for reelection when our governing documents require candidates be current in their assessments? -Lea B.

RESPONSE: Yes. Marjorie Murray's organization voided director qualifications in every association in California that did not comply with the bill her organization sponsored. SB 323 created one mandatory and four permissive qualifications. You will need to amend your governing documents to comply with her bill.

Water Exercise. Thanks for the work helping HOAs open their pools. We finally opened and I can't tell you how much I missed my exercise. I contacted the local health department and Gavin Newsom. I think at least Orange County finally realized they were too ambiguous with their pool rules. It helped having LA County deem HOA pools private, as it should be. -David F.

RESPONSE: I'm glad yours opened. Unfortunately, confusion continues to reign between the State and various County health departments. Too many Counties continue to keep facilities closed or impose heavy-handed restrictions. Some are finally opening pools, but it's a hodgepodge of guidelines and orders.

Impossible to Comply. Our HOA is located in Orange County. Our pools are currently closed. Some of the protocols for reopening are not possible for us. Do we need to continue to keep the pools closed? -Anonymous

RESPONSE: Orange and San Diego Counties are a mess. Orange County continues to send mixed signals, and San Diego keeps everyone in lock-down. Boards should have legal counsel advise them on whether their County recommends sensible guidelines or imposes conditions that cannot be met.

Director Meeting Attendance. I really enjoy the newsletter and all the Q&A, not to mention much-needed humor. We are currently updating our bylaws to comply with SB 323. Can we keep our meeting attendance requirement for board members? We don't allow more than 3 absences within a 12-month period. -Ellen V.

RESPONSE: Yes, I believe you can keep your performance condition in place. If a director does not have the time or interest to attend meetings, he/she should not be on the board. When we restate bylaws for associations, we add several provisions for removing directors, including being absent for more than three consecutive regular meetings or more than four meetings in any twelve-month period. In addition, we include a section for membership removal of directors.

Want to Resign. My value as a board member has risen since I began reading your newsletters. Thank you! Last year we could only convince one person to serve. The treasurer and I reluctantly allowed ourselves to be voted back in. I really want to quit next year and let the chips fall where they may, but from reading your past newsletters I CAN’T. -Vanessa W.

: Homeowners generally follow the rule of thumb that "If it's not broken, leave it alone." You may need to carry through with your plans to retire. Once owners realize things will not t get done if no one steps up, you have a better chance of getting a volunteer.

Sign in the Window. Regarding the president who contacted an owner to remove a “Black Lives Matter” sign because another owner was selling a property, your judicious response was to say that if a buyer was offended by the sign and chose not to buy, they were not a good fit for the community. That was a diplomatic answer that made a good point if the reader was willing to think about it. Week after week, your newsletter speaks to problems caused by board members who act without bothering to do the absolutely FIRST thing required of them--to know how to look up something in Civil Code and read it before acting. Your firm’s website is an easy and vital tool in this regard. Thanks again for your weekly newsletter and the website. As a member and former board president, I use it often. -Michele J.

RESPONSE: We conduct training sessions for boards that directors find invaluable. We now conduct many of them via vidoconference, which is incredibly convenient for directors. The Community Associations Institute (CAI), which has eight chapters throughout California, and Educational Community for HOA Homeowners (ECHO) in Northern California, are other good resources.

Seller Disclosures. We frequently receive the following questions from escrows: “Are there any violations of restrictions on Seller’s property?” and “Are there any violations of restrictions affecting the HOA?” Why are they differentiating between two different types of “violations of restrictions,” and what is the difference supposed to be? -Kevin K.

RESPONSE: I have not run into this before and have no idea what the distinction might be. If you find out, let me know.

NorCal Counties. Butte County included pool openings in day camps, schools, camping and hotels effective June 12.

Solano County and Placer County both have great signage that could be utilized as a guide for associations.

Alameda County is allowing small “social bubble” gatherings in outdoor spaces subject to conditions. It also allows childcare to open, libraries may open for curbside pickup; certain businesses may also resume operation.

