On January 1, 2020, a new law takes effect that will have significant financial and legal impact on all California community associations. Signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom last weekend, SB 323 (Wieckowski) overhauls the process of conducting most homeowner association elections and member votes. Associations will need to budget for additional election costs made necessary by the new law. Most associations will have to:
- Amend or create new voting and elections rules
- Consider amending existing Bylaws
For any association with an election of any type scheduled in the first quarter of 2020, modification of voting and election rules must be completed before December 31, 2019, as the new law prohibits any changes to the election rules within 90 days prior to an election.
The most significant legal changes arising from this new law include:
- Limitation on the rights of an association to set qualifications for board of director candidates
- Prohibition on an association’s ability to suspend an owner’s right to vote
- Requires the inspector of elections to be an entity or individual with no previous contractual relationship with the association – which includes its management company and legal counsel
- Creation of additional posting and notification requirements prior to nomination deadlines and ballot mailing
- Allows members to review the signatures on the outside of ballot mailing envelopes and to copy voter lists which now must include parcel numbers
- Member email addresses are now part of the membership list available to all members, upon request
Please contact us at (925) 926-1200 to discuss how we can help your association to comply with this complicated new law. We are available to amend your association’s voting and election rules and Bylaws, to provide inspector of election services for any association with whom we are not under contract (consistent with the new law), and to answer any questions you may have.