For many communities, a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) brings a lot of value. They help maintain community standards, oversee maintenance and repair, protect home values, and provide services.
It seems like there could be no downside. Unfortunately, people are people, and, sometimes, individual homeowners and individual board members do not always get along. If it’s a case where a board member is unfair, taking retaliatory action, or expressing some other form of bias, you may wish to explore your options in having them removed. This not only serves you better but also the community at large.
But how does one go about removing a problematic HOA board member?
Here are some possible solutions to explore.
Often, your most effective first response is merely attending an HOA board meeting and raising your concerns there. As most HOAs are required to hold regular meetings and allow homeowners to attend, this is an excellent opportunity to bring up issues you may have with a particular board member or their actions.
When bringing up issues at a board meeting, remember to remain polite, speak in a calm voice, and present only the facts. Opinions and insults will not get you very far with both the rest of the board and the other attendees.
If possible, suggest possible solutions the HOA could use to address your concerns. Suppose you believe that an individual board member may be biased due to a personal conflict. In that case, you can request that member to abstain from voting on any matter specifically related to you or the issue you bring up.
When presenting your case at a board meeting, you may find it useful to have other homeowners attending who will support you. You may even want to offer a petition signed by members of the HOA community.
A well-presented case laid before the board could have several possible results. Besides the board, as a majority, sides with you in their decision, the individual board member you are having an issue with may take a step back and reform their behavior. It’s also possible they may resign. Note that if the board members are up for re-election, that could be a factor in the decision-making.
While resolving your issues at an HOA board meeting would be the simplest solution, it’s not always an option—particularly if you’re worried about an elevated level of hostility from the board member you’re in dispute with.
In that case, look to see if you have a legal basis to demand the offending board member’s removal. Check local and state laws as well as your HOA governing documents for information on the removal process. For instance, in some states, an HOA board member can be removed immediately if:
Information on state laws that may affect a board member’s legitimacy can usually be found online. You can also get them from the HOA’s legal team or an experienced real estate attorney.
As for your HOA’s governing documents, those may contain provisions relating to removing a board member. Some conditions may note that board members must attend a minimum number of meetings or participate in a minimum percentage of votes. You were likely given a copy of the governing documents when you joined, but if you didn’t, you could obtain one from the HOA office or your county’s property records office.
This one can be admittedly tricky.
If the troublesome board member hasn’t done anything to justify immediate removal, removing them from a position of authority on the board can, at least, lessen their effect on yourself and the community.
Usually, it takes full HOA membership to vote a board member off. Still, the board can remove individual board members from certain positions such as president, secretary, or treasurer through a majority vote. The details of the process may vary among different HOAs, and state corporate laws may also be factors.
If you have questions, you could contact the HOA’s legal representation or consult with a local, qualified real estate attorney.
While not likely the most satisfying solution, merely waiting for the offending board member’s term to expire is an option that shouldn’t be dismissed. Typical terms tend to last only two or three years, and should the board member you have issues with seeking re-election, you can always work to get someone else elected in their place (or run for board membership yourself).
If you feel you can’t wait until their term expires, it is possible to organize a membership-wide voting process to remove them. Note that this is a long and often complicated process. You’ll need to consult not only your HOA’s governing documents but also any applicable state laws. As there are many details to cover, you’d be best served by hiring a legal team to assist you in your mission.
Removing a board member, even one giving you or other members of the community problems, is not a simple process. There are systems in place, however, that you can use to your advantage.
Most HOA board members work with the best intentions for their community. Problems should be rare. That said, an HOA community is only as useful as the board that manages it, so should issues arise with an individual board member, you’re well within your rights to take action.