SENATE BILL 323 REQUIRES COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS TO ALLOW VIOLENT FELONS TO SERVE ON THEIR BOARDS, ALONG WITH OWNERS WHO DON’T PAY THEIR ASSESSMENTS AND WHO VIOLATE THE ASSOCIATION’S RULES
Current law allows homeowners association boards to remove convicted felons. Homeowners association members can also enact bylaws that prevent owners from running from their boards if they do not pay their assessments or follow the rules. But the proponents of S.B. 323 (Weickowski) think these provisions give homeowners too much power; they want state law to tell homeowners who can and cannot serve on their boards.
S.B. 323 would require associations to allow homeowners to serve on their Boards even if they are convicted felons. Owners convicted of embezzlement, theft of money, or certain other white collar crimes would be barred from serving. However, associations would be compelled to allow violent criminals, burglars, and others to run for and serve on boards, along with anyone whose felony conviction is over 20 years old. Board members have unlimited access to association’s records, including homeowners’ addresses and contact information, information about homeowners’ payments to the association, even the floor plans to owners’ houses. It is dangerous to trust convicted criminals with this information, and to place them in charge of our community associations.
Other corporations may remove felons from their boards, and felons can’t serve in the California legislature. Why should homeowners associations be treated differently?
S.B. 323 would also require associations to allow homeowners who don’t pay their assessments to serve on boards. A homeowner need only agree to a payment plan – not even to make payments – to run for the board. And the bill would allow homeowners who have violated the association’s documents, or who are in litigation with the association, to run for boards.
Board members have fiduciary duties to their associations, and owners have a right to know that their board members are following the rules and procedures all other owners must follow. Rule breakers have already shown that they put their own interests above their neighbors, and they are also likely to “go easy” on other owners who don’t pay their fair share of assessments or don’t live up to the promises they agreed to when they bought their homes.
The people who support S.B. 323 say it is supposed to stop cronyism. But the bill will actually encourage rule breakers and their cronies to serve on boards and to turn a blind eye to violations, all to the detriment of honest owners who do the right thing. Felons and serial violators are not the ones to be running California’s homeowners associations. This is why the Community Associations Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee opposes S.B. 323.
You can learn more about S.B. 323 and take action on our Legislative Session Hot Bills page by sending the Assembly Housing Committee a letter explaining why they should Vote NO on S.B. 323. Please help us continue to educate legislators as the bill moves through the Assembly House.
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