With more HOAs using digital communications to keep residents informed, many states have started to update their existing regulations. California is the most recent state after Colorado that amended its HOA communication laws. In this article, we’ll talk about the changes to California SB 392 and technology considerations to help you comply.
As a Disclaimer, this blog article is meant to provide information on the latest regulations impacting community associations and should not be taken as legal advice. You should always talk to your community association lawyer if you have any questions on how this new law may impact you and any legal advice in general.
What are the requirements for complying with SB 392?
On October 7, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 392 into law. This law specifies how community associations need to communicate with residents. Although the law went into effect on January 1, 2022, the new amendments that focus more on resident preferences go into effect on January 1, 2023.
Resident communication preferences
The amended law now requires that community associations deliver documents or notices electronically via email to residents. Email communication provides many benefits for HOAs such as reduced costs and fewer inbound calls to the office.
However, not every resident prefers email. If a resident provides an invalid email address, chooses not to provide one, or revoked their consent to receive emails, the association must communicate with them via mail.
To prepare for these changes, your technology platform must be flexible and reliable. Whether you are currently using technology or looking for a new solution, here are some questions you should ask:
1) “Do residents have multiple ways to stay informed about the community?”
Offering your residents many ways to stay informed is quickly becoming the norm. Even though the law only requires emails and postal mail, it’s a good idea to consider offering additional methods like text messages and phone calls. Text message is the most preferred choice of communication among Millennials with 90% of text messages read within 5 minutes of receiving it. Phone calls are a great way to reach elder demographics or those who don’t have electronic means of receiving messages.
If you decide to use multiple communication methods to keep residents informed, consider consolidating information in one place to make it easier to manage your data. Since separation of information can cause inefficiencies, software that can handle both automated emails and letter generation is helpful.
2) “Can residents easily inform management of their communication preferences?”
Since residents will need to confirm their communication preferences, it’s vital that your technology platform can track this information. This new law may add hours of additional work as you manage each resident’s preference manually. Having a system in place for residents to update their information can reduce workload. A self-service portal where residents can select their communication preferences, update their contact information, and unsubscribe from email if they no longer want it is key. Alternatively, management can update information on behalf of residents with their consent and can easily see which method they prefer.
3) “Do I have a way of knowing which residents don’t prefer email?”
Your technology platform should allow you to customize recipients based on whether they have electronic means of receiving messages or not. Technology should not only help you manage preferences but also easily be able to produce letters for those without an email on record.
The original requirement also states that associations with more than 50 units are required to have a website unless ⅔ of the members vote against it.
Community websites are becoming a common requirement for many states but can benefit your community in many ways. HOA website solutions are also mobile-friendly and easy to create without needing technical experience. With a well-designed community website, residents can check online for information without ever having to call the office. It unburdens your staff while giving your residents a positive experience.
Pilera Software is the leading HOA communication and management software. Thousands of communities rely on Pilera to keep residents informed through automated phone, email & text; improve customer service; and increase operational efficiency. To learn how Pilera can help manage your communities more efficiently, book a personalized demo or you can also write to us at [email protected].