Homeowners want to change association board's meeting time

Question: Our monthly homeowner association board meetings are Wednesdays at 4 p.m., when most owners are at work. This ensures a low turnout. Of 200 owners, maybe two can attend. How can owners get the board to change the meeting time?

Answer: Titleholders must ask the board about changing the meeting time. The more titleholders contacting the board, the better the chances of getting the meeting time changed.

Regardless of when the meetings are held, if the date and time are not in the association's governing documents, the board is required to give all homeowners at least four days' notice. Failure to do so is a violation of law and could invalidate board actions.

Track board actions by obtaining and keeping copies of meeting minutes. Get copies by making a request in writing to the board under California Civil Code Section 1365.2. If the board fails to comply with your request within 10 days of receiving your letter, you may file a Small Claims action against it for the documents. All owners should keep minutes in their own files for reference and evidence.

One option is to amend the association's bylaws to include a specific day and time for the meeting that is more convenient for owners.

Tell management to handle funds differently

Question: Our management company commingles our association's money in its bank account along with all its other clients' money. It uses the fact that it has millions of dollars at its disposal to obtain higher interest, which it keeps, and to get other bank favors. We believe that the benefit of having our association's money in management's account should come back to the association and not to the management company. Management disagrees. Who's right?

Answer: California Civil Code Section 1363.2 contains the requirements for management company handling of client funds. The board has a right to demand that the association's money not be commingled with the management company's account and/or its other clients' funds.

The board can always send the management company a Section 1363.2(b) letter instructing the company how your association's funds are to be handled. That letter allows the association to collect the interest on its funds and requires the management company to be bonded to protect the association against loss. The board should demand disclosure of all the benefits that are going to management and negotiate contract terms that take those benefits into account or demand the equivalent of those benefits be made payable to the association.

The management company's failure to accommodate the association's demands would be grounds for terminating its contract. The board's failure to act in the best interests of the association and its owners could be a breach of its duty.

Glassman is an attorney specializing in corporate and business law. Vanitzian is an arbitrator and a mediator in the Los Angeles city attorney's Dispute Resolution Program. Send questions to P.O. Box 10490, Marina del Rey, CA 90295 or email noexit@mindspring.com.

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