I’ve come to realize that we, including yours truly, have gone about this national association all wrong. The vast majority of HOA members have grievances against their own HOA and some reach out to broader issues like rights and constitutional protections only in regard to their personal HOA problem. That is the chief reason for failing to organize at a state or national level. So, let’s face reality and deal with it.
My initial thoughts take me to [My Association] Council of HOA Members that functions in opposition to the board as a true member organization, as a shadow government with certain legal rights. It would be free of director/officer obligations under state laws and the CC&Rs that favor the HOA board. HOA directors or officers are not accepted as members. Think in terms of the HOA being a business corporation, like we are being told that they are, and the Council would be equivalent to the member organization in contrast to management.
They would have legally protected rights to organize, negotiate living conditions (affecting the governing documents, and to propose its own governing document amendments that must be put forth for a vote of all the members. These protections are necessary to get around the HOA attorneys’ “working with the new laws” advice that is designed to avoid the intent of the law – finding loopholes in other words. It would serve as a check on the abuses of HOA boards.
The HOA could not legally interfere with campaigning for elections or on issues, or with the right to hold meetings on and within HOA facilities, or with the use of the HOA membership lists, etc. And most importantly, in the event it gets corrupted, the Council can be dissolved by a 2/3 vote without the 20 or 30 year wait period found in the CC&Rs. But the members must stand up and act under the protection of the required new legislation, which must address retaliation against Council supporters.
Of course, legislation would be needed, as was needed to protect workers in the 1930s. You can call it unionization or the establishment of an HOA “political party.” These Councils would fit the bill. Of course, a broader state organization would be needed to provide guidance and assistance to the councils – can’t have them running amuck because they do not understand what must be done in order to accomplish their agendas.