A Guide to HOA Elections

Here is a comprehensive guide to HOA elections, tailored for those considering running for the HOA Board or seeking a clearer understanding of the process.



What are HOA Board Elections?

HOA elections are a vital part of community governance, allowing homeowners to choose their representatives to serve on the HOA Board. These elections typically occur at the Annual Meeting, where homeowners vote for candidates through physical or electronic ballots. The Board members selected will be responsible for managing the community, including tasks like budget planning, maintenance management, and covenant enforcement. The number of positions up for election is dictated by the governing documents.  Once the directors are elected, they will decide among themselves who will serve in each office which typically are:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer


Why are HOA Elections Important?

The HOA election process plays a significant role in the following:

  • Ensuring Fair Representation: Elections allow homeowners to choose representatives who will make decisions in the community's best interest.

  • Promoting Accountability: Elected Board members are accountable to the homeowners and must act in accordance with the community's governing documents including the rules and regulations.

  • Enhancing Community Engagement: Regular elections encourage homeowners to participate in community activities and stay informed about HOA matters.

The outcome of HOA elections significantly impacts the community's future. Homeowners, much like citizens in a democracy, use these election processes to choose their leaders. The individuals elected as HOA Board members will steer the association, impacting its direction and future.

The results of HOA elections directly affect the community’s well-being. If an HOA is led by dedicated and knowledgeable leaders, the community will flourish with enhanced curb appeal, satisfied residents, and increased community involvement from association members. On the other hand, self-serving or incompetent leadership may lead to dissatisfaction within a community, causing separation and possible discord among the members.

Elected Board members should be dedicated to managing the association with integrity and in the best interests of all residents. Effective leadership is key to a thriving, harmonious neighborhood.



HOA Election Process

Review the Association's Governing Documents.

The process for HOA elections can vary from state to state or even community to community. HOAs are usually set up as nonprofit organizations, and as such, local and state laws will outline the rules of operation for your HOA, including the specific voting process that must be followed when electing its Board. Further clarification for your HOA election rules will be outlined in the governing documents.

Homeowners should familiarize themselves with the HOA’s governing documents before the election. The community documents should cover the following:

• Qualifications required for candidates.

• Procedures for nomination

• Eligibility criteria for voting

• Guidelines for the use of proxies

• Voting Methods for Casting Votes

• The duration of the voting period

• The number of directors on the HOA Board

• Procedures for filling vacancies if a Board member resigns or becomes unable to serve.


Call for Candidates

To ensure a successful HOA election, the current Board must inform homeowners of the number of vacancies that will need to be filled at the Annual Meeting. A call for candidates should go out to the membership well in advance. Newsletters, emails, and community meetings are great ways to engage residents and provide clear instructions on what the Board is responsible for and term limits (if applicable), how to submit an application, the deadline for submissions, and any other important timelines, including the Annual Meeting date. 


Notice of Upcoming Election

When your community sets a date for the Annual Meeting, it is required to send notice to all members.

The timeline for noticing the Annual Meeting will vary from state to state. For example, under Arizona law, an association must provide written notice of an Annual Meeting to the membership via hand delivery or sent by U.S. mail no fewer than ten or more than fifty days before any Annual Meeting.

Again, be sure to review your community documents before your upcoming HOA election to ensure proper compliance. And remember, effective communication is essential for a successful HOA election. Ensure that homeowners are informed about the following:

    • Election Dates: Provide clear information about the election schedule, including nomination deadlines, voting dates, and results announcement.
    • Candidate Information: Share detailed information about each candidate, including their background and goals for the community.
    • Voting Instructions: Clearly explain the voting process and provide instructions on nomination procedures.



Voting in HOA Elections

Homeowners’ associations have several voting methods available, depending on state laws and the association’s bylaws. The voting procedures may include:

    • Written ballot: Voters fill out the ballot manually with their personal details and candidate choices.
    • Electronic ballot: Also known as eVoting, is an electronic ballot similar to a written ballot but submitted online instead of mailed or hand-delivered.
    • Secret ballot: Like written or electronic ballots, but without including the voter’s personal information, these also could be known as mail-in ballots.
    • Proxy voting: A method where a homeowner delegates their voting rights to another individual.

Typically, only homeowners in good standing—those current on dues and without outstanding violations—are eligible to vote. Checking eligibility criteria in the community governing documents beforehand can prevent issues on election day.


Can Renters Vote in HOA Elections?

Homeowners’ associations grant voting rights exclusively to association members, typically homeowners. If a proxy is allowed to vote on behalf of a member, they usually must also be a homeowner from the community. This rule generally applies to attending HOA meetings as well. However, there are exceptions based on local regulations. In communities with a mix of homeowners and renters, renters often do not have the right to vote or serve as proxies. If you are renting, you should ask your landlord about your responsibilities and any applicable HOA rules. Always refer to your governing documents or consult with an HOA attorney for clarity when in doubt. 


Post Election Process

Count Votes

Associations typically use mail-in ballots for voting, but voting can also occur at the Annual Meeting. Once the balloting period closes, an independent committee often oversees the vote counting to ensure transparency and fairness. This process usually takes place in front of everyone, often with the assistance of an inspector. In some states, like California, a third-party inspector is mandatory. The duration of the counting process can vary, taking several hours or days, depending on the community size and the number of ballots.


Announce Results

After the votes are tallied, the winners are announced at a community meeting or through official HOA communication channels. Posting the results after the Annual Meeting is customary and sometimes required to ensure that those who could not attend are informed.


Transition of Duties

Newly elected Board members undergo a transition period where they are briefed on their roles and responsibilities. This ensures continuity in the community’s management. Active participation from outgoing Board members can facilitate a smooth handover. This is also a great opportunity for the Board members to utilize the management company for additional Board training. 


Special Considerations for HOA Elections

Do all Members have to Vote?

Although significant changes to your HOA necessitate input from most residents, holding a meeting to elect Board members usually only requires a quorum. A quorum, the minimum number of attendees needed to conduct HOA business, varies by community and is specified in your governing documents.

This is where proxy votes can be extremely helpful. Not all homeowners have the time to attend the Annual Meeting or send in their ballots. As such, they may transfer their voting power to another voter by proxy. If your HOA allows proxy voting, it’s important to establish clear procedures. Typically, homeowners must fill out a proxy form to delegate their vote.


Are there Term limits for HOA Board Members?

Most associations enforce term limits for Board members to prevent any individual from accumulating too much power over time. This policy promotes fresh ideas and perspectives into the Board's decision-making process.


Understanding the intricacies of HOA elections is essential for ensuring effective community governance. These elections empower homeowners to choose their representatives and foster transparency, accountability, and active participation within the community. By following the outlined processes and adhering to governing documents, homeowners can contribute to electing dedicated Board members who prioritize the neighborhood's best interests.

Partnering with a professional HOA management company like AAM can make a significant difference for those looking to streamline and simplify the election process. AAM's expertise ensures that all aspects of the election are handled efficiently and in compliance with legal requirements. From organizing candidate nominations to managing the voting process and overseeing the transition of duties, AAM provides the support needed for a seamless election experience.

Active engagement in these elections helps cultivate a harmonious and thriving community where everyone's voice is heard, and collective goals are achieved. As you prepare for your HOA elections, remember that your vote and involvement play a crucial role in shaping the future of your community. Consider contacting AAM for professional guidance and support to ensure your HOA elections are conducted smoothly and effectively.