Is It Time To Get HOA Accounting Services?

house over hoa block | hoa accounting services

Accounting and financial management are some of the hardest parts of running a homeowners association. The board not only needs to keep accurate records but they must also generate financial reports to plan for the future. For this reason, communities avail of HOA accounting services from professional management companies. 

The Benefits of HOA Accounting Services

Homeowners association accounting services have many benefits. Here are some of the reasons why your community might want to hire a professional for the job.

1. Accurate Bookkeeping

HOA bookkeeping can be tedious, time-consuming, and confusing. Often, the HOA treasurer does not have the knowledge or background to maintain accurate records. As a result, the community might end up with messy or inaccurate books that do more harm than good. Board members might think they’re doing well financially when, in reality, they don’t have enough money to spare! This can lead to overspending and potentially put the community in debt.

In contrast, outsourcing HOA accounting services to a professional will ensure you get accurate bookkeeping. The accountant will keep track of all financial transactions, monitor accounts, and record everything properly. They can also generate accurate financial reports for the HOA.

2. Consistent Financial Reports

Financial reports are crucial tools. They help the board understand the association’s current financial health, allowing them to adjust the HOA budget and community plans. Without consistent or regular financial reporting, the board might make costly financial decisions that could lead to special assessments or increased fees.

With a dedicated accountant, homeowners associations can access financial reports quarterly or even monthly. They can identify ways to cut back on spending or increase their income. Moreover, the accountant can even attend board meetings to help them better understand their financial health. 

3. Comprehensive Audit

HOA accounting firms often provide auditing services to their clients. This is an essential part of governance as HOAs are usually required to conduct periodic audits to comply with the governing documents. 

In addition, state law may have certain requirements when it comes to conducting audits. For example, California HOAs that are required to perform audits must work with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to do so. Hiring a dedicated accountant or HOA management company to perform the audit fulfills this requirement. 

On the other hand, even if the HOA is not required to perform an audit, it’s usually a good idea to have one anyway. Annual audits help the board compare the budget to income and expenses. Moreover, it can pinpoint any accounting mistakes and uncover fund mismanagement or fraud.

4. Tax Assistance

tax time memo | hoa accounting services

Accounting for homeowners associations can be complex, but it gets even more convoluted when you throw taxes into the mix. With a dedicated accountant or management company, HOAs can file the correct taxes on time. 

Professional accountants know all the tax laws related to associations. They can help you file your tax returns and even think of ways to lower how much you pay. With their assistance, HOAs can allocate more funds to capital improvements, maintenance projects, and community events.

5. Cost-Effectiveness

Many board members assume hiring an in-house accountant is much cheaper than hiring an HOA management accounting firm. However, while the initial cost might be lower, it can be more expensive in the long run. This is because other costs are involved, such as training, payroll taxes, and benefits. 

6. Efficiency

It’s much more efficient to outsource HOA accounting services. This is because the accountant or HOA management company can handle all the accounting-related tasks for you. The board no longer has to divide its attention between accounting and operations. Instead, they can focus on creating policies and discussing community issues. 

In addition, outsourcing the accounting frees up HOA personnel to do other jobs. The staff can instead focus their time and resources on collecting fees, coordinating with vendors, and overseeing maintenance. 

7. Financial Guidance

The HOA board needs a lot of financial guidance to help them make better decisions. Professional accountants and HOA management companies can offer insights when the HOA is over budget, meets a roadblock in their financial plans, or accidentally misappropriate funds. Plus, professionals like these can help them plan the community’s reserves or choose the right HOA loan when necessary. 

8. Access to Technology

HOA management companies often have the right tools and software needed to achieve the best results in terms of accounting and financial management. With these tools, HOAs no longer need to invest in expensive software subscriptions. They immediately gain access to an efficient system that ensures accurate bookkeeping and reporting.

9. Legal Compliance

State laws govern what homeowners associations can or cannot do — and what they must do. HOA laws may mandate periodic reviews and audits to foster transparency and accountability. Apart from this, HOA laws change every couple of years. In fact, a handful of new laws were introduced in California alone in the last two years.

10. Continuity

shake hands | hoa accounting services

HOA accountants can resign or change every few years. In contrast, an HOA management contract only ends when you cancel the agreement or choose not to renew it. Hence, it makes more sense to outsource HOA accounting services if you want better continuity. Even if the management firm has internal changes, its processes and services should remain the same.

Testing the Alternatives: In-House Accounting and Software

HOA accounting is essential to a community’s success. But do you have to outsource your HOA accounting services to a third-party management firm? Let us explore the alternatives below to help you decide what’s best for your community. 

In-House Accounting

Hiring a third-party management company is one of many options. HOAs can also hire an in-house accountant when necessary. An accountant can be beneficial for several reasons, including the following:

  • Immediate Availability. An in-house accountant is always ready to answer questions, provide reports, and deal with urgent issues that might require an immediate response.
  • Accounting Focus. A dedicated accountant is focused on the HOA’s financial affairs, priorities, and challenges.
  • Communication. An accountant is always close by, allowing them to communicate more closely with the board. They can also attend meetings, offer real-time updates, and provide their input during financial discussions.
  • Flexibility. In-house bookkeepers and accountants can modify their approach according to the HOA’s preferences. Whether it’s in terms of reporting, financial analysis, or how to handle financial processes, they can adjust to the community’s specific needs.
  • Community Immersion. A dedicated accountant is immersed in the community and understands its values, culture, and needs. Hence, they can foster smoother interactions with residents, vendors, and board members.
  • Better Control. A dedicated accountant allows communities to get better control over their accounting and financial processes.
  • Transparency. Community members might be more inclined to trust an in-house accountant over a third-party management company to handle their accounting and reporting.
  • Cost. In-house accountants tend to be cheaper upfront than hiring third-party accounting firms and HOA management companies.

That said, there are drawbacks to hiring a dedicated accountant. For instance, hiring an in-house accountant can be more expensive in the long term if you account for the cost of training, taxes, and benefits.

Moreover, they might have a narrower range of specialties than HOA management companies. They may need to gain experience in budget management, auditing, legal compliance, and reserve planning. In contrast, HOA management companies usually offer all these services in one package.

Accounting Software

Do I need a CPA if I have QuickBooks? Many HOAs assume that accounting software can replace an in-house or third-party accountant. While these tools are helpful, they still need to be used by someone familiar with accounting. Otherwise, you might make accounting entry mistakes. 

In addition, HOA finances can be complex. It’s not just a matter of entering income and expenses. HOAs must also log their reserves, handle budgets, file tax returns, and comply with ever-changing state requirements. Accounting software may be able to log these things, but they won’t always be able to provide strategic advice or detailed analyses.

Finally, accounting software can be misused to hide fund misappropriation, fraud, and theft. An accountant can spot these anomalies by analyzing trends and reviewing the reports generated by the software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do HOAs Use Cash or Accrual Accounting?

Homeowners associations may use Cash Accounting for interim reporting. However, they must use Accrual Accounting for final financial statements and reports. 

What is the Best Accounting Method for HOA?

The Accrual Basis of Accounting is the best accounting method for homeowners associations. It depicts the HOA’s financial health more accurately as it records revenue and expenses when they are earned or incurred, regardless of cash flow. 

What is the Chart of Accounts for a Homeowners Association?

An HOA chart of accounts is the same as other organizations. It is a structured list of all the accounts the HOA uses to track liabilities, assets, expenses, and income. 

Why is GAAP Relevant to HOAs?

The Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are relevant to HOAs because they ensure their financial statements are comparable, consistent, and precise. It is an organized system that helps HOAs easily understand their financial status, allowing them to make better decisions. 

A Good Investment

Outsourcing your HOA accounting services can be expensive, but it is certainly a worthy investment. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can invest in as a community as financial management can make or break the HOA. 

Personalized Property Management offers HOA financial management and accounting services to communities across Southern California. Call us at 760-325-9500 or email us at to learn more!


What Is HOA Governance?

protecting house | hoa governance

HOA governance can be frustrating for new board members. Nobody teaches you how to run a community, after all. This article will break down the process and make community governance more understandable for new board members.

What is HOA Governance?

Homeowners are usually familiar with the HOA’s general responsibilities, like common area upkeep and fee collection. However, there is more to HOA governance than just collecting dues for maintenance. In essence, homeowners associations exist to preserve property values. While upkeep is a part of that, it is not the only thing responsible for keeping property values high.

HOA governance encompasses everything required to oversee a community and create the ideal neighborhood. It involves many more things, like conducting meetings to discuss community issues, upholding community rules, and enforcing architectural standards to keep the neighborhood attractive to buyers. Moreover, the board has other responsibilities like financial management, policy creation, and vendor relationship management. 

The Fundamental Aspects of HOA Governance

In the following sections, we’ll discuss the main aspects of HOA board governance and how they achieve community goals.

Common Area Management

Common area maintenance is arguably the most famous part of HOA governance. Even those not part of an HOA know associations are responsible for upkeep. They must ensure the roads, streetlights, and amenities are well-maintained by working with vendors to keep them in good condition.

