Suspending Voting Rights to HOA Members
QUESTION: Our governing documents give the board authority to suspend members’ voting rights when they are delinquent. If a member who owns more than one separate interest is delinquent on only one unit, can the suspension globally apply to all votes that member has? Sometimes even one or two votes can make a difference.
ANSWER: I don’t believe global suspension of voting rights is allowed. Typically, an association’s bylaws tie voting rights to ownership interests and state that each member gets one vote for each condominium or home owned. Voting rights can then only be suspended for the unit that is delinquent.
Due Process: Before suspending a member’s voting rights, he or she must be given at least 15-day’s notice in advance of the intent to suspend privileges (Corp. Code §7341(d).) and given an opportunity to be heard by the board before any suspension can be imposed. This procedure is known as “Due Process.”
How Long Can the Suspension Last?Suspension of voting rights is normally tied to delinquency, not a rules violation. Generally, the suspension will last until the owner’s account is brought current. Suspension for a rules violation is typically for a set period of time such as 30 days unless it is a continuing violation.
RECOMMENDATION: If your association is going to suspend voting rights prior to an election, be sure to calculate the time needed to provide proper notice of hearing, and then send written results of the hearing to the owner after the hearing. Suspending the voting rights of a delinquent owner may impact the quorum or approval requirements for the election.
Thank you to Laurie Poole in our Carlsbad/San Diego offices for answering this question.
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