Election In The HOA: What It’s For And What’s The Process Like?

your vote counts | election in the HOA

An election in the HOA is a fundamental process determining who will lead and make decisions for the community. It is crucial for the proper functioning and governance of the association, ensuring that the residents have a say in the management of their neighborhood.

What Is an Election in the HOA?

A homeowners association election is a formal procedure where homeowners vote to elect members to the board of directors. The board is responsible for making key decisions regarding the maintenance, finances, and rules of the community. 

These elections typically occur once every year at the annual meeting. State laws and the HOA’s bylaws govern the process, including nominating candidates, campaigning, casting votes, and counting ballots.

The Importance of an HOA Election

HOA elections are vital for several reasons. They ensure that the board reflects the interests and concerns of the homeowners. Each board member acts as a representative of the community’s residents. Regular elections hold board members accountable to the homeowners. Residents who are unhappy with the current board’s performance can vote for new candidates. 

Elections also promote transparency in the association’s governance. They provide a platform for discussions about community issues and the board’s activities. Finally, by participating in elections, homeowners become more engaged in the community, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Understanding the HOA Election Process

While it can vary from one association to another, the process of an HOA board election typically involves the following steps:

1. Preparation and Notice

The HOA board announces the upcoming election and calls for candidates. This notice includes important details like the election date, the number of board positions available, and the nomination process. 

In Texas, the law mandates that HOAs give property owners at least 10 days’ notice and no more than 60 days’ notice. Additionally, the notice must be in writing. If votes don’t occur at a meeting, an HOA must provide at least 20 days’ notice before the final day of ballot submissions.

2. Nominations

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Homeowners nominate themselves or others to run for the board. According to the HOA’s bylaws, nominees usually need to meet certain eligibility criteria.

3. Candidate Statements and Campaigning

Candidates may submit statements outlining their qualifications and goals. They can also campaign by engaging with residents, attending HOA meetings, and distributing informational materials.

4. Voting

Homeowners vote either by mail, online, or at a scheduled meeting. Each homeowner typically gets one vote per vacant position. Again, an HOA’s bylaws may have specific requirements and procedures.

In Texas, the law requires HOAs to use written and signed ballots for election in the HOA. This includes electronic votes.

5. Ballot Counting

The next step is the counting of ballots or votes. This usually happens in the presence of an impartial observer. The candidates with the most votes win the election and assume their roles on the board.

6. Post-Election Activities

The new board members take office, with the results disseminated to the community. The board may also hold an orientation for new members to acquaint them with their responsibilities.

Tips for Smooth HOA Elections

Running an HOA election is not always easy. As such, here are some tips that can help ensure a successful process:

1. Comply With Governing Documents

The first tip in conducting a smooth HOA election is to meticulously follow the HOA’s governing documents, particularly the bylaws. These documents outline the rules and procedures for elections. By strictly adhering to these rules, the election process will be legally compliant and less likely to face challenges or disputes.

2. Consider Proxies to Reach a Quorum

It is often difficult to achieve a quorum for an election. If reaching a quorum comes as a challenge, consider using proxies, which allow homeowners who cannot attend the meeting to designate someone else to vote on their behalf. In Texas, HOAs must enable homeowners to vote by proxy or absentee ballot.

3. Consider Online Voting

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Online voting can streamline the election process and increase participation, especially in communities where residents have busy schedules or live part-time. Before implementing online voting, confirming that the HOA’s bylaws permit it is important. Additionally, the HOA board should provide clear instructions and support to homeowners during the online voting.

4. Document Everything

Proper documentation is critical for transparency and resolving any potential disputes that may arise during or after the election. The HOA board should make sure to keep copies of all election notices, emails, and communications. It should document all meetings related to the election as well. 

Additionally, the board should retain all ballots, proxy forms, and online voting records. Thorough documentation ensures that the election process is transparent and accountable.

Election in the HOA FAQs

Who Can Run for the HOA Board?

Typically, candidates must be homeowners in the community, meaning they own a property within the HOA. Some associations may have additional requirements, such as being in good standing with no outstanding dues or violations. The specific eligibility criteria should be outlined in the HOA’s governing documents.

In Texas, state law allows only a few restrictions on eligibility. These include the following:

  • Bylaws may stipulate that one or more board members must reside in the subdivision, but they cannot mandate that all board members live there.
  • In associations with over 10 lots, members residing in the same household cannot simultaneously serve on the board.
  • Board members convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude within the last 20 years can be promptly removed from their position and barred from future board service.

Do Board Members Have Term Limits?

This depends on the HOA’s bylaws. Some associations have term limits to ensure a rotation of leadership and fresh perspectives on the board. Term limits can vary, but a common term length is two to three years, with the possibility of re-election.

Can Renters Vote?

In most cases, renters do not have voting rights in HOA elections. Voting is typically reserved for homeowners. However, renters can often participate in community activities and attend board meetings. It is best to check an HOA’s bylaws for guidance.

A Helping Hand

An election in the HOA is more than just a procedural requirement. It is an integral part of operating a homeowners association. It helps communities ensure proper governance and facilitates participation. Conducting fair and smooth elections can be hard, but an HOA management company can help.

88 Doors provides expert HOA management services to HOAs in Texas. Call us now at (512) 348-8821 or contact us online to learn more!