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HOA Decision Making Behind Closed Doors: A Violation of Civil Code § 4910

HOA Decision Making Behind Closed Doors

Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) are created to manage and govern common interest developments. They establish rules and guidelines to ensure the community functions harmoniously. However, it is vital that HOAs operate transparently and in accordance with the law. A hypothetical scenario below highlights the significance of abiding by California Civil Code Section 4910, which prohibits the board from taking action on any item of business outside of a meeting.

Hypothetical Scenario

Imagine a gated community in California under the management of a local HOA. Within the community, there are shared amenities like a swimming pool, community garden, and a playground.

The HOA Board starts making substantial decisions affecting homeowners in closed sessions, without proper notice or open meetings. For example, they decide to renovate the swimming pool, impose additional fees for garden maintenance, and restrict playground access to certain hours.

Homeowners in the community, caught off guard by these sudden changes, begin to voice their concerns.

Understanding Civil Code § 4910

California Civil Code Section 4910 explicitly states that, except under specific circumstances, the board shall not conduct business outside of a meeting. Emergency situations, litigation matters, or personnel issues might be discussed in closed sessions, but making broad community decisions must be done in open meetings with proper notice to the homeowners.

Legal Implications in Our Scenario

The decisions made by the HOA Board in our hypothetical situation clearly violate Section 4910. These are not issues that can be discussed in closed sessions, as they affect every homeowner within the community.

1. Lack of Transparency: Homeowners have the right to know about decisions that affect their living environment and financial responsibilities. The closed-door decisions undermine trust and foster discontent within the community.

2. Potential Legal Action: Violation of Civil Code § 4910 may expose the HOA to legal action. An aggrieved homeowner, backed by evidence of the violation, may pursue a lawsuit to challenge the decisions.

3. Invalidating Decisions: Courts may find the decisions taken in closed sessions to be invalid, and the HOA may be forced to revert to the status quo.


HOA Boards must operate within the bounds of the law, ensuring that their actions are transparent and accountable to the homeowners they serve. The hypothetical scenario presented above emphasizes the importance of understanding and abiding by California Civil Code Section 4910.

If your community faces a situation like the one described, legal counsel with experience in HOA law is strongly recommended. Ensuring compliance with all legal obligations can preserve the harmony and integrity of the community, avoiding unnecessary legal conflicts and fostering trust among residents.