Virtual Meeting Choices
Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association Law April 5, 2020
Video Problems. Lately there have been articles on security issues with Zoom. Boards should research this company before using them. Perhaps a conventional conferencing service that many businesses use such as would be a better choice. -Steve J.

RESPONSE: Video conference platforms have been swamped as everyone in the country is suddenly using them to stay in touch with employees, family members, church members, etc. Our law firm is conducting our internal meetings entirely by video conference with over 30 attorneys and staff separately joining our meetings. With most of the country in lockdown, the internet is on overload but, fortunately, is still functioning.

Comparison of Services. Out of necessity, boards of directors are now conducting their meetings by teleconference and video conference. Zoom Video is popular but not necessarily the best fit for everyone. To help boards choose a service, our Chief Technology Officer, Erica Greathouse, compiled the following reviews:
PC Magazine:The Best Video Conferencing Software for 2020

TechRadar:Best video conferencing software 2020: paid and free solutions for business

zdNet: Best video conferencing software for business: Microsoft Teams plus eight more Zoom alternatives

GetApp: Top Online Meetings Software
Zoom Audio. The person who was concerned that some people may not have internet access and wouldn’t be able to participate in a video conference can call into the conference using a phone number provided by Zoom. This allows people without internet to participate. Even with no internet access, most people have a phone. -Churchill M.
Short Term Rentals. My association told me to stop renting my unit. They don't have a right to tell me what to do. Our CC&Rs do not restrict vacation rentals and I need the income. Can you say something in your newsletter that they are overstepping their authority. -C.H.
RESPONSE: They are not overstepping their authority. Boards can adopt emergency rules to address an imminent threat to public health or safety. (Civ. Code §4360(d).) Your activities are a threat to the community. You are bringing strangers into the association who may be carriers of Covid-19. It could be a death sentence for your neighbors and you're complaining about lost income? Don't be ridiculous. We are in the middle of a pandemic. The board can and should restrict your short-term rentals.
Coronavirus Cleaning. Regarding virucide treatment… curious what company provides that service? A quick Google search did not turn up anything but may be a good idea for my office for the few of us still coming in. Thank you! -Stacie D.

RESPONSE: One of our attorneys ran across "Guidelines for Covid-19 Coronavirus Cleaning" and forwarded it to me. You may find it useful.
Term Limit. Our CC&Rs state that "No Board member may serve for more than all or a portion of two consecutive one year terms." Does SB 323 change that so directors can serve again immediately after two terms? -Anthony H.

RESPONSE: SB 323 knocked out term limits. You can thank Marjorie Murray's Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL) for that faux pas. SB 323 is like someone suddenly being sick in the back of your car. It's embarrassing and it takes a while to clean up.
CAI's California Legislative Action Committee is working to clean up the mess made by CCHAL. One of the items on their to-do list is to restore term limits to associations that want them (assuming CCHAL doesn't try to block their efforts).
DocuSign Ballots? We are trying to update our CC&Rs. We do not have the requisite number of votes to open and count them (lack of quorum). Would a service such as DocuSign, which is delivered by email with location, date, and time recorded, a viable option for securing the remaining votes? Or would this fall under the heading of electronic voting? -Frank S.

RESPONSE: It falls under electronic voting, which is not approved for associations. If the legislature reconvenes this year and if CCHAL does not oppose it, maybe we can get some relief for associations in the form of electronic voting and elections by acclamation.

Keeping Ballots. Are ballots considered association records? If so, per Civil Code §5210, association records are subject to member inspection for the current year and for each of the previous two fiscal years. I thought they could be destroyed after custody is transferred to the association. -Ginny B.

RESPONSE: Ballots are considered association records (Civ. Code §5200(c)), which means they can be inspected by members (Civ. Code §5205(a)). Ballots are held by the inspector of elections for one year and made available for inspections during that year. (Civ. Code §5125.) They are kept for one year because that is the statute of limitations for challenging election results. (Civ. Code §5145.) At the end of one year, the ballots have no value and are transferred to the association. At that point, the association can dispose of them.

President Resigned. Our president canceled our board meeting, then resigned for family reasons. Since we cannot meet in person, and we are now legally below the minimum number required on our board. Can we meet immediately and officially to float nominees even sooner than the four days required for posting an agenda? -Jim M.

RESPONSE: You can meet "virtually." Meeting by conference phone or video conference is deemed the same as meeting in person. (Corp. Code §7211(a)(6).) You can also meet if you have less than a quorum if it's for the purpose of appointing someone to fill a seat. (Corp. Code §7224(a).) The appointment needs to be done in an open meeting so you should give the membership 4-days' notice.
Ban Smoking? Our HOA has one smoker. The board would like to amend the CC&Rs so we become a non-smoking building. Would the existing owner who smokes be grandfathered and allowed to continue smoking in her unit? Secondhand smoke has a tendency to leak into other units and the common areas. -Astrid L.
RESPONSE: You can ban smoking in your complex and the membership can choose to not grandfather existing smokers. (See Villa de Las Palmas v. Terifaj.) If they decide not to grandfather your existing smoker, she will have to taking her smoking outside.

No Landscapers. Absolutely love the information in your newsletter! Our county (Santa Clara) has deemed landscaping a non-essential service. Hence, our grass is four inches high and soon to become a meadow with another four weeks of sheltering in place. Little ones will be lost! What can be done short of renting a lawn mower and mowing the grass ourselves?! -Diane D.

RESPONSE: Making landscapers non-essential was not the best decision by the County. Landscapers can work without violating CDC guidelines. You might contact your County Supervisor and ask to have that decision reversed.

EMERGENCY RULES. If you need emergency rules, contact us.

I know I preach to the choir, but I am immensely grateful for your newsletter. We are a very small HOA and as president, I must do the bulk of the research on every issue. Your weekly offerings are such an incredible help! Please know your efforts are greatly appreciated! -Christine K.

Thank you for continuing under the current "plague." As an HOA board member, it helps me pull my head out of my.....ahem...the sand to see a broader picture. We are on shutdown here except for gardeners who are great to watch working six feet apart. Chuckles are a rare commodity and your newsletter provides all. Love the mask you are wearing. -Earl R.

In response to your article on natural selection, my father always said, "You can’t legislate against stupidity." -Donna G.

Thanks for the newsletter. Everything you guys have been publishing has been really helpful! -Ashley B.

The new frequency of your wonderful newsletter almost makes this whole ordeal worth it. You're lifting the spirits of quite a few people. PS: San Francisco is the heart of California! -Trudy M.

Thank you, Adrian, for respecting and appreciating your fellow man, enriching and empowering them freely with your wide and deep knowledge... and good humor. You well deserve what you have gained from your generous gift to each of us. -Ron V.

I too love reading your newsletter. I skip many things in my inbox, but not your submissions. -Astrid L.

Love, love, love your newsletters! Keep ‘em coming! Even though I have moved back to New Mexico, they are still providing me with common sense solutions and even laughs. Thank you!!! -Lenore H.

Your newsletter keeps me young. Why? Because at 88-years old, it keeps my brain active learning about the ins and outs of HOAs and very often laughter. Thank you! -Yolanda R.

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
Because we invested in technology that allows us to operate during emergencies, ADAMS | STIRLING continues to respond to client needs when others cannot.
If you need anything,
call us at
(800) 464-2817
or send an email.

Boards needing emergency rules can
contact us
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To comply with federal regulations and reduce legal exposure, boards should adopt anti-harassment, neighbor dispute policies.

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