While it may be possible for California residents to represent themselves in cases against homeowners association boards, it may not be the best strategy. This is because a case against an HOA may be a complicated one. It is possible for a board to argue that the claim is derivative. This means others may experience a negative outcome if a single case is dismissed or doesn't result in a positive outcome for a single plaintiff.
If a case is considered to be derivative in nature, it says that a person was injured only because of an action that may impact the entity as a whole. If a claim is declared to be derivative, the board may argue that a single person has no standing to pursue the case without a law license. In the event that a person files a claim against a homeowners association, any compensation obtained by an individual may be paid to all members of the association.
California law says that members of a homeowners association may take legal action against an HOA board to compel enforcement of rules and regulations. This is generally true regardless as to whether or not a plaintiff has the authority to practice law in the state.
An HOA dispute may involve a complicated set of internal rules and state law that is used to determine how it may be resolved. Therefore, it may be best to resolve such a dispute with the help of an attorney. At the very least, an attorney may provide guidance to individuals who want to bring up issues with the board in an effective manner without straining existing relationships.