There have been several instances of vandalism at our community’s pool area recently, and it is taking weeks, and in some cases months for repairs to be made.
I called the management company and they told me that the board must approve all repairs at meetings, but they only meet every other month.
Is it typical for repairs to take this long, and do boards have to meet and vote to simply fix damaged property? It sounds like a lot of bureaucratic nonsense.
Do you have any ideas on how our association can streamline the process and make repairs in a timely fashion?
-Thank you, Wendy P.
Vandalism of association property is an unfortunate occurrence plaguing many homeowners associations.
Unfortunately, newly adopted California laws governing homeowners associations have made it more difficult for boards to make decisions, such as voting to repair vandalized association property, outside of scheduled board meetings.
That said, there are policies and procedures boards may adopt to work within the boundaries of the law while at the same time ensuring that necessary maintenance and repairs are made expeditiously.
Senate Bill 563, which became effective Jan. 1, amends the Open Meeting Act to eliminate a board’s ability take action outside of a scheduled board meeting.
In the past, boards could efficiently vote on issues that were not the subject of debate by way of an Action Without Meeting, whereby boards could vote unanimously via email.
Senate Bill 563 put an end to this practice..
As such, critical decisions, such as approving vandalism repairs, may inevitably be delayed.
There are policies and procedures boards may adopt to work efficiently and effectively within the boundaries of the new law.
Associations may appoint a minority of the board (example: two board members) to serve as an executive committee with the authority to make association decisions outside of scheduled board meetings.
Ironically, this procedure, while legal, would provide even less oversight and transparency, which conflicts with the very purpose behind Senate Bill 563.
Associations may also approve a monthly management company allowance, whereby your community’s management company has the ability to authorize necessary maintenance and repairs up to a preapproved monetary limit.
While this option gives management the flexibility to quickly address issues, it could also lead to transparency and oversight concerns.
A third option, as permitted in Senate Bill 563, is for the board to hold an executive session meeting to make decisions as necessary. Per the new bill, executive sessions only require two days advance notice to the membership and may be held via conference call, so long as there is a defined physical location where members are permitted to attend and listen in and at least one board member is physically present.
I have reservations about boards appointing executive committees, consisting of a minority of the board, to make association decisions outside of regular board meetings. This procedure raises significant oversight and transparency concerns.
I prefer a hybrid policy, consisting of a reasonable management company allowance coupled with executive sessions as necessary when expenses exceed management’s spending authority. This empowers the managing agent to authorize repairs, while at the same time providing oversight by capping their spending authority.
If the expense exceeds management’s preapproved allowance, the board can hold an executive session with 48 hours notice to consider approving the expenditure. This provides a balance of transparency and oversight while, at the same time, ensuring that important association issues are resolved expeditiously.