… things that are actually good to know and have nothing to do with rules!
By: Helsing Admin
Believe it or not – this is not about your governing documents or the association’s rules – although those are definitely things you should know. This article is about things you should know that may be of assistance to you and will not be found in your governing documents or association rules.
– You have the right to ask for a mailing list if it is for association business. If you want to send a mailing to all of the homeowners to advocate a position, or to campaign for an election, or for some other legitimate association matter you may ask for a copy of the membership mailing list. You are responsible for the postage for that mailing, and you are responsible for not misusing the list.
– You have the right to “Opt Out” of having your name included in that list. Unless you trust everyone else in your community not to misuse the list for their personal reasons, you should probably consider opting out. Simply notify your association in writing that you do not consent to having your name on the association’s mailing list that can be given to other owners.
– If you want to mail to everyone for legitimate association purposes but do not want to miss those who have “Opted Out”, you have the right to ask the association to mail your information for you. You will have to pay for the postage and supplies and perhaps a small handling fee, but at least your information will get to everyone that way.
– If your association is set up to handle it, you have the right to ask that your association information be sent to you via e-mail instead of regular mail (to the extent the law allows). This can save your association significant money in postage, and of course gets you the information sooner. While the law allows this, your association may or may not be equipped to send information by e-mail.
– You have the right to attend a hearing of the Board prior to the association levying any fines or reimbursement assessments (except for late fees for assessments). You DO NOT have the right to have an attorney present (nor does the association). If you do choose to dispute an action with an attorney, your attorney should correspond directly with the association’s attorney.
– You have the right to many (but not all) financial documents. Those documents are called out in Civil Code 1365.2 (Civil Code 5200(a) after December 31, 2013). The association has the right to charge you its actual costs for producing those documents. If the documents need to be redacted, then you may also be subject to the cost of redaction up to $200 (your association would pay anything over that). No, those costs are NOT what you pay for in your assessments, and public policy is that the association can charge you these costs directly so that assessments (dues) don’t go up for everyone as a result of such requests. You also have the right to inspect those documents at an agreeable time and place.
These are important things you may not need to know at the moment, but you may need to know sometime in the future. In addition, you also have the right to know everything your association is doing and when they are doing it. All meetings must be noticed in advance with an agenda (this is true of both open meetings and executive sessions). You have the right to attend all open meetings. Minutes must include decisions made in both regular and executive sessions (although the executive minutes may be a summary for privacy purposes). Your Board may not correspond with each other on Association business (even by email) in order to assure that all their decisions have transparency.
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