In a condominium association, the common areas include the hallways, stairwells, elevators, roofs, fences, and building facilities. Many condos also charge plumbing and electrical elements even though they cover individual units. 

Well-maintained common areas are vital because they are the clearest sign of a healthy community. Clean and well-kept common areas help the residents feel at ease knowing the board uses their fees for upkeep. Moreover, they play a crucial role in making an excellent first impression and attracting potential buyers.

Apart from upkeep, the HOA is also responsible for capital improvement projects. For example, the community might decide to construct a new amenity like a pickleball court or a community pool. Capital improvement projects also include renovations, big landscaping projects, and facility upgrades. 

Violations and Rule Enforcement

Enforcing the HOA association rules and regulations is one of the board’s major responsibilities — and for good reason. The rules in the governing documents exist to make sure the community is organized and effective. They clarify the responsibilities of both the board members and average residents.

Homeowners associations can levy fines when a member breaks a rule. The board can remove the homeowners’ rights and privileges and even take legal action against them. It’s important to note that HOAs have a legal right to do this as granted by the governing documents. 

In addition, many states have laws specifically granting this power to associations. For example, California’s Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act Section 5650(b)(2) states the association may recover a late charge not exceeding 10% or $10, whichever is greater, for delinquent assessments. 

With proper rule enforcement, homeowners can avoid violating the rules without consequences. This can be disruptive for the other residents and cause a lot of conflict. Homeowners might also refuse to pay HOA fees, leaving the common areas disrepair.

Architectural Applications

A close cousin to rule enforcement is architectural application review. In fact, it is a part of enforcing the rules because the architectural guidelines are outlined in the CC&Rs. Nevertheless, it deserves a separate section because it affects property use rights and often invites conflict. 

A community’s architectural guidelines delineate what homeowners can and cannot do with their property. Many HOAs have restrictions on fence heights, paint colors, and the types of plants they can have in their yard. Regardless, all of these guidelines exist to ensure the community remains somewhat uniform.

However, HOA board members must tread carefully when implementing new architectural policies. Homeowners often have legal rights to specific displays and architectural improvements, such as solar panels and political signage. For example, California HOAs cannot prohibit the display of non-commercial signs, flags, banners, or posters on a separate interest unless it violates the law or compromises public health and safety.

In many associations, the architectural review committee (ARC) or HOA board further develops the policies to clarify minor details. Homeowners must submit an application before undertaking any home improvement project to ensure it’s approved by the board or ARC. Likewise, the board may penalize or discipline any violators.

Meetings and Notices

Homeowners associations act like mini countries with elected leaders, legally enforceable rules, and sanctions for violations. However, this does not mean the homeowners have no say. While the directors are responsible for HOA governance, they should also consider the members’ opinions. After all, they have a fiduciary duty to act in the community’s best interest.

This is where neighborhood meetings come in. Typically, homeowners may attend HOA meetings that are not executive sessions and provide their input. Moreover, they have the right to vote on community matters — especially if the decision requires a majority vote from the membership. 

In addition, the board must send the necessary notices to all HOA members. These include notices about upcoming meetings, violations, assessment increases, and new policies. Communication is key to good governance, as it will limit the number of violations and ensure active community involvement. 

Financial Management

marketing team meeting | hoa governance

Homeowners associations have to manage their money well. The HOA board must be wise about spending HOA money as it should be put mostly into upkeep, operations, and community improvement. Moreover, they have to save enough money in the reserves in case of emergencies and major repairs. To do this, HOAs must develop and manage budgets, collect assessments, and establish good financial practices to build trust in the community.

Managing the community’s finances is one of the most complex parts of HOA governance. Nonetheless, it is crucial because it keeps the community alive. Poor financial management can lead to losses and too many debts, and the HOA may not be able to fulfill its maintenance obligations even if it wants to.

Tips for Effective HOA Governance

HOA governance is no easy task. How can the board manage the community effectively? Here are some tips that might help.

1. Create a Consistent Structure

A clear structure for HOA governance is foundational to success. It defines each board member’s responsibilities and provides a framework for decision-making. This way, everyone in the community will know how things work and who to turn to for specific problems.

We recommend turning to the community’s governing documents if you don’t know where to start. The documents often outline the board’s main responsibilities, including those of the officers. From there, you can create a structure, define voting rights, and form a chain of command so decision-making becomes easier.

In addition, the governance structure must be consistent and transparent. Each operation must be clearly outlined, especially the budgeting and election processes. This keeps the board accountable for its decisions and gives it guidance on what to do in certain situations.

2. Foster Open Communication

Homeowners associations must foster open communication within and between the board and residents. Communication channels should be clear and easily accessible. Moreover, the board should communicate with the members regularly about important issues, upcoming events, and major decisions.

Make sure to use communication channels everyone has access to. It’s also important to use multiple channels instead of just one. Doing this will ensure everyone is in the loop — even the youngest or most elderly residents. 

It’s also a good idea to allow residents to provide feedback. This creates a culture of open communication and trust, reassuring the residents that the board is listening. It will help you create a better sense of community, encouraging participation and compliance. 

3. Be Financially Responsible

HOAs must be financially responsible to ensure success. Otherwise, the community could easily fall into debt and be forced to increase its monthly assessments. It can place a big financial burden on the homeowners and even cause conflict.

What does it take to be financially responsible? First, the HOA must create a well-crafted budget that is accurate and realistic. Board members should work closely with the vendors, HOA accountant, and HOA management company to reflect the community’s needs.

Furthermore, the HOA should also create a system for financial reporting. When should they generate reports and financial statements? Moreover, how often should they conduct an audit? Doing this keeps the HOA accountable and provides a better picture of the community’s financial status. 

The Bottom Line

HOA governance involves many responsibilities. The board has to oversee all operations, manage finances, maintain common areas, and enforce the rules. It’s a lot to handle — especially if the board members do not have the experience or skills to run a planned community. 

For this reason, many homeowners associations choose to hire an HOA management company. This allows them to outsource many of the board’s toughest responsibilities, including budgeting, accounting, rule enforcement, and collections.

Does your community need help? Personalized Property Management offers premier HOA management services in Southern California. Call us at 760-325-9500 or email us at for more details!


How To Make Foolproof HOA Service Contracts

installing grass | hoa service contract

Creating a foolproof HOA service contract is essential to ensure smooth and efficient homeowners association operations. An effective contract protects the HOA and the service provider by clarifying expectations, responsibilities, and dispute resolution.

What is an HOA Service Contract?

An HOA service contract, or an HOA vendor agreement, is a legally binding document between a homeowners association and a service provider. This contract outlines the scope of services, payment terms, duration, and other essential details necessary to deliver specified services. 

These agreements are fundamental in maintaining community amenities and ensuring all parties understand their responsibilities.

In California, the HOA board can convene for an executive session to discuss vendor contracts. Civil Code Section 4935 specifically states this. However, board members should also check their governing documents for additional guidance on vendor contracts.

Key Items to Include in HOA Vendor Contracts

Certain key elements must be included in a comprehensive and effective HOA service contract. These components provide clarity and protection for the HOA and the service provider. 

Here are the essential items to include in your HOA contractor agreements.

1. Names and Pertinent Details of Parties

First and foremost, the HOA service agreements must clearly state the names and pertinent details of all parties involved. This includes the HOA’s official name, the service provider’s name, and any relevant contact information. 

By clearly identifying the parties, you can prevent confusion and ensure that both sides are defined in the agreement. This also includes specifying any aliases or additional names under which the service provider might operate. This way, there is no ambiguity, mainly if legal disputes arise.

2. Detailed Scope of Work

The scope of work is arguably the most critical part of an HOA service agreement. It should provide a detailed description of the services that the provider must perform. This includes specific tasks, schedules, and standards of performance. A well-defined scope of work sets clear expectations. It minimizes the potential for misunderstandings or disputes regarding the services provided.

This section should also outline the frequency of the services (e.g., weekly, monthly, seasonally) and any special conditions or requirements. For instance, if the service involves landscaping, the contract should specify the types of plants the provider will use, the maintenance schedule, and any seasonal adjustments.

3. Clearly Defined Price Sheet and Terms

discussing contract | hoa service contract

The contract must include a comprehensive price sheet detailing the cost of services and the terms of payment. This section should specify whether the HOA must make payments made upfront, upon completion, or regularly. 

Additionally, it should outline any conditions for payment adjustments and the process for invoicing. Transparent pricing and payment terms help avoid financial disagreements. It is also essential to include information about late fees or penalties for missed payments. The contract should also detail any discounts or incentives for early or lump-sum payments.

4. Extra Services and Charges (If Any)

If potential extra services or additional charges arise, they should be clearly outlined in the contract. This section should specify what constitutes extra services, how the provider will charge for these services, and the approval process for any additional work. This ensures that both parties know and agree to any potential extra costs. 

For example, if an HOA hires a contractor for routine maintenance but might also handle emergency repairs when asked, the contract should outline the rates for unexpected services. It should also indicate how the authorization of those services will take place.

5. Insurance Coverage and Indemnification

Insurance coverage and indemnification are crucial for protecting both the HOA and the service provider from potential liabilities. The contract should specify the types and amounts of insurance required, such as general liability, workers’ compensation, and professional liability insurance. 

