Behind every homeowners association is a set of board members, collectively known as the HOA board, running it. These board members are elected into position by the association’s members. With every board election, though, comes HOA candidate nomination.
Determining the HOA Candidate Nomination Procedure
It is important to know that every homeowners association may have different guidelines when it comes to the nomination process. State laws and an association’s governing documents usually dictate how candidate nominations should go. Thus, it is best to refer to your HOA bylaws to learn the exact details of your association’s election rules.
Typically, the nomination procedure will lay down how members can nominate candidates, what qualifications are needed in a candidate, and the general steps that the association must follow. The HOA board will normally start with a call for candidates. This is to invite members to send in their nominations through an HOA board nomination form. The board will also need to send a general notice to all members containing the nomination procedure as well as the deadline for nomination submissions.
Some associations might require candidates to write a letter of intent to run for the HOA board, while others may not. This letter simply confirms a candidate’s interest in running for the position. In most cases, candidates will also need to submit an HOA board of directors candidate statement. This statement consists of the HOA board candidate bio and how the candidate believes they can contribute to the community.
If you need board candidate statement examples, here is one:
Who is qualified to run for the HOA board? It depends on the association. Your HOA bylaws should have explicit qualifications for candidacy. Generally, though, for candidates to qualify, they must first be a member of the association. This means the candidate must own a separate interest within the HOA at the time they are nominated. This is a mandatory qualification.
Another common qualification is that the candidate must be current on all payments, including dues, assessments, and applicable fines. If an association places such a qualification on a nominee, though, it should also expect as much from current board members. That means no existing board members should be behind on payments.
Some states, such as California, go into further detail about what kind of qualifications are allowed. For instance, a nominee may be behind on payments but has enrolled in a payment plan with the association. In this case, the board may not disqualify the candidate from running.
Apart from qualifications, associations may also have grounds to disqualify candidates. California law, for instance, allows associations to disqualify a member from running if, when elected, that member would be serving with another board member who owns the same separate interest. The same law allows disqualifications if the candidate has only been a member for less than one year or if the candidate has a past criminal conviction. You may also disqualify a member if they miss the deadline for nomination submissions.
If your association intends to disqualify a member for whatever reason, though, you must allow the member to engage in an Internal Dispute Resolution with the HOA. Associations may not disqualify members without conducting this first.
Methods for HOA Nomination of Candidates
There are a handful of ways members can nominate candidates for the HOA board election, namely self-nomination, floor nomination, and write-in candidates.
Again, the specific methods for HOA candidate nomination should be written in your governing documents. This includes whether or not your association allows certain nomination procedures, such as write-ins and floor nominations.
Many associations allow members to nominate themselves to run for a position on the board. Although an HOA may disqualify a member from running with justifiable cause, it may not take away a member’s right to self-nominate.
If you intend to nominate yourself, you must answer the board’s call for candidates. Usually, this means submitting an application form or a letter of interest to the board prior to the deadline. Your HOA may have a specific format for such a form or letter, so it is best to check with your board first. Some boards will include a copy of the application form or letter with the general notice, while others have it up on their HOA website for easy access.
Here is a sample letter of interest for an HOA board position:
Floor nominations are typically not required of homeowners associations unless its governing documents say so. The procedure for floor nominations is simple. After the association meets a quorum, the board president will open the floor for HOA candidate nominations.
Members may then nominate individuals who meet the candidate qualifications. The validity of the nomination persists even if the board president fails to recognize it. Additionally, members need not second the nomination.
During floor nominations, members can nominate other members or even themselves, though there is a limit on how many nominations each member can make. Moreover, the nominated members also do not need to be present at the meeting. It is worth noting that those who have already sent their ballots through the mail may not vote for floor nominees.
If your association’s governing documents permit write-in candidates, then you must allow members to do so. But, if your governing documents say no such thing, then you can eliminate write-ins altogether. In that case, if members do write candidates in on their ballots, the association or election inspector can disregard the write-in votes. Any other votes that were not written in remain valid.
You may wonder about the verification process for write-in candidates. If your association permits write-ins, then you must consider these write-ins even if no previous nomination took place. Should the write-in candidate accumulate the votes necessary to secure a position on the board, you must then contact the candidate and confirm if they want to accept the nomination.
It is essential to make it clear in your governing documents whether or not to allow write-ins (and even floor nominations). Consider amending your governing documents if ambiguity remains.
Either your association’s governing documents or your HOA board will set a deadline for nominations. In the case of floor nominations, the HOA board may close nominations for the duration of ballot preparation and mailing. Once the annual meeting takes place, the board can then reopen floor nominations.
The Final Review
Prior to distributing the ballots, the association must finalize its list of candidates and disseminate it to the candidates. The timing can vary depending on the location or the HOA’s governing documents.
For instance, in California, the association must make this list available at least 30 days before distributing the ballots.
The association must allow its candidates to review this HOA candidate information sheet. For any errors spotted, the inspector of elections must make the necessary changes to correct the inaccurate information. The inspector must make this correction within two business days of any reported errors.
Make Election Season a Breeze
It is imperative for every association to know and practice its HOA candidate nomination procedure properly. This will ensure a smooth nomination and election process, thus, avoiding wasting time and money. Always check your governing documents and state laws for any provisions relating to candidate nominations. When in doubt, consult with an HOA attorney.
Condo Manager can make the election season easier for homeowners associations everywhere. Our software can track homeowner information, print customized ballots, and send notices with the click of a button. Contact us today at (800) 626-1267 to learn more or fill out an online form for a free demo.
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