Governor signs bills protecting homeowners association members
Leaders of local homeowners associations say new bills signed this week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have little effect on their members.The new bills one that requires homeowner associations to use secret ballots when electing board members or imposing levy increases and another that requires associations to make financial and other records available to members was signed Monday by Schwarzenegger.These laws develop through associations doing the wrong thing, just like any law, said Geoff Stephens, general manager of the Glenshire/Devonshire Residents Association.Stephens, who has managed the association for 12 years, said his association has always done elections through mail-in ballots to its 1,357 members. A representative of associations for Sierra Meadows, The Meadows and other Truckee subdivisions said the bills changes are already reflected in their conditions, covenants and restrictions (CC&Rs). A representative of Tahoe Donner Association could not be reached at press time.The election bill, authored by Sen. Jim Battin, R-Palm Desert, stemmed from complaints from homeowners who said some associations require identification in elections that can lead to unwanted lobbying or even intimidation by fellow members.Homeowner associations will be required to make financial and other important records available to members under legislation from Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, that was also signed by the governor.Finally, the governor signed a bill from Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, that prevents homeowners associations from using foreclosure when a homeowner owes less than $1,800 in assessments.A retired couple living in a country subdivision in the foothills of Calaveras County drew headlines last year when they lost a $300,000 home after the association ordered a foreclosure sale over $120 in back dues.