Additionally, it is important to include an indemnification clause to ensure that each party has protection against claims arising from the other party’s actions or negligence. This means the service provider should hold the HOA harmless against any lawsuits or claims that might result from the services performed. Doing this ensures that the HOA is not financially burdened due to the contractor’s actions.

6. Contract Duration

The contract should clearly state the duration of the agreement, including the start and end dates. This section should also outline any contract renewal or extension conditions.

Having a defined duration helps both parties plan and manage their obligations effectively. IncludingIt’s any milestones or checkpoints during the contract period is also beneficial. The HOA will review the service provider’s performance to account for any necessary adjustments.

7. No Auto-Renewal Clause

An auto-renewal clause means that the agreement between the HOA and the service provider will renew automatically for a specified number of years if the HOA fails to terminate before a specified period. While clear, this clause can still blindside the association.

To counteract this, you should ensure the contract does not contain an auto-renewal clause. This way, the HOA can have the opportunity to review and renegotiate the terms before committing to an extension. The service provider can also benefit from this in the same way.

If the service provider insists on an auto-renewal clause and there is no other alternative, your HOA board should mark the deadline in your calendar. This way, you can cancel the contract and potentially renegotiate.

8. Remedy Clause

A remedy clause outlines the steps to be taken if either party fails to meet their contractual obligations. This section should specify a party’s actions to resolve any breaches. These actions include requiring corrective work, withholding payment, or terminating the contract. 

Clearly defined remedies help ensure parties can promptly and fairly address any issues. This clause should also specify the process for filing complaints or grievances and the timeline within which a party must resolve issues.

9. Termination Policy

The termination policy outlines the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract. This section should include the required notice period, acceptable grounds for termination, and any associated penalties or obligations. 

A clear termination policy provides a structured process for ending the contract if necessary. It is also wise to include provisions for terminating the contract without cause. This will allow either party to exit the agreement under agreed-upon terms.

10. Warranties

Warranties assure that the contractor’s services will meet certain quality and performance standards. The contract should indicate any warranties that the service provider or contractor will provide. This includes the duration and conditions of the warranty. 

Warranties help protect the HOA by ensuring that the contractor will address any deficiencies in the services provided. For example, if a contractor installs new equipment or infrastructure, the warranty should cover any defects or issues that arise within a specified period.

11. Lien Waivers

Lien waivers are documents that release the HOA from any future claims by the service provider for unpaid work. Including lien waivers in the contract helps protect the HOA from potential legal claims and financial liabilities. This section should outline the process for obtaining lien waivers upon completion of the work. 

Lien waivers are particularly important in construction and large-scale maintenance projects where subcontractors and suppliers might also be involved. They ensure that the HOA is not held liable for payments the contractor fails to make.

12. Exhibits

Exhibits are additional documents or attachments that provide further detail or clarification on specific aspects of the contract. These may include detailed work schedules, pricing breakdowns, or specific technical specifications. 

When you include exhibits, you can help clearly document all relevant information. This also ensures accessibility. Exhibits might also include copies of required licenses, certifications, or other documents proving the service provider’s qualifications and compliance with local regulations.

13. Signatures and Dates

contract signing | hoa service contract

Finally, the contract must be signed and dated by authorized representatives of the HOA and the service provider. This formalizes the agreement and indicates that both parties agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. 

Signatures and dates provide legal validation and can play a crucial role in resolving future disputes. Having the signatures witnessed or notarized is also beneficial, adding an extra layer of legal protection.

For Your HOA’s Protection

Crafting a foolproof HOA service contract is essential for ensuring your community’s smooth operation and maintenance. By including these key elements in your HOA contractor agreements, you can protect the interests of your HOA, set clear expectations for service providers, and reduce the risk of disputes.

Let Personalized Property Management help you in evaluating and negotiating service contracts. Call us today at 760-325-9500 or email us at to learn more!

How Does A Leased Land In Coachella Valley Work?

community land plan | leased land in coachella valley

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a piece of paradise in Southern California, you may have come across the concept of leased land in Coachella Valley. This unique arrangement, particularly prevalent in areas like Palm Springs, can initially be a bit confusing. However, it is a relatively easy concept to grasp.

What Is Leased Land?

Leased land is a property arrangement where you own the building or structure on the land but not the land itself. Instead, you lease the land from the actual owner for a specified period, often ranging from 25 to 99 years. This means you pay rent for the use of the land while enjoying all the benefits of owning the home or building on it. 

The idea might sound unusual if you’re more familiar with traditional property ownership, but it’s a common practice in several regions across the United States, including the Coachella Valley. Lease terms, rent adjustments, and renewal options can vary widely in leased land agreements. Understanding these terms before entering into such an agreement is critical to avoid any surprises down the line.

What Is Fee Simple Land?

In contrast to leased land, fee simple land is the most complete form of property ownership. When you own property in fee simple, you fully own the land and any structures on it. This type of ownership is what most people are familiar with. It is the standard in most residential real estate transactions. 

With fee simple ownership, you can use the property as you wish (within zoning laws), sell it, lease it, or pass it on to heirs. Fee simple ownership provides stability and permanence that leased land arrangements might lack. 

There are no lease terms to negotiate. You don’t have to worry about lease expirations or rent increases. However, fee simple properties in desirable areas like Palm Springs often have a higher price tag than leased land options.

Lease Land vs Fee Land in Palm Springs

When considering real estate in Palm Springs, you might encounter both leased land and fee simple land options. The Palm Springs land lease arrangements are particularly notable due to the area’s historical and cultural context. Much of the land in Palm Springs is owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who lease it to homeowners and developers.

This Palm Springs land lease setup means that many properties, especially those in prime locations, are on leased land. While this can make property prices more accessible, it’s important to understand the lease terms and the potential for future rent increases. Fee simple land in Palm Springs, on the other hand, tends to be more expensive but offers full ownership and the peace of mind that comes with it.

Benefits of Leased Land Over Fee Simple Land

house sketch | leased land in coachella valley

One of the most significant advantages of leased land is the lower upfront cost. Since you’re only purchasing the structure and not the land itself, the initial investment is often considerably less than a fee simple property. This can make owning a home in Palm Springs more accessible to a broader range of buyers.

Another benefit of leased land is related to property taxes. Generally, property taxes are assessed based on the value of the land and its structures. Since you don’t own the land in a leased land arrangement, your property tax bill might be lower than a fee simple property of similar value.

While appreciation can be more complicated with leased land, it’s not impossible. Properties on leased land can still appreciate, particularly in desirable areas like Palm Springs. However, it’s essential to consider the remaining term of the lease when evaluating resale value. Homes with longer remaining lease terms are typically more attractive to buyers.

Finally, leased land properties are transferable, meaning you can sell your home and transfer the lease to the new owner. However, the terms of the lease agreement will dictate any specific requirements or restrictions on transferability. Understanding these terms is crucial to ensuring a smooth transaction.

History of Coachella Valley Indian Lease Land

The history of leased land in Coachella Valley is deeply intertwined with the region’s Native American heritage. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has been a significant landholder for centuries. In the 19th century, the U.S. government established reservations for the tribe, granting them significant portions of land in Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley.

The federal government held these lands in trust for the tribe’s benefit. Over time, the tribe began leasing these lands to non-tribal members for residential, commercial, and agricultural purposes. This leasing arrangement provided the tribe with a steady income stream while allowing others to develop and utilize the land.

Today, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians continues to lease their land to homeowners, businesses, and developers. This long-standing practice has shaped the real estate market in Coachella Valley, making leased land a common and accepted part of property ownership in the region.

How Does a Leased Land in Coachella Valley Work?

Leased land in Coachella Valley operates under unique conditions. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians owns much of this land, which they lease to individuals and developers. These leases typically span long periods, often 65 years or more, providing a semblance of stability for owners.

When you purchase a home on leased land in Coachella Valley, you are buying the structure and the right to use the land for the duration of the lease. The lease agreement will outline the terms, including the lease period, rent adjustments, and renewal options. It’s crucial to read and understand these terms thoroughly before purchasing.

One advantage of leased land in Coachella Valley is the lower initial cost compared to fee simple properties. However, buyers must factor in the ongoing lease payments and potential increases over time. It’s also important to consider what happens at the end of the lease term. In many cases, leases are renewed, but this is not guaranteed. Plus, the terms of renewal may change.

Do the Indians Own the Land in Palm Springs?

Yes, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians owns a significant portion of the land in Palm Springs. This ownership dates back to the 19th century when the U.S. government granted land to the tribe as part of treaties and agreements. The federal government holds the land in trust for the tribe’s benefit, which means that the tribe retains ownership and can lease it to individuals and businesses.

The tribe’s ownership of the land has shaped the real estate market in Palm Springs, leading to the prevalence of land lease agreements. These leases provide the tribe with a stable source of revenue while allowing homeowners to enjoy the benefits of living in this desirable area. The arrangement also helps preserve the tribe’s cultural and historical ties to the land.

Is Land Lease Monthly or Yearly?

