Rights and Powers of HOAs and HOA Board Members

The primary responsibility of a homeowner association, acting through its board of directors, is to repair, maintain, and replace common area components and to protect the property values of association members. Duties are set forth in the governing documents and by California law. While most duties are delegated to an elected Board of Directors, some are reserved to the membership.

Most HOA governing documents (but not all) provide that the elected board of directors have the following powers and responsibilities:

  1. Adopt and enforce operating rules and regulations
  2. Appoint committees
  3. Appoint directors to fill vacancies
  4. Appoint inspectors of election
  5. Borrow money
  6. Call membership meetings
  7. Communicate with the association's attorney
  8. Delegate certain responsibilities to a management company
  9. Disburse operating and reserve funds
  10. Elect and remove officers
  11. Enter into contracts
  12. Enforce the governing documents
  13. Establish architectural standards
  14. Exercise the powers of a corporation
  15. Hire and fire employees and vendors
  16. Initiate and defend lawsuits
  17. Insure the association and its directors
  18. Invest funds in insured accounts
  19. Levy and collect regular, special, and emergency assessments
  20. Make limited capital improvements
  21. Manage the association
  22. Prepare and adopt budgets
  23. Repair and maintain the common areas

The rights and powers generally reserved to association members are set forth in the governing documents and usually include the right to:

  1. Amend the CC&Rs and bylaws
  2. Approve significant capital improvements
  3. Approve regular assessments over 20% per year
  4. Approve special assessments over 5% per year
  5. Approve exclusive use easements
  6. Attend open board meetings
  7. Call special meetings of the membership for a lawful purpose
  8. Display noncommercial signs
  9. Dissolve the association
  10. Elect officers
  11. Enforce the CC&Rs
  12. Exercise any other powers reserved to their membership as set forth in the governing documents and applicable laws.
  13. Inspect the association's records
  14. Install drought tolerant plants
  15. Install electric charging stations at their cost
  16. Install a satellite dish on their own property
  17. Install solar panels subject to restrictions
  18. Modify common areas for disability access
  19. Own a pet subject to rules
  20. Receive disclosures
  21. Receive due process for rules violations
  22. Receive the membership list subject to limitations
  23. Remove directors from the board
  24. Reverse a rule change
  25. Serve on the board
  26. Use the common areas

Courts will defer to board decisions, even if the decisions are not the best decisions, provided the board has made a diligent investigation and its decision was in good faith with the best interests of the association in mind. Members who are unhappy with board decisions can elect replacement directors.



All New Board Members

Board Meeting Definition

Exclusive Use Common Area Maintenance Responsibilities

Reserve Studies Required

Why Homeowner Associations Get into Trouble

Coast Management of California