Can the HOA Board implement election rules to disqualify anyone who has ever threatened lawsuit?
QUESTION: Our HOA is in the process of enacting election rules that disqualifies anyone who ever threatened to sue the association. I am going door to door to get petition signatures opposing the rule. I’m told if I do, I am subject to fines under the prohibition against soliciting.
ANSWER: Disqualifying anyone who ever threatened to sue the association is a bit much. I don’t believe a court would find that reasonable. Besides, the association could end up with no one left to serve on the board.
Active Litigation. I am in favor of temporarily disqualifying anyone who is in active litigation against the association and/or its directors. It avoids conflicts of interest that inevitably arise when the plaintiff is simultaneously suing the association and voting on board issues. It also avoids the awkwardness of directors serving on the board with the plaintiff. Once the litigation is over, the person can once again be eligible to serve on the board.
Solicitation. As for penalizing you for circulating a petition, that would run afoul of the Davis-Stirling Act. A change in the Act went into effect January 1 that allows members to canvass and petition members. (Civ. Code §4515(b)(4).) In particular, the association cannot prohibit political activities.
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