Land lease payments can be structured in various ways, depending on the terms of the lease agreement. In many cases, land lease payments follow a monthly structure, similar to a traditional rental agreement. This allows for easier budgeting and cash flow management for homeowners.

However, some leases may require upfront yearly or lump-sum payments for the entire lease term. The lease agreement should clearly outline the payment structure. Moreover, it’s vital to understand these terms before committing to a property on leased land. Beyond that, lease agreements often include provisions for rent adjustments, which factors such as inflation and market value changes can influence.

Does Leased Land Affect Property Value?

Leased land can impact property value, both positively and negatively. On the positive side, the lower initial cost of properties on leased land can make them more attractive to buyers, particularly in high-demand areas like Palm Springs. This affordability can lead to higher demand and, consequently, higher property values.

However, the lease terms can also affect the property’s value. Properties with shorter remaining lease terms or less favorable lease terms may be less attractive to buyers, potentially lowering their market value. In addition, uncertainty about future lease renewals or rent increases can impact the perceived value of a property on leased land.

Buyers should carefully evaluate the lease terms and consider how they might affect the property’s long-term value. When in doubt, consult with real estate professionals and legal advisors.

Getting a Mortgage on Leased Land

Obtaining a mortgage on leased land can be more complex than financing a fee simple property, but it’s certainly possible. Lenders typically require that the lease term extends well beyond the mortgage term, usually by at least 10 to 20 years. This ensures the borrower retains the right to occupy the property throughout the mortgage period.

Lenders will also carefully review the lease terms to assess potential risks, such as rent escalation clauses or restrictive renewal terms. Some lenders may have specific requirements for leased land properties, so it’s crucial to work with a lender experienced in this type of financing. Lenders in the Palm Springs area tend to grasp better how leased land works.

Buyers should also prepare themselves for a potentially longer and more involved loan approval process. However, securing a leased land mortgage in Coachella Valley is feasible with the right preparation and understanding of the lease terms.

The Final Word

Navigating the world of leased land in Coachella Valley can come as a challenge. However, it offers unique opportunities for ownership in one of California’s most sought-after regions. A real estate professional or property management company can certainly help with the process.

Personalized Property Management offers expert management services to HOAs and condos in Southern California. Call us today at 760-325-9500 or email us at to learn more!

HOA Meeting Minutes Rules

woman leading a meeting | hoa meeting minutes rules

Understanding and adhering to HOA meeting minutes rules is essential for any HOA. Meeting minutes are a crucial part of operations. They serve as a record of decisions made and actions taken. Not all communities, though, know how to take them properly.

HOA Meeting Minutes Rules

Meetings are a normal part of running a homeowners association. They come in several forms, including annual meetings, regular board meetings, and executive session meetings. One thing that all these meetings have in common, though, is the need for meeting minutes.

Meeting minutes are a vital documentation method. They help associations keep a record of things that happened, actions that were taken, and decisions that were made at a particular meeting. Most of the time, it is even a requirement to take meeting minutes in an HOA. In California, Corporations Code Section 8320 details this requirement.

Beyond the obligation to take minutes, though, there are also certain rules that associations must keep in mind. Here are the most important HOA meeting minutes rules.

1. Follow State Laws and Governing Documents

Every HOA operates under a set of state laws and governing documents. These include the association’s bylaws and covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).  These documents often specify the HOA board meeting minutes legal requirements. 

It is imperative to review and adhere to these regulations to ensure compliance. For instance, some states may require that meeting minutes be made available to members within a specific time frame, while others might stipulate the level of detail required in the minutes.

2. Keep It Brief and Concise

Effective HOA meeting minutes should be brief and concise. The goal is to capture the essence of the meeting without sharing unnecessary details. 

Minutes should include key points such as the date and time of the meeting, attendees, major decisions made, action items, and any votes taken. Avoid recording every word spoken. Minutes are not a play-by-play of the meeting. Instead, it is best to focus on summarizing discussions and decisions in a clear and concise manner.

3. Maintain Professionalism

Professionalism is crucial when documenting HOA meeting minutes. The taker should adopt a neutral and objective tone, being careful to avoid any personal comments, opinions, or biases. 

It is also important to follow the HOA minutes rules regarding the format and style of the minutes. Using a consistent format helps maintain clarity. This, in turn, ensures that members can easily read and understand the contents of the document.

4. Work Promptly

clock table | hoa meeting minutes rules

Timeliness is key when it comes to preparing and distributing meeting minutes. Ideally, the taker should draft the minutes and review them shortly after the meeting concludes. This is best since the details of the meeting are still fresh.

Promptly working on the minutes ensures accuracy and allows the board to distribute them to members in a timely manner. When this happens, the board can foster transparency and keep everyone in the loop.

Some associations may opt to use recording devices to help keep details consistent. However, recording a meeting and its attendees may not always be permissible. An HOA board should first confirm with state laws and its governing documents to see if it is allowed. When in doubt, it is a good idea to seek advice from a lawyer.

5. Seek Approval

Before finalizing the meeting minutes, the board should review and approve them. This step is essential to ensure that the minutes accurately reflect the discussions and decisions made during the meeting. 

Board approval also helps in maintaining the integrity and credibility of the minutes. Typically, the approval process involves presenting the draft minutes at the next board meeting for review and any necessary amendments. Once the board sees no issue with the minutes, it can give its stamp of approval. Other HOAs, though, perform before the next meeting.

6. Retain Minutes

Retaining a copy of the meeting minutes is crucial for legal and historical purposes. The HOA board should store the minutes in a secure yet accessible location. They can do this in a physical or digital format.

Most state laws and governing documents specify a retention period, ranging from a few years to permanently. In California, Civil Code Section 5210 requires HOAs to retain minutes permanently. 

7. Distribute Minutes to Members

Once approved, the HOA board should distribute a copy of the meeting minutes to all members of the community. The board can distribute meeting minutes through various means. These include email, snail mail, and posting on the association website.

It is essential to distribute meeting minutes to ensure transparency. Doing this also ensures that homeowners remain informed about the board’s decisions and actions. It helps boost engagement and a sense of community. 

Furthermore, many states require it. In California, Civil Code Section 4950 states that the HOA must distribute draft minutes to members within 30 calendar days of the meeting. Alternatively, an HOA can distribute a summary of the meeting within the same timeframe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the ins and outs of HOA meeting minutes rules can come as a challenge to anyone. To help out HOA communities, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding meeting minutes.

What should not be included in board meeting minutes?

Board meeting minutes should avoid including personal opinions, irrelevant discussions, or detailed accounts of conversations. Instead, the minutes taker should focus on documenting decisions, action items, and any motions or votes. 

It is also best to omit sensitive information, such as confidential legal or personnel matters, to protect privacy and comply with legal requirements. The Davis-Stirling Act of California has provided a copy of sample meeting minutes for easy recording.

Do all board members need to approve meeting minutes?

While it is common for the board to approve meeting minutes, it is not always necessary for every board member to individually approve them. The approval process typically involves a majority vote during a subsequent meeting. Once the majority approves, the minutes become the official record of the meeting.

Can the HOA board meeting minutes be changed?

Yes, an HOA can still amend meeting minutes if there are errors or omissions. It is crucial to make any changes in a prompt manner. These changes should also be documented clearly, with the dates and nature of the amendment stated. 

It is best to make amendments to the meeting minutes before approving them. However, there may be cases wherein approved minutes must undergo edits. It is also possible to amend approved minutes. In such cases, the HOA board must re-approve the amended meeting minutes.

Should board meeting minutes be signed?

It is a good practice to have the meeting minutes signed by the person who prepared them. In any organization, the secretary usually takes on this responsibility. Apart from the secretary, another officer, typically the board president, signs the meeting minutes.

While it may seem unnecessary, signing the meeting minutes adds a layer of authenticity and authority to the document. It also serves as a way to formalize the minutes as an official record of the meeting.

What are Robert’s rules on minutes approval?

Robert’s Rules of Order, a widely used guide for parliamentary procedure, recommends that the board review and approve the minutes at the next regular meeting. During this meeting, members can propose corrections. Once any amendments are made, the minutes are approved by a majority vote. This process ensures that the minutes accurately reflect the proceedings of the previous meeting.

What happens if meeting minutes are not approved?

If the HOA board fails to approve the meeting minutes, they remain in draft form and do not serve as the official record of the meeting. This can lead to issues with accountability and transparency. It is essential for the board to address any concerns or discrepancies and seek approval promptly to avoid any problems.

Who has access to HOA meeting minutes?

All members of the association typically have access to the HOA meeting minutes. Most state laws allow homeowners to inspect and copy the association’s records. However, this typically doesn’t include the right to inspect the minutes of an executive session meeting.

Apart from state laws, the governing documents should also contain information about records inspection. There are certain procedures that an HOA must follow when it receives a request from a homeowner, though this can vary from one association to another.

Can HOA meeting minutes be used in court?

Yes, HOA meeting minutes can be used in court as evidence. They serve as a legal record of the board’s actions and decisions. They can play a critical role in resolving disputes or legal challenges. 

