(a) A member of an association may bring a civil action for declaratory or equitable relief for a violation of this article by the association, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, restitution, or a combination thereof, within one year of the date the cause of action accrues. Upon a finding that the election procedures of this article, or the adoption of and adherence to rules provided by Article 5 (commencing with Section 4340) of Chapter 3, were not followed, a court may void any results of the election.
(b) A member who prevails in a civil action to enforce the member’s rights pursuant to this article shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs, and the court may impose a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation, except that each identical violation shall be subject to only one penalty if the violation affects each member of the association equally. A prevailing association shall not recover any costs, unless the court finds the action to be frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.
(c) A cause of action under Sections 5100 to 5130, inclusive, with respect to access to association resources by a candidate or member advocating a point of view, the receipt of a ballot by a member, or the counting, tabulation, or reporting of, or access to, ballots for inspection and review after tabulation may be brought in small claims court if the amount of the demand does not exceed the jurisdiction of that court.
- AB 1426 (Irwin). Common interest developments: association governance: elections.
- Civil Code Section 5135. Association Funds in Election Campaigns.
- Civil Code Section 5125. Custody of Ballots.
- Civil Code Section 5110. Inspector of Elections Required.
- Civil Code Section 5100. Elections Held by Secret Ballot.
- Civil Code Section 4340. “Operating Rule” and “Rule Change” Defined.
Related Case Law
- That v. Alders Maintenance Corporation
(2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1419
[Elections; Legal Challenges] Where a HOA prevails in an action brought against it on the basis of alleged election violations, the HOA is not entitled to recover its attorney’s fees even where the action is found to be frivolous.
- Wittenburg v. Beachwalk Homeowners Association
(2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 654
[Elections; Equal Access] Where a board utilizes HOA media to advocate its point of view regarding an upcoming election, equal access to such media must also be provided to any member advocating a point of view on the issue.
- Friars Village Homeowners Assn. v. Hansing
(2013) 220 Cal. App. 4th 405
[Election Rules; Director Qualifications] Court upheld association’s authority to adopt election rules which prohibited closely-related members from being nominated to serve as directors.