Battin Bills to Protect HOA Election Integrity

Leap First Hurdle in Legislature

Battin bills would make ballots secret and restrict misuse of funds during HOA elections

Today, Senator Jim Battin (La-Quinta) successfully passed two landmark homeowner association bills out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee which will improve the way HOAs conduct elections in California. Battin’s legislation will protect homeowners from intimidation and scare tactics when voting in HOA elections by making ballots secret. The bills also eliminate the ability of HOAs to misuse funds by inappropriately using association money to do campaigning, which may favor one candidate or issue over another. Senate Bills 61 and 186 are headed to the Senate floor where they will soon be brought up for votes.

In California, common interest developments are governed by elected boards that regulate behavior, levy and spend assessments collected from the homeowners and make decisions that directly affect those living in the community. Existing state law creates and regulates these developments and requires a vote of the association members for certain types of assessments and amendments to the governing documents, as well as for the selection of board members. However, California is silent when it comes to how association elections are conducted.

“We have left the door open for manipulation and intimidation and we have to close it,” stated Senator Battin. “HOA elections have too much potential for abuse. Because common interest developments play such a pivotal role as quasi-governments and since the outcome of their elections has profound effects on so many residents; we need to do as much as we can to ensure they are fair.”

What the bills do:

SB 61 (Battin) – Requires secret ballots and guidelines for HOA elections.

SB 186 (Battin) – Prohibits the use of HOA funds for campaigning in their elections.

Sixty percent of new housing in California is located in common interest developments and governed by elected boards.

“We have to eliminate activity that gives unfair advantage to one side by subsidizing their campaigns with association fees that were collected for other purposes, and we have to ensure to the best of our ability that people can vote their conscience without intimidation or fear of reprisal,” concluded Battin.