Thus, it is essential to ensure that minutes are accurate, objective, and professionally prepared. This way, they can prove useful in a lawsuit and withstand scrutiny.

The Bottom Line

Adhering to HOA meeting minutes rules is vital for effective governance and transparency within a homeowners association. Properly documented and managed meeting minutes help foster a sense of community, accountability, and trust among HOA members. This contributes to the smooth and efficient operation of the association.

Personalized Property Management offers expert management services to HOAs and condos in Southern California. Call us today at 760-325-9500 or email us at to learn more!

7 Best Recruiting HOA Board Members

offering a shake hand | recruiting HOA board members

Recruiting HOA board members is a critical part of ensuring a community remains in good working order. Board members act as the leaders of an association. Without them, there would be no one making the tough decisions and maintaining operations. 

The Importance of Recruiting HOA Board Members

Homeowners associations rely on board members to keep operations running. Board members juggle many responsibilities, including collecting dues, enforcing policies, maintaining common areas, and managing HOA finances. As such, they play a key role in ensuring the community thrives, and property values remain high.

While the HOA board is clearly vital to any association, many communities struggle with recruiting HOA board members. Board members are volunteer homeowners, after all, which means they don’t receive compensation for their service. They also don’t get discounts on fees or special treatment. Without perks, many residents don’t feel inclined to join the board.

Still, a competent HOA board is essential to ensuring a fully functioning association. When an HOA can’t fill its board, it may be forced into receivership. This is not an ideal scenario, as receivers don’t always have the HOA’s best interest at heart.

Furthermore, if an HOA can’t recruit new board members, old board members may be stuck in their positions indefinitely. This would be unfair to them as they may be forced to serve out of obligation even if they wish to step down. 

On the other side of the spectrum, this can make the HOA vulnerable to abuse or dictatorship. When the same people stay in positions of power for a long time, there is a higher likelihood of financial misdeeds that go unnoticed. Not only does it give board members enough time and opportunity, but it also signals indifference from homeowners.

How to Recruit People to Your HOA Board

Homeowners in an HOA community typically have full-time jobs, families to look after, and personal lives to lead. They aren’t usually interested in taking on a leadership role. However, given the importance of board members, an HOA can’t go without them.

The recruitment process is often lined with challenges and obstacles. Many associations lack an adequate pool of candidates, while others consist of disinterested homeowners. Fortunately, there are some methods an HOA board can use to turn things around and find suitable prospects.

Here are the best ways to recruit HOA board members.

1. Write an HOA Board Recruitment Letter

The first thing an HOA should do is write an HOA board member recruitment letter. This letter should include pertinent information about becoming a board member. It should let people know that serving on the HOA board requires time and commitment.

A well-written recruitment letter should also outline the expectations of the HOA. Board members have to make hard decisions, which can sometimes backfire or be received poorly by their neighbors. Board members must prioritize the community’s best interests, so they should be prepared to fight for their decisions. Fortunately, board meetings provide a way to explain the reasons behind certain decisions and actions.

Of course, the recruitment letter shouldn’t sound off-putting. It is meant to encourage homeowners to join the board. Thus, it is best to adopt an inviting tone to let homeowners know that the board picked them because their opinions are valued.

2. Advertise

we need you banner | recruiting HOA board members

Between jobs and personal lives, most homeowners might not even know that elections are coming up and that the HOA is seeking candidates. This is particularly common in larger communities.

To ensure everyone gets word, it is important to advertise everywhere. The HOA board should use every communication channel at its disposal to let residents know that they can run for positions. Use newsletters, social media pages, traditional mail, email, and text messages.

Additionally, it is a good idea to start advertising well in advance. This gives homeowners enough time and the opportunity to think about whether or not they wish to join the board. The ad should also encourage people to attend board meetings to get more information.

3. Get to Know Residents

Sometimes, getting to know fellow homeowners is the best way to recruit HOA board members. Current board members should organize social events and attend them. This will give them a chance to identify potential candidates. Talking to homeowners about their interests, skills, and hopes for the community is an excellent way to accomplish this.

In-person recruitment tends to work better than written ones because they are more personal. It fosters a connection between current board members and potential candidates. Homeowners are also more likely to respond to recruitment efforts when they hear board members’ sincerity in their efforts.

4. Use Complaints to Identify Potential

Complaints are a normal part of running a community. Instead of viewing them as negatives, board members should think of them as opportunities – both for improvement and for recruitment.

Sort through complaints and identify which of them have merit. Finding out who made the complaints is a good way to spot homeowners who care enough about the community to share their feedback and ideas. These are homeowners who will make good leaders. If they truly want to make a change for the better, joining the HOA board is the best way to do it because they can make a difference.

5. Educate

More often than not, homeowners are afraid to join the HOA board because they have certain preconceived notions about what it means to do so. Many homeowners think that serving the board is tedious. One way to change their minds is to educate them on what board members do.

The current HOA board can achieve this by sharing and showing what activities they do every week. Board members can publish pieces in the newsletter or highlight accomplishments during a specified portion of board meetings. When homeowners see board members doing important work, they might feel more inspired to follow the example.

In addition to educating homeowners, board members should also be ready to answer any questions they might have. Writing a piece or letter on what board members do is easy. Faced with a question on the spot, though, it can quickly throw people off their axis. As such, current board members should prepare themselves mentally to give informative yet professional answers.

6. Start Small

Joining the HOA board is a big commitment, and not all homeowners are ready to jump into it headfirst. Sometimes, it is best to start small and work their way up.

Board members can do this by encouraging homeowners to join committees or helping with low-commitment projects. Once they taste serving the community, they might discover that they like the feeling. This can lead to larger commitments and a future on the HOA board.

For instance, a homeowner can join the social events committee if they are interested in planning social events. They can stop there or take things one step further by running for the HOA board in the next election. A homeowner who has a background in financial management may prove to be an asset to the finance committee and, in the future, the HOA board.

7. Appoint If You Can

pointing at you | recruiting HOA board members

In some communities, board members may have the authority to appoint homeowners. However, this depends on two things: state laws and the governing documents. In California, an HOA can appoint directors to fill vacancies due to a resignation. 

Bad Recruitment Practices

Recruiting HOA board members is important to any community, but it is equally important not to overstep bounds. It is best to stay away from bad recruiting practices or tactics.

One example of this is to resort to bribery. Board members should never send gifts or offer pay to homeowners in exchange for their service on the HOA board. Remember that board members are volunteers, which means they don’t receive compensation.

Another example of a bad recruitment practice is intimidation. Intimidating a homeowner into joining the board is essentially an act of force. It is not only unethical and, quite possibly, unlawful, but it is also bad for the community. Board members forced to serve won’t have their heart in it, which means they will likely do a bad job.

Board members should stick to moral, legal, and authorized recruitment strategies. State laws and the association’s governing documents can prove helpful in this process. However, it is also a good idea to seek advice from a lawyer, especially when faced with gray situations. This will help the association protect itself and its members from potential liability.

Inspire Homeowners to Leadership

Recruiting HOA board members is not always an easy task. A lot of associations struggle with it. Many homeowners understandably feel apprehensive about joining the HOA board. The key to overcoming this is to educate owners, get to know them personally, and encourage them to use their talents for the community.

Personalized Property Management offers expert management services to HOAs and condos in Southern California. Call us today at 760-325-9500 or email us at to learn more!

Setting Limits For HOA Committees

smiling people | limits for HOA committees

HOA committees are instrumental to success in many communities. They conduct important tasks such as budget creation, architectural request reviews, and election planning. Like any task force, though, there should be limits for HOA committees. 

Types of HOA Committees

There are different types of HOA committees. The period of a committee’s continual existence depends on its type. 

  • Executive Committee. This type of committee is composed only of HOA board members.
  • Standing committees exist indefinitely and perform continuous tasks. Common examples include architectural review committees and finance committees.
  • Special or Ad Hoc Committee. This type of committee exists to address specific problems and dissolves upon fulfilling its purpose. Common examples include decorating committees and special events committees. 

What Are the Right Size Limits for HOA Committees?

How many members should be on an HOA committee? Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule regarding committee size. Some committees will have only one member, while others will have several. In many cases, the committee’s size is determined by whatever the board considers necessary.

On the other hand, this does not mean that HOA boards should choose committee sizes on a whim. Size does matter, and it can determine the task force’s effectiveness. Too large committees can be difficult to manage as too many participants weigh in. Meanwhile, committees that are too small for the job might suffer from overwork and inefficiency.

Typically, homeowners association committees range from 2-7 participants. Most committee sizes fall somewhere in between. It’s generally best to determine a committee’s size based on the task and community size.

For example, an architectural review committee for a small HOA might require only 2-3 members. A small group is often enough to inspect homes, review requests, and coordinate with the board. Meanwhile, a large community of 200 properties might need more committee members to divide the workload.

Should There Be Term Limits for HOA Committees?

hand shke on a meeting | limits for HOA committees

In ad hoc committees, the length of service is generally straightforward. Members stay until the task is done and leave once it is finished. However, things are a little more complicated for standing committees. Should associations set term limits on committee members or let them serve as long as they’re willing to? 

