Millions of Californians live in communities, or developments that are governed by a volunteer board of directors, essentially your neighbors, who act as the homeowner’s association, also known as the HOA or “Association.” The HOA is organized as a “nonprofit corporation or unincorporated association created for the purpose of managing a common interest development.” (CID) (Cal. Civ. Code §1351(a)).
The CID can be condominiums, a community apartment project, a planned development or a stock cooperative. But no matter what form the entity is, when an HOA has to go to small claims court, the question arises, who can represent the HOA?
Under California law, an agent, management company representative, or bookkeeper are all qualified to represent the HOA in small claims court however at the small claims hearing, the person appearing on behalf of the HOA needs to provide the court with a declaration stating the representative is authorized to appear for the HOA.
In addition the declaration must also state the basis for that person’s authorization and state that the representative is “not employed solely to represent the party in small claims court.” (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §116.540(j).