Contra Costa County is allowing outdoor swimming and outdoor seating at restaurants and dog parks. In addition, outdoor religious services of up to 100 people, indoor religious services of up to 12 people, use of outdoor picnic and barbecue spaces, and overnight camping for people belonging to the same household, are permitted.

El Dorado County will allow all 12 sectors the State has given guidance to on open June 12. They have also written a letter to Governor Newsom asking for modification of the State Stay at Home Order to relax travel restrictions.

Lake County will open indoor dining and other Stage 3 businesses once the State provides guidance.

Marin County is allowing dog parks and outdoor swimming pools to open. There were some businesses, protests and religious ceremonies permitted effective June 5.

Napa County will allow some businesses and day camps once guidance is available.

San Joaquin County clarified that other businesses and activities will open pursuant to updated guidelines.

San Mateo County added information about additional businesses and activities and does not change anything on the chart.

Santa Clara County opened additional businesses as noted in the Executive Summary. It also opens swimming in pools (following guidelines) and tennis.

Sonoma County residents can drive to coastal parks and trails for low-risk recreation. They also allow sunbathing and relaxing on beaches with social distancing and face coverings.

Shasta County added the 12 sectors for which the State provided guidance, and indicated that those businesses can reopen when they have a plan, have trained their staff, and can implement their plan. This includes short-term rentals, pools, etc.

Sonoma County is allowing the opening of more businesses. It also allows outdoor public, semi-public (HOA), and private (club or member) pools to open for lap swimming, fitness activities, physical therapy or exercise, per 16(c)(vi). “Park,” for purposes of their guidelines, has been defined to include HOAs with outdoor facilities. Therefore, associations can open tennis if it can be operated safely pursuant to park order.

Sutter and Yuba Counties are moving to Stage 3 with the sectors that the State provided guidance for as soon as June 12.

Tuolumne County appears to moving in line with openings and changes made by the State.

SoCal Counties. Of note is the State’s new fitness guidelines. They include guidance for swimming facilities within fitness centers. 

City of Palms Springs issued an amended order for all businesses to post signage on facial covering requirements and social distancing.

County of San Luis Obispo terminated its May 16th order restricting short-term lodging.

County of San Bernardino will be issuing official guidelines next week for reopening schools in August.  

Updated Chart. For a list of County restrictions and links to Health Department orders, see County Chart 6-7-20. The chart is also posted on the website. Thank you to readers for sending us information about their counties. If we missed anything, please contact us.

Hello Adrian, Thank you so much for your great newsletter and website. The newsletter especially is a font of current information in this pandemic, dished out with large doses of practicality and humor. We have a "Welcome to the board" document we give out to new board members, and it basically just says go to the David-Stirling website if you have any questions. Great work and a fantastic resource for HOA boards! -Steve P

Your newsletter has been very helpful during this Covid time. Thank you. -Linda F.

Hello Adrian, always love your informative newsletter. Thanks for always keep CID up to date with the latest information. -Randi M.

OMG! I'm in hysterics over your qualifications to be HOA president. Spot On! (ex-HOA President) -Patsy T.

Thank you for paying homage to those brave souls who are presidents of HOAs. -Anonymous

In addition to breathing, to be a successful HOA president it helps to have a touch of grey hair, or a bald spot, to show that you DO have some life experiences. -Wayne W.

RESPONSE: I agree. Board members with some life experience tend to be more patient and understanding when dealing with homeowner concerns.

Two days after I moved into my unit, an issue came up relating to the CC&Rs. As I had just read them in connection with my acquisition, I was able advise the board of their content. Proving no good deed goes unpunished, the next day I received an email from the board stating their gratitude for my contribution and they decided I would fill a vacant board seat. I was appointed without even volunteering. At the next board election, I was appointed president. I appreciate all of the info you share on your newsletter. Keep up the good work! -Mark H.

RESPONSE: Some of our clients want to amend their bylaws to include an escrow requirement that all new members immediately serve a two-year term on the board, starting the day after close of escrow. I am slowly warming up to the idea.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to actually hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. You can call us. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to associations only.

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