This is a good problem, as homeowners associations often struggle to find even a few volunteers. Nonetheless, it is an important question, especially if residents want to serve on a committee but find no openings.

Experts generally agree that neither answer is strictly right or wrong. The same applies to members of the board. If a board member can be re-elected every year, why should the community set term limits when they’re doing a good job? 

HOAs are like mini-democratic societies. The community can elect the board it wants and recall directors who misbehave or do a poor job. Likewise, the board can usually remove committee members who do not help the community meaningfully. 

Conversely, some communities believe finding new blood is vital to community health. This allows the HOA to find new talent and create turnover responsibilities for people as new residents come into the neighborhood. Moreover, it will enable the other members to rest and take a break.

Whether the association foregoes or implements term limits depends on the community’s wishes. If the residents are satisfied with perpetual membership, then so be it. They can also implement term limits if they want to — but it is not always necessary. 

How Long Should Term Limits Be?

In some communities, HOA committee members can serve for decades without leaving their positions. However, if a neighborhood wants to set a term limit, how long should committee members stay in their positions? When should they be replaced? 

Committee term limits can be complex. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to term limits. On the other hand, there are some things an HOA can consider when determining how long members should serve.

1. HOA Size and Complexity

Generally, they should be based on the community’s size and complexity. Larger or more complex neighborhoods may benefit from longer terms to allow the members to gain experience and skills. Meanwhile, smaller neighborhoods are easier to handle. More frequent turnovers can introduce fresh perspectives and improve the community more. 

2. Volunteer Availability

Homeowners are not always available to serve the community. Many communities find it hard to encourage residents to volunteer. Longer terms make more sense if very few are available in your neighborhood. It could be more beneficial to do away with term limits entirely. 

However, shorter limits would be a good idea if there were many eager volunteers in the community. This would give them more opportunities to serve, allowing them to become more invested in the community and feel a sense of belonging. 

3. Balancing Fresh Ideas and Continuity

Long-term and short-term limits have pros and cons. On the one hand, longer limits provide the committee with more stability and continuity. They won’t abandon projects or suddenly reverse their decisions.

On the other hand, shorter limits encourage innovation and introduce more fresh ideas. This can be appropriate for committees that need more variety in idea generation, such as social media committees and events committees. 

4. Governing Documents

The governing documents may have provisions that specify the terms of certain committees. Remember to review them to ensure compliance. If the provisions are too limiting or lenient, the association may amend them to accommodate the community’s needs. 

Who Can Serve on HOA Committees?

Some communities may limit who can serve on HOA committees. However, except for executive committees, all residents should be able to serve on advisory committees. Of course, this does not mean HOAs should accept any applicants. The HOA should still have a set criteria for committee members.

The HOA board is often responsible for setting the qualifications, although the bylaws may also outline certain criteria. Common examples of criteria include the following:

  • Good standing and not delinquent in paying HOA fees
  • Residing within the community
  • Attended a majority of the HOA meetings for the past year

In addition, certain committees may have ex officio members. The term “ex officio” means “by position or office.” Ex officio committee members often serve on the committee because of another position. 

For example, many HOA bylaws consider the president a member of every committee because of their position. This means the president has a right to participate in all committee proceedings and meetings. However, they have no obligation to do so. 

Improving HOA Committee Appointments

Managing HOA committee terms and members can be difficult. Homeowners associations can take the following steps to improve how they appoint committee members. 

1. Stagger Committee Terms

HOA committees need to be robust and efficient. For this reason, replacing all old members with new blood is usually not a good idea. Getting rid of all the veterans could jeopardize the committee’s effectiveness. 

Instead, consider staggering term limits so that only a few slots become vacant. The remaining members can train the newly appointed ones before their term ends, giving the new members enough time to learn the ropes and gain experience.

2. Interview Candidates Beforehand

talkingto client | limits for HOA committees

HOAs should be careful when appointing committee members. It’s not enough for them to be willing to serve; they must also be on the same page as the board. This is especially true for the architectural review committee. The appointed members should have the same thoughts as the board. Otherwise, they could send mixed signals to the homeowners and cause conflict. 

Interview these types of positions beforehand. This will ensure that you hire the best candidates and that the association operates and enforces rules consistently.

3. Consider Expansion

It’s a good thing when many residents are willing to serve. If there are a lot of candidates and not enough positions, consider expanding certain committees and adding positions. For instance, the architectural review committee could have 5 instead of 3 members on board. This will allow them to divide the work more evenly and allow them more breathing room.

A Case-to-Case Decision

While all committees have size restrictions, they do not always have term limits. Setting term limits for HOA committees falls under the board’s discretion. Term limits can have advantages as they encourage participation and foster innovation. However, keeping the veterans on board perpetually can also benefit communities that want more stability. 

HOA committees are helpful for associations that need more hands to help, but having professional help is still helpful if operations are hard to manage. Personalized Property Management is the best one you can find in Southern California. Call us now at 760-325-9500 or contact us online for more details!


HOA Meeting No Quorum: What Happens Now?

alone in a meeting room | hoa meeting no quorum

HOA meetings are integral to the functioning of a homeowners association. It is where the board discusses community issues, reaches conclusions, and takes formal actions. However, HOA meetings need a quorum to be valid. What happens if there is an HOA meeting with no quorum?

What Is a Quorum?

Before we discuss the nitty-gritty details of what to do without a quorum, we must first define what a quorum is. Put simply, a quorum is the minimum number of attendees required for a meeting to be valid. The quorum will vary depending on the community size and the provisions of the governing documents.

What happens if a quorum is not met? Can you start a meeting without a quorum? No, the board cannot conduct official business or take votes without a quorum. The meeting is not legalized or considered official. Any actions taken, decisions made, or meeting minutes are void. 

Why Is Reaching a Quorum Important?

A quorum is important because it protects the interests of the entire neighborhood. Imagine making certain decisions wherein only a few people vote on the action. The decision might not reflect the will of the majority of neighborhood residents. Moreover, the rest of the community will have to live with the decisions of the minority.

With a quorum requirement, the community must submit actions and decisions to a majority vote before they’re approved. This guarantees that the board of directors is not abusing its power and acting in its selfish interests. It keeps things fair and prevents the board from dominating the decision-making process. 

HOA Quorum Requirements

asking a question | hoa meeting no quorum

What are the requirements for a quorum for a meeting? Typically, the community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) or the Bylaws contain the community’s quorum requirements. They may specify the number or percentage of homeowners required for member meetings. 

Common quorum requirements within communities can range from 25% to as much as 51% of the voting members. The size may also depend on the quorum, as master associations with over 500 properties typically set it at 15%. Many will also define a quorum as a simple majority of the voting power.

Consulting State Law

It’s also important to consult state law to verify what constitutes a quorum. For example, California Civil Code Section 5115(d) states that all ballots count toward the quorum, including write-in and blank ballots

The association may also defer to state law if the community’s governing documents are silent. California Civil Code Section 5115(d)(2) states that beginning January 1, 2024, associations without quorum provisions may conduct board elections (but not for board recalls) at a reduced quorum of 20%. 

Other Quorum-Related Requirements

Some communities only require a quorum of the membership at member meetings, not a quorum of the board, which is usually only needed for board meetings. On a different note, many are concerned about losing quorums during meetings. This happens when attendees who count toward the quorum leave a meeting early. 

Can you have a board meeting without a quorum in this case? The loss of a quorum does not invalidate the meeting, and the board can continue transacting business. However, this is also subject to state law and the governing documents. In California, Corporate Code Section 7512(c) states that actions at meetings that lose a quorum may be approved only by a majority of HOA members needed to constitute a quorum. 

HOA Meeting No Quorum: What Should You Do?

What should the association do if the HOA annual meeting has no quorum? As frustrating as it sounds, the association should adjourn and reschedule the meeting. This can cost money and take more work for the board. However, continuing the current meeting wastes time because no action or decision will be valid.

In the meantime, any board elections, HOA budget approvals, or discussions on major community decisions will have to be postponed. The current board must continue to serve in their positions until they can elect new members. Moreover, last year’s budget will remain effective until the members approve the new one at a meeting with a quorum. 

How to Ensure Quorum at HOA Meetings

Achieving a quorum is not always easy. It is common for community members to regularly fail to attend meetings, either because they have no time or because they are uninterested. 

This can be dangerous as no quorum means no meeting or business conducted. It’s especially detrimental when there is no quorum at the HOA annual meeting, and the community needs to elect new directors. In this case, how can you conduct an HOA meeting with a lack of quorum? Here are some actions to consider.

1. Remind the Homeowners

When there is no quorum at an HOA meeting, homeowners suffer the most. The board cannot use a new and more accurate budget to accommodate the community’s needs, enact certain policies, or take actions that require a majority vote.

Moreover, failing to elect new directors might put the community at risk of receivership, depending on the circumstances. Receiverships often cost a lot of money, and the community might see a spike in HOA fees as a result. 

It’s important to remind the homeowners of these consequences and make sure they understand why it’s crucial for them to attend and participate in community meetings.

