Occupant, Defined

One who resides in a separate interest (usually a dwelling). An “occupant” may be an owner, or may refer to a tenant, or family member of the primary occupant. Usually distinguished from “guest” (meaning a person who does not intend to reside in the separate interest for an extended period of time, and who says in the separate interest at the invitation, and in the company, of the occupant.

Officers

Officers of the association serve the traditional roles of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. The association’s bylaws are often the best resource for answering questions about the types of officers your association needs, their qualifications, their duties and their terms. Officers are generally elected by the board of directors at an organizational meeting held immediately after an election.

Open Forum

Refers to the right of owners to address the board at each open board meeting and “association” (annual) meeting. The board is obliged to set a time for all members of the association to address the board. The board has the authority to regulate the manner of address, and disruptive actions by owners.

Open Meetings

A meeting of the board of directors, other than an emergency meeting or executive session. The Common Interest Development Open Meeting Act (Civ. Code §4900 et seq.) sets forth the requirements and parameters for open board meetings. Other than meetings properly held in executive session (Civ. Code §4935), all meetings of the board are open to association members. A “board meeting” is defined in Civil Code section 4090. Neither open nor executive session meetings may be conducted via a series of electronic transmissions, except under specified emergency circumstances following strict procedural requirements set forth in the Open Meeting Act. (Civil Code §4910) The Open Meeting Act is distinguished from the Brown Act, which applies to public commissions, boards and councils and other public agencies in California, and which does not apply to common interest developments.

Opt Out

Associations must keep membership lists containing members’ name, addresses and other information used to contact individual members. Members may request copies of the membership list, if the purpose for requesting the list is reasonably related to the requester’s interest as a member. Pursuant to Civil Code section 5220, members may opt-out of being included on the membership list.

Ownership

Typically refers to the “fee simple title” to an interest in real property, or the possession and right to permanent use of a piece of personal property. In addition to title vested in individuals, ownership of real property may be held by a trustee, a partnership, a corporation, a conservator of the estate, or the executive of a will or administrator of estate. The right to exercise the incidents of ownership (such as the right to vote) depends on the manner in which title to the real property is held. An “owner of record” is a person whose title is evidenced by a recorded instrument, usually a deed.