Condominium and Homeowner Association Boards: the Very Basics

Condominium and Homeowner Associations are governed by boards of directors, who generally have the power to make all decisions and take all actions on behalf of their associations.  Much like a small government, the Board is elected by the members of the community.  Beyond election of the board members, individual members of the community are often powerless to influence decisions made by the board in how to manage the affairs of the community.

How board members are elected, their number, and the length of their term of office, are contained within the governing documents for your community.  Often there will also be provisions for how to recall a board member if the membership disagrees with decisions being made.  The Declaration or CC&Rs of the association may have specific provisions, and the association bylaws may have additional provisions regarding how the board is formed and conducts its business.

The Washington Condominium Act requires that board members elected by the members exercise reasonable and ordinary care in the performance of their duties, and that they act in the best interest of their community.  Of course there are frequently disagreements about what is in the best interest of the community.  If you want to have  influence or control over how your condominium budgets, enforces rules, or otherwise manages the affairs of your community, you need to be on the board to do it.

The governing documents and some state statutes describe specific conduct that must be taken by the boards.  For example “New Act” condominium boards must have the association’s annual budget ratified by the membership following a meeting called for that purpose [RCW 64.34.308(3)], and Homeowner Association boards must hold their meetings open to the entire membership [RCW 64.38.035(2)].  (That does not mean the membership gets to participate, but they do get to attend.)  Frequently boards are unaware of their obligations and unknowingly violate law or provisions of their governing documents.

Legal review of the conduct of a board, or an individual member of a board, will frequently be very fact specific, and must be reviewed for compliance with the specific set of documents that control the community.  Often an attorney experienced with these associations can be a valuable partner in making sure that everything is done properly.

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions we can answer, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.

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3 Responses to Condominium and Homeowner Association Boards: the Very Basics
  1. Linda Hunt
    May 19, 2011 | 9:43 pm

    My condo board has pulled a coup d’ete … the president quit and the VP was supposed to move up to President. INSTEAD a special meeting was called, where the majority board members ousted the new president from that position and held an election on the spot. No owners could vote or even speak to the situation as I was the only one in attendance other than the board. IS THIS LEGAL???????????? The board claimed the assoc lawyer said ‘condo rules’ allowed it.

  2. Valerie Farris Oman
    May 20, 2011 | 4:23 pm

    Typically officers of the Board, like the president, treasurer, and secretary are elected exclusively by the Board from Board members, and can be removed from their positions by the Board at any time.

    In other words, owners elect Board members; Board members elect the officers from amongst the Board members. Unless the Condo Declaration or Bylaws state otherwise, what you describe would be fully legal and appropriate. It is possible that the governing documents for your specific association have different requirements, but it would require review of the documents to offer any opinion in that regard.

  3. linda Prin
    July 12, 2016 | 1:55 pm

    My husband and I lived in a homeowners association for some time and I recognized if we wanted to have a say in the way things were done we needed to be part of the board. I see many advantages to homeowners boards, they are really nice to take care of what many of us don’t want to (yard, winter maintenance). I had a great experience with my homeowners board, but eventually we found it necessary to upgrade from our previous location. Hope my comments are encouraging and reassure you.

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Condominium and Homeowner Association Boards: the Very Basics

Condominium and Homeowner Associations are governed by boards of directors, who generally have the power to make all decisions and take all actions on behalf of their associations.  Much like a small government, the Board is elected by the members of the community.  Beyond election of the board members, individual members of the community are often powerless to influence decisions made by the board in how to manage the affairs of the community.

How board members are elected, their number, and the length of their term of office, are contained within the governing documents for your community.  Often there will also be provisions for how to recall a board member if the membership disagrees with decisions being made.  The Declaration or CC&Rs of the association may have specific provisions, and the association bylaws may have additional provisions regarding how the board is formed and conducts its business.

The Washington Condominium Act requires that board members elected by the members exercise reasonable and ordinary care in the performance of their duties, and that they act in the best interest of their community.  Of course there are frequently disagreements about what is in the best interest of the community.  If you want to have  influence or control over how your condominium budgets, enforces rules, or otherwise manages the affairs of your community, you need to be on the board to do it.

The governing documents and some state statutes describe specific conduct that must be taken by the boards.  For example “New Act” condominium boards must have the association’s annual budget ratified by the membership following a meeting called for that purpose [RCW 64.34.308(3)], and Homeowner Association boards must hold their meetings open to the entire membership [RCW 64.38.035(2)].  (That does not mean the membership gets to participate, but they do get to attend.)  Frequently boards are unaware of their obligations and unknowingly violate law or provisions of their governing documents.

Legal review of the conduct of a board, or an individual member of a board, will frequently be very fact specific, and must be reviewed for compliance with the specific set of documents that control the community.  Often an attorney experienced with these associations can be a valuable partner in making sure that everything is done properly.

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions we can answer, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
3 Responses to Condominium and Homeowner Association Boards: the Very Basics
  1. Linda Hunt
    May 19, 2011 | 9:43 pm

    My condo board has pulled a coup d’ete … the president quit and the VP was supposed to move up to President. INSTEAD a special meeting was called, where the majority board members ousted the new president from that position and held an election on the spot. No owners could vote or even speak to the situation as I was the only one in attendance other than the board. IS THIS LEGAL???????????? The board claimed the assoc lawyer said ‘condo rules’ allowed it.

  2. Valerie Farris Oman
    May 20, 2011 | 4:23 pm

    Typically officers of the Board, like the president, treasurer, and secretary are elected exclusively by the Board from Board members, and can be removed from their positions by the Board at any time.

    In other words, owners elect Board members; Board members elect the officers from amongst the Board members. Unless the Condo Declaration or Bylaws state otherwise, what you describe would be fully legal and appropriate. It is possible that the governing documents for your specific association have different requirements, but it would require review of the documents to offer any opinion in that regard.

  3. linda Prin
    July 12, 2016 | 1:55 pm

    My husband and I lived in a homeowners association for some time and I recognized if we wanted to have a say in the way things were done we needed to be part of the board. I see many advantages to homeowners boards, they are really nice to take care of what many of us don’t want to (yard, winter maintenance). I had a great experience with my homeowners board, but eventually we found it necessary to upgrade from our previous location. Hope my comments are encouraging and reassure you.

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