2. Hold Meetings at Reasonable Hours

HOA meetings are important, but most homeowners will refuse to attend if you hold them during a workday. Familiarize yourself with the community’s demographics and hold meetings when convenient.

3. Set an Agenda

Homeowners associations can entice community members by informing them of the agenda of the meeting. They might be encouraged to attend if the topics are interesting and will meaningfully affect their lives.

4. Use Proxies

Some homeowners associations can reach a quorum using proxies. The proxy form allows members to give voting power to another person, whether it’s another community member or their attorney. However, ensure that the governing documents allow proxies to count toward the quorum. If not, the HOA may consider amending them to accommodate proxies.

5. Use Virtual Platforms

zoom meeting | hoa meeting no quorum

HOAs can choose to use virtual platforms to achieve a quorum. Consider using electronic communications software to encourage people to attend. This allows them to engage in community discussions without leaving their own homes. 

6. Send Reminders

A reminder email can be helpful for letting the homeowners know that a meeting is coming up. This will help them clear their schedules for the meeting. HOA boards can also send multiple email reminders at the 15, 10, and 3-day marks. 

7. Provide Incentives

Offering incentives is an effective method of encouraging attendance. After all, who would not want to attend a meeting if it means getting something for free? HOAs can allot a budget for these prizes, which can range from local gift cards to small household items. 

8. Invite a Guest Speaker

HOAs can invite guest speakers to encourage attendance at annual membership meetings. The board can invite local government officials, contractors working on association projects, or even the HOA attorney. They can speak about ongoing association matters to keep the community interested.

10. Conduct Meetings Before Events

Consider timing a membership meeting before a big community event. For instance, meeting right before a community parade or cookout may be helpful. The event after the conference serves as the “prize” or incentive for the members. 

11. Petition to Reduce the Quorum

Homeowners associations regularly struggling to meet a quorum can consider petitioning the court to lower the requirement. The court can approve the request and reduce the requirement for all succeeding meetings. 

Can You Eliminate Quorum Requirements?

Most associations have difficulty achieving a quorum. Thankfully, associations are not without options. They can work toward amending the bylaws to eliminate the community’s quorum requirements for board elections. 

But is eliminating the quorum truly possible? It depends on the state. In California, Civil Code Section 5115(d) states that a quorum is only required if the governing documents or other legal provisions say so. This means that boards could amend their documents to forego the quorum. 

On the other hand, we caution against doing this haphazardly. Lowering the percentage requirements to constitute a quorum is generally a much better. This prevents the board from ruling with an iron fist while making it easy for the HOA to conduct business. 

However, the process will be difficult if the community wants to eliminate or reduce quorum requirements. Amending the bylaws can be long and difficult as it usually requires approval from most members. 

A Common Struggle

Conducting an HOA meeting without a quorum is a common struggle among planned communities. Despite how difficult it is to achieve, quorum requirements exist to protect members from abuse of power. HOA boards should encourage members to attend meetings. Otherwise, it could have disastrous consequences.

Are you having trouble reaching a quorum and conducting meetings? Professional community management might help. Personalized Property Management is the premier management company in Southern California. Call us now at 760-325-9500 or reach out to us online to know more!


Selective Enforcement In HOA: What Can Homeowners Do?

pushing mini scale | selective enforcement in hoa

Selective enforcement in HOA communities is a big problem that associations must deal with. It can sow discord among community members and be a liability risk for the HOA. The board members and residents must know its pitfalls and how to prevent them. 

What Is Selective Enforcement in HOA?

Every homeowners association comes with a set of governing documents. The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), in particular, outlines the community’s standards and rules for residents. It includes rules such as rent restrictions, architectural standards, and maintenance duties. 

Part of the board’s duties is to enforce the rules when someone refuses or fails to comply. They may issue a warning, a fine, or suspend the person’s rights and privileges. However, HOA selective enforcement happens when the board enforces the rules against one homeowner but not another. 

It also applies to instances wherein the rules are enforced against a group of homeowners but not against the rest of the residents. Moreover, selective enforcement may happen if the board suddenly enforces a rule that it did not in the past. These are cases of selective enforcement as they are inconsistent and unfair. 

Is HOA Selective Enforcement Illegal?

Homeowners associations must not enforce their rules capriciously or arbitrarily. This means that selective enforcement of HOA rules is illegal, as they must implement the rules fairly and consistently. 

In some states, the law will explicitly require associations to enforce the rules fairly among homeowners. However, the obligation of consistent enforcement is usually implied even if state law is silent. The governing documents may also address HOA inconsistent enforcement and require the board to enforce the rules uniformly. 

If a homeowners association inconsistently enforces the rules, it risks waiving its right to enforce those rules moving forward. In other words, the rule may become unenforceable within the community. 

Why Does Selective Enforcement Happen?

complaining over phone | selective enforcement in hoa

Many cases of selective enforcement happen due to neglect. For example, some homeowners associations only enforce the rules when violations are reported. 

If nobody reports the violation, it will go unnoticed and unpunished. This usually happens when an association is large and does not have the resources or manpower to conduct routine inspections. 

Apart from this, some communities may have board members that are too lenient. A newly elected board may start enforcing rules the previous board did not, resulting in perceived selective enforcement in HOA communities. 

On the other hand, there are certain instances wherein the board inconsistently enforces the rules on purpose. For example, they might apply specific architectural rules to one homeowner but not their property. They might also show favoritism to friends or use selective enforcement as retaliation against a homeowner they’re at odds with. 

Whether intentional or not, selective enforcement is wrong. Homeowners associations should investigate potential cases to avoid liability and keep the community harmonious. 

What to Do About Selective Enforcement

What should homeowners do in the face of selective enforcement in HOA communities? Should they file a selective enforcement lawsuit right away? What steps should be taken to ensure consistent enforcement?

1. Consult the Governing Documents

The first thing homeowners must do is consult the governing documents. It’s essential to verify whether the enforcement is indeed unfair. Otherwise, the homeowner may not have a real case to plead. 

For example, the HOA may prevent a homeowner from renting their home as an Airbnb despite the governing documents allowing rentals. 

However, the homeowner cannot plead selective enforcement if the governing documents specifically allow only long-term rentals. The HOA is acting within its authority to prohibit short-term rental units. 

2. Approach the Board

If the enforcement action was selective, the next step should be to speak with the HOA board. The CC&Rs may indicate how homeowners can complain in case of selective enforcement. However, if they are silent, it may be best to raise the concern in writing simply.

Alternatively, the homeowner may attend a board meeting and raise concerns. The resident may also check the governing documents to see whether they can call a meeting and how to do so. 

Approaching the board directly is often enough to resolve the issue. This allows the homeowner and the association to avoid financial losses and the complications of going through an HOA selective enforcement lawsuit.

3. Take It to Court

If the board refuses to rectify the issue, the homeowner may sue the HOA for selective enforcement. However, this will be a long and costly affair. Homeowners must be able to provide evidence that the HOA selectively enforced the rules despite frequent violations in other instances. 

How to Prove Selective Enforcement

Homeowners must provide a defense before they plead selective enforcement before the board. Naturally, they must offer convincing proof to the board or the court. Here are some ways you can prove that the HOA is inconsistent with violations:

  • Photos and Videos. Document the incident by taking a photo or video of the violation, not being penalized. 
  • Write Down the Details. Note the date, time, and place where the rule was not enforced.
  • Get Witnesses. Ask your neighbors or witnesses to testify and provide statements of the violations. 
  • Request Information. Formally request the board to obtain information about certain enforcement actions, such as violation notices, enforcement correspondence, and fines issued. 

How to Prevent Selective Enforcement

Homeowners associations are meant to keep property values high and ensure residents have a wonderful living environment. Selective enforcement cases can wrench the HOA’s plans and disturb the peace. The best way to avoid these issues is to take preventive measures. Here are some things you can do as a community to prevent selective enforcement. 

1. Conduct Frequent Inspections

It may be costly, but homeowners’ associations should conduct regular inspections of community violations. This ensures that all properties meet the community’s architectural standards and prevents anyone from claiming preferential treatment. 

2. Define the Rules

The community’s CC&Rs, Bylaws, and regulations must be well-defined and easily understood. This will keep everyone from misunderstanding a rule and doing something that violates it. It also helps the board enforce the rules more consistently. 

3. Adopt a Fair Procedure

Homeowners associations must adopt an organized and fair procedure to enforce the rules. The board must memorize the community rules to ensure everything runs smoothly. Moreover, they should immediately penalize any violation they encounter. 

The steps for enforcement should also be clearly outlined in the community’s governing documents. For example, it should clearly state when citations will be issued for certain violations. It may also be helpful to adopt a fine schedule so homeowners know the penalties.

The board should provide documented evidence of the violation and the notice. The board should also standardize its communication with the homeowners so nobody can claim they’re playing favorites. 

4. Enforce Uniformly

Some board members may feel that minor infractions are too small to penalize. However, ignoring the violation is never a good idea. The board should follow its violation procedure even if enforcement takes time, money, and effort.

5. Enforce Promptly

The board must promptly address every violation. This will help the community understand that the rules must be taken seriously and reinforce the board’s message of consistent rule enforcement. 

