California HOAs are private membership organizations and not governmental or public entities. Members of the general public therefore do not have rights to attend a HOA’s board meetings or membership meetings. Unless an association’s governing documents provide otherwise, the rights to attend board meetings which are provided for in the Open Meeting Act are reserved for the association’s members. (Civ. Code § 4925.)
Open Meetings Only
A member’s right to attend board meetings extends to open meetings, not executive session meetings. (Civ. Code § 4925(a).) Members are also given the right under Civil Code Section 4925(b) to speak at open meetings and to address the board, subject to certain limitations. (See “Open Forum.”)
Determining Membership Status: Property Owners
An association’s governing documents define who qualifies as a member of the association entitled to attend board meetings. Most governing documents provide that ownership of a lot or unit is the sole qualification for membership in the association. Under such provisions, membership status will extend only to those persons on title to a lot or unit within the association—not to spouses of the owner, the owner’s tenants, agents or attorneys. While many associations permit nonmember spouses to attend board meetings, industry practice is to prohibit the attendance of nonmember tenants, agents (i.e., realtors) and attorneys of members.
When ownership of a lot or unit is in the name of a business or other legal entity, the person who is entitled to attend board meetings on the entity’s behalf will likely depend upon whether the person is authorized under the entity’s managing or organizing documents to manage the entity’s business and affairs. (SB Liberty, LLC v. Isla Verde Association, Inc. (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 272, 283.)
Related Case Law
- SB Liberty, LLC v. Isla Verde Association, Inc.
(2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 272
[Board Meetings; Attendance Rights] The right to attend a HOA’s board meetings extends only to the HOA’s members, not a member’s agent or attorney.
Homeowner Attorneys at your HOA’s Board Meetings? This Could Become the New Normal – Published on HOA Lawyer Blog (January 29, 2016)