As a member of a homeowners association, it’s important to know your rights and options when it comes to the governance of your community. One issue that may arise is the removal of officers, such as HOA board members, before the end of their term. So, can HOA members remove officers midterm? The answer is yes, but there are specific procedures that must be followed.
Step 1: Consult the Governing Documents
The governing documents of each HOA may have specific rules and requirements for initiating a recall election to remove officers. These documents should be consulted before starting the process to ensure that all necessary steps are taken. Additionally, it may be more difficult to recall individual HOA board members as opposed to the entire board, so this should also be considered before proceeding with a recall petition.
Step 2: Consider the Consequences
The recall process is not something to be taken lightly. Removing a board mid-term can disrupt the continuity of the HOA and may result in additional costs and delays for the community. It should only be considered as a last resort when there is a clear violation of the governing documents or ethical standards by the board members in question.
Some examples of violations may be:
- Conflict of Interest: If a board member has a personal or financial interest in a decision that the board is making, they may be in violation of their fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the HOA.
- Failure to Follow HOA Bylaws: If a board member consistently disregards or violates the bylaws of the HOA, they may be in violation of their obligations as an officer of the association.
- Abuse of Power: If an HOA board member is using their position to harass or intimidate other members, or if they are making decisions without proper authority or consensus, they may be in violation of their ethical responsibilities.
- Breach of Contract: If a board member fails to fulfill their obligations under a contract or agreement with the HOA, they may be in violation of their legal and ethical obligations.
- Failure to Maintain the Property: If a board member fails to properly maintain the common areas or enforce property maintenance rules, they may be in violation of their obligations to ensure that the HOA is a safe and enjoyable community for all members.
These are just a few examples of the types of behavior that may warrant a recall election.
Step 2: Initiate a Recall Election
If the association decides to move forward, in California, HOA members can initiate a recall election by petitioning to remove the board. This requires a minimum of 5% of the membership to sign a petition in favor of recalling the board. If enough signatures are collected, a ballot will be issued with the question, "Recall the Board, Yes or No?" If the majority of members vote "Yes," the board will be recalled, and an election will take place to replace them with new members.
Step 3: Hold the Recall Election
If the majority HOA members vote for a recall election, new candidates will be put on the ballot, including any of the recalled board members who choose to run again. Members will then vote for their preferred candidates, and the new board will be selected based on the results of the election. If the majority of members didn’t not vote for a recall election, then the board members will remain as is.
HOA members do have the ability to remove HOA officers midterm through a recall election process. However, this process should be approached carefully and only after consulting the governing documents and considering the potential impact on the community. If you have concerns about the actions of your HOA board, it’s recommended that you reach out to your management company or legal counsel for guidance on how to proceed.