6. Listen to Complaints

Homeowners associations can prevent enforcement issues from escalating into lawsuits by simply hearing the residents out. Consider offering a formal way to submit complaints and listen to the residents first. This will help the board handle matters internally and make the homeowners feel heard. 

How to Defend Against Selective Enforcement Claims

refusing lawsuit | selective enforcement in hoa

Despite implementing preventive measures, homeowners may still file lawsuits against the HOA. The board must be prepared to handle these issues when they arise. Here are some ways the board can build a good defense against a lawsuit. 

Firstly, all documentation and other evidence of violation enforcement must be kept. Prepare a reasonable explanation behind enforcement actions and why they were taken by the board. This can help the HOA defend itself in court.

Secondly, the board must ensure that the CC&Rs are clear and well-written. The rules must be concise and straightforward, and vague language that might be misinterpreted by the homeowners must be avoided. The CC&Rs must also delineate the consequences of rule violations.

Finally, take photos or video documentation of the violations as they occur. This will bolster the board’s case and prove that a breach did happen. 

The Final Word

Selective enforcement in HOA communities can be detrimental to the neighborhood overall. It affects homeowner relationships and can even lead to lengthy and costly litigation. HOAs should adopt standard procedures and ensure that the rules are enforced fairly and consistently. 

Does your community need help with consistent rule enforcement? Personalized Property Management is your best bet. We serve communities all across Southern California. Call us today at 760-325-9500 or contact us online for more details!


HOA Architectural Review Committee: Is It Fair And Effective?

house planning | hoa architectural review committee

The HOA Architectural Review Committee plays a central role in the success of HOA operations. This committee helps maintain community standards, though it has also received criticism for its perceived overreach and unreasonable regulations. Should HOAs have this committee in the first place?

What Is the HOA Architectural Review Committee?

The HOA Architectural Review Committee (ARC) is a group within an HOA responsible for overseeing and approving changes to the exterior of properties. These changes can include anything from landscaping alterations to major structural modifications. 

The ARC ensures that all modifications comply with the community’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and maintain the neighborhood’s aesthetic harmony. Other names for this committee include the Architectural Control Committee and the Design Review Committee.

What Is the Purpose of an Architectural Review Committee?

The primary purpose of an ARC is to preserve the visual and structural integrity of the community. Architectural Review Committee responsibilities include:

  • Reviewing architectural change applications and recommending decisions to the HOA board
  • Maintaining property values by ensuring uniformity and quality in architectural standards
  • Preventing actions that may negatively affect the community’s appearance or safety
  • Enforcing the HOA’s CC&Rs to ensure that all modifications align with established community guidelines
  • Reviewing and recommending changes to the HOA architectural review guidelines as necessary

The ARC aims to protect homeowners’ collective investment by regulating property changes and uphold the community’s visual appeal.

Architectural Review Committee Guidelines

Architectural committee guidelines can vary from one association to another. However, they should generally tackle the scope of authority, compliance with governing documents, decision requirements, and reconsideration options.

Scope of Authority

State laws and the HOA’s governing documents, particularly the CC&Rs, define the committee’s scope of authority. These documents describe what types of modifications require approval and the criteria for assessment. Typically, the ARC’s authority extends to:

  • Exterior alterations (e.g. painting, roofing)
  • Structural changes (e.g. additions, fences)
  • Landscaping changes (e.g. tree removal, garden installations)

In condominiums, the scope of authority can extend to elements such as balconies, hardwood flooring installations, plumbing and electrical modifications, and even EV charging stations. 

It is important to note that architectural rules can’t conflict with federal and state laws. A good example is the OTARD Rule, which prohibits HOAs from banning satellite dishes and antennas.

Compliance With Governing Documents

The ARC must comply with the association’s governing documents. While covenant compliance falls under the ARC’s responsibilities, local code compliance does not. 

This committee is not responsible for securing permits and ensuring compliance with building codes or local ordinances in place of homeowners. Homeowners will need to carry out such tasks on their own or with the help of a contractor.

Decision Requirements

According to Civil Code Section 4765, the HOA must “provide a fair, reasonable, and expeditious procedure” for decisions on architectural changes. Additionally, the ARC must make its decision in good faith and reasonableness. Capricious or arbitrary decisions would go against California law.

Disapproval and Opportunity for Reconsideration

When an application is not approved, the ARC must provide clear reasons for the decision, referencing specific guidelines or regulations. The decision and the reasons behind the denial must appear in writing for homeowners to read.

Additionally, homeowners have a right to request a reconsideration. The instructions for applying for reconsideration must also be written in the same decision letter. Homeowners can then submit a revised application addressing the committee’s concerns.

This process ensures that homeowners can make their case and receive approval upon meeting the necessary criteria.

Meeting Minutes

Maintaining detailed meeting minutes is essential for transparency and accountability. Minutes should record the reviewed applications, the decisions made and their justifications, and the attendance and votes of committee members.

It is important to remember that committee meetings are not subject to the Open Meeting Act of California. Therefore, committee meetings need not be open to homeowners. However, it is essential to keep minutes, as these records provide a clear audit trail in the event of disputes and appeals.

Who Can Join the HOA Architectural Review Committee?

In general, any homeowner within the community may apply for membership and join the ARC. However, some associations may have certain qualification requirements or preferences.

When looking for Architectural Review Committee members, the following qualities are ideal:

  • Experience in architecture, construction, or related fields
  • An interest in community standards and aesthetics
  • A commitment to fair and unbiased decision-making

The HOA board usually appoints the committee members who serve for a specified term. Their role requires a balance of technical knowledge and understanding the community’s values and priorities.

How to Create and Manage an HOA Architectural Review Committee

group meeting | hoa architectural review committee

Forming an ARC is a good way to delegate responsibilities and encourage homeowner participation while maintaining architectural integrity. It is particularly beneficial for larger communities, where HOA boards can’t handle the many tasks alone.

Here is how to create and manage an HOA Architectural Review Committee.

1. Establish the Committee

Creating an ARC begins with the HOA board drafting an HOA architectural committee charter charter. This charter should clearly outline the committee’s purpose, scope, and operating procedures. 

It should also define the committee’s responsibilities, authority, decision-making, and appeal processes. Furthermore, it should specify the terms of service for committee members, including how long they will serve and how they can be replaced or reappointed.

The charter serves as a foundational document that guides the committee’s actions and provides transparency to the homeowners. Board members must periodically review and update this charter to reflect changes in community needs or governing documents.

2. Recruit Members

The recruitment process for ARC members should be transparent and inclusive. The HOA board should seek volunteers from within the community with relevant expertise or a strong interest in maintaining the community’s standards. The recruitment process should be advertised through various communication channels, including meetings, newsletters, and the HOA website.

The HOA board should evaluate potential members based on their qualifications and commitment to the association. Avoid any semblance of bias, favoritism, or personal feelings. This will help ensure the committee consists of volunteers acting in the community’s best interests.

3. Plan Training and Orientation

Once selected, new ARC members should undergo training to understand their roles and responsibilities. This training should cover the HOA’s CC&Rs and the committee’s procedures for reviewing and approving applications. It should also include information on handling conflicts of interest and ensuring fair decision-making.

Orientation sessions include workshops, presentations, and discussions with experienced committee members. This helps new members become familiar with the community’s standards and expectations and get used to their role’s technical and procedural aspects.

4. Establish Operating Procedures

The ARC should establish clear application review procedures, including submission requirements, decision timelines, and communication protocols. To ensure transparency, these procedures should be documented and accessible to all homeowners.

For example, the committee might require homeowners to submit detailed plans, specifications for their proposed modifications, and any necessary permits. The ARC should have a set timeline for reviewing these submissions and making decisions so homeowners can receive timely responses.

Communication protocols should include how the ARC will notify homeowners of its decisions and provide reasons for disapproval. In California, such choices and reasons should be made in writing.

5. Ensure Ongoing Management

Effective management of the ARC requires regular meetings, clear record-keeping, and periodic reviews of the committee’s processes. The ARC should meet regularly to review applications and discuss any issues or concerns. Meetings should also include minutes.

Periodic reviews of the ARC’s processes can help identify areas for improvement, allowing the committee to operate effectively and efficiently. The ARC should also welcome feedback from homeowners, using this input to make any necessary procedure adjustments.

Is an ARC Fair and Effective?

The fairness and effectiveness of an ARC depend largely on how well it adheres to established guidelines and operates transparently. A well-functioning ARC can benefit an HOA community by maintaining property values, ensuring aesthetic consistency, and preventing disputes. 

However, challenges can arise if the ARC does not consistently apply the guidelines or if they are ambiguous. Problems can also crop up if the ARC does not exercise impartiality or lacks the necessary expertise to perform its duties.

Important Nonetheless

The HOA Architectural Review Committee is vital in maintaining an HOA community’s visual and structural integrity. By regulating property changes, the ARC helps preserve property values and ensures that modifications comply with the community’s standards and aesthetic preferences.

Personalized Property Management offers expert management services to HOAs and condos in Southern California. Call us today at 760-325-9500 or email us at to learn more!