Proof of Membership - Secret Ballot Elections

Effective January 1, 2020, only members of an association may be nominated and serve on the board of directors of a common interest development in California (Civil Code Section 5105b) regardless of any provisions to the contrary contained within the association's governing documents.

The definition of a member is found in the association's bylaws or CC&Rs. While in most cases, a member is defined as the person(s) named on a recorded deed, sometimes the definition is written in such a way that proof of a recorded deed is not required. Given that California is a community property state, a spouse may become an owner of a property by virtue of becoming married to a record owner.

Consequently, it is important to review the governing documents of an association to determine if a member includes a spouse who is not on title.

The Davis-Stirling Act provides no clarification because it defines a member as an owner of a separate interest.

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