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What to Know About California’s Davis Stirling Act

The Davis Stirling Act was officially passed in the state of California in 2020. This law details that communities managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) must elect new board members through an unbiased voting system. This election process must be administered by a third-party voting inspector to ensure there is no bias in the voting process.

Why Was the Davis Stirling Act Created?

This particular law, also known in California as SB 323, was enacted to prevent bias in HOA elections. This bias, through nepotism or favoritism, leads to board members being too close to the business of an HOA. This then turns into poor decisions being made on behalf of the community that will eventually upset members of the community. To avoid any sort of nepotism or voting in a friend for otherwise personal gain, the Davis Stirling Act requires all HOA elections in California to be administered by a 3rd party organization. These organizations are known to community officials as professional inspectors of election and they have passed state requirements to be able to administer elections.

What Should Homeowners Do?

For the homeowner who lives in an HOA-ran community, there is nothing that needs to change on their end. They simply need to keep attending HOA meetings and vote when the election process occurs (typically once a year). Failure to vote for certain officials or board positions will mean community members have less of a voice about community decisions.

What Should HOA Administrators Do?

To comply with the Davis Stirling Act, board members and those who operate the HOA need to hold annual elections. These elections must be administered by a professional inspector of elections to ensure there is no bias in the process. The election specialist will administer the ballots, communicate results to homeowners in the community and notify HOA leaders of any issues in the process. It makes it easy for HOA administrators and gives homeowners in the neighborhood peace of mind.

How Does An HOA Find Election Inspectors?

Because this is a new requirement in California, there are many new professionals providing election services. Before choosing to hire an election inspector, do a bit of research, ask for referrals and look for online reviews. If you’re having trouble with how to find an HOA election inspector, you can also reach out to other HOAs in your city. There’s a good chance they are also trying to find an election inspector and may be able to recommend someone to you.

Stay Compliant to Avoid Fines

The state of California is taking this new law very seriously and HOA neighborhoods will need to be compliant. While the current fines are undisclosed at this time, it’s important for HOAs to follow the guidelines and stay compliant to avoid any penalties.

If you’re a homeowner reading this article, please be sure to send any questions you have about the Davis Stirling Act to your current HOA board members. They should be well-versed in the law and can cover any questions you may have.

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