Homeowners typically have the option to remove an HOA board member when the right conditions are met. While removing a board member can be an effective way to ensure the continued success of an HOA, it should not always be the first choice. If that time comes, though, homeowners and board members alike should know the procedure and grounds for removal.
Can You Remove an HOA Board Member?
Every homeowners association has a set of board members leading the charge. This HOA board consists of volunteer homeowners who are either elected or appointed to their positions. The board is responsible for maintaining the community and ensuring operations run smoothly.
Not all HOAs, though, are fortunate enough to have capable leaders. Some board members are unfit for their roles, while others have ill intentions. This then begs the question, “Can you remove an HOA board member?”
The short answer is yes. In general, homeowners have the power to remove an HOA board member by following the proper procedures and requirements. It is vital that homeowners possess this ability to keep board members in check and hold them accountable for their actions.
Can an HOA Board Remove a Board Member?
Homeowners generally can remove a member of the board, but what about the board members themselves?
An HOA board may not have the ability to remove a board member without obtaining approval from the membership. However, this can vary depending on state laws and the association’s governing documents. That said, an HOA board may have the power to remove an officer, stripping them of their title as president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer.
How to Remove Board Members from HOA
Not everyone knows the steps involved when attempting to remove a member from the HOA board. Following the proper steps, though, is crucial. Otherwise, people can make the argument that the removal is invalid because it was done in a procedurally flawed manner.
Here is your guide on how to remove HOA board members.
1. Check State Laws and Governing Documents
If you wish to remove a current HOA board member, the first thing you should do is check state laws and your governing documents. The governing documents, specifically the bylaws, should outline the conditions and requirements for removing a board member.
Similarly, state laws may dictate specific procedures and conditions that must be met. Not all states have laws that specifically govern HOAs and condominiums. However, many states have corporation laws that could apply to associations. If an association is structured as a nonprofit corporation, the state’s nonprofit corporation law is generally applicable.
In some states, the law mandates the automatic removal of a board member in certain situations. For example, Section 718.112 of the Florida Condominium Act calls for the automatic removal of a board member who is convicted of a felony or charged with felony theft or embezzlement. It even calls for the automatic removal of a board member who is delinquent in their dues.
2. Petition for the Removal
Can homeowners petition for HOA board member removal? Generally, yes. Homeowners can garner support for the removal of a board member by collecting signatures from other homeowners. It is paramount to include this signed petition in the proposal to remove the board member.
3. Hold a Meeting
The next step is to hold a regular or special meeting to address the call for removal. This will likely necessitate a vote from the membership. An association’s bylaws should contain more specific information concerning the details of the meeting, including when and how to conduct it, as well as any notice requirements.
4. Replace With a New Member
If the vote successfully removes the board member, the next step is to fill the vacant seat. The procedure and requirements for filling vacant board member seats will depend on state laws and an HOA’s governing documents.
Grounds for Removing an HOA Board Member
While it is not unheard of for homeowners to remove a board member for shallow or petty reasons, there generally needs to be a cause for removal. What are the reasons for the removal of HOA board members?
1. Failure to Fulfill Their Responsibilities
Board members who slack off or ignore their responsibilities altogether don’t deserve to lead the community. If a board member is not fulfilling their duties and tasks, homeowners have a good reason to remove them from their position. For example, a board member may consistently skip board meetings or fail to follow the proper procedures laid out in the governing documents.
2. Violates Their Fiduciary Duty
Board members have three primary fiduciary duties: the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, and the duty to act within the scope of their authority. If they violate one or more of these, that could be grounds for the removal of HOA officers.
3. Commits a Fraudulent Act
Fraud is a growing concern among many associations, and the correct response is to remove the problem from board members to prevent further issues. Of course, if the board member committed a crime, it is important to report them to local authorities as well.
4. Presents Conflict of Interest or Unethical Behavior
Board members should consistently exercise ethical practices and behavior when dealing with matters of the association. For instance, when a conflict of interest arises, board members should disclose the conflict and recuse themselves. If they fail to do so, it could be grounds for the removal of an HOA board member.
HOA board member abuse of power is another issue. If a board member uses their position for personal gain, to target other homeowners, or to wage a personal vendetta, they are unfit for the role and can be removed.
5. Behaves Obstructively
Some people like to cause a disturbance. If a board member is difficult to work with, is uncooperative, or likes to stir things up, they can be removed from their position. That kind of behavior will only obstruct association business and make it harder for the rest of the board to get work done.
A Step to Consider Before Removal
When confronted with a problem, many homeowners’ first instinct is to remove an HOA board member. This should not always be the go-to solution, though. Removing a board member takes time and effort, as well as a good cause for removal.
If there is a problem, homeowners should exhaust all other options first. They should attend board meetings and raise their concerns there. Take the time to reach out to the board using various communication channels. If the problem persists, only then should homeowners consider removal.
Clark Simson Miller helps HOA board members fulfill their duties and assists homeowners with matters of the association. Call us today at 865.315.7505 or contact us online to learn more!
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