HOA Elections & The Davis-Stirling Act
California HOA elections are governed by the Davis-Stirling Act (California Civil Code Sections 5100-5200.) The Davis-Stirling Act is routinely amended by the California legislature, which means that the rules governing HOA elections are constantly evolving. Contact us to ensure your next election complies with the latest rules and regulations.
Recent Changes to the Davis-Stirling Act
- Election by Acclamation (AB 502). All California HOAs are eligible for Election by Acclamation, regardless of what their governing documents say. Election by Acclamation is an option if (1) the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of seats up for election, (2) the nomination period was 90 days long, (3) a Nomination Reminder notice was given to all homeowners 7-30 days before the close of nominations, and (4) the HOA held an election with ballots at least once in the past four years.
- Limitations on Rental Restrictions (AB 1584): HOAs must update their CC&Rs to conform to new rules on rental restrictions by July 1, 2022. However, HOAs can do so without a membership vote, as long as they follow the same procedures as for a rulemaking (i.e. the board votes after a 28-day notice and comment period for owners).
- Term Limits (AB 432): HOAs may subject their board members to term limits.
- Independent Third-Party Inspector of Elections (SB 323): HOAs are required to use an independent third-party to receive and tabulate ballots for all secret ballot elections. An independent third-party may not be “a director or a candidate for director or be related to a director or to a candidate for director,” or “a person, business entity, or subdivision of a business entity who is currently employed or under contract to the association for any compensable services other than serving as an inspector of elections.”
- Election Process Overhaul (SB 323): SB 323, which went into effect in January 2020, constituted a major overhaul of the rules governing HOA elections. SB 323 required all California HOAs to adopt new election rules that conformed to the Davis-Stirling Act. A major feature of SB 323 was the requirement that board elections take a minimum of approximately 105 days from start to finish due to 3 required mailings, each approximately 30 days apart: Call for Nominations, Pre-Ballot Notice and Ballot package.