Thank you for your patience as I looked into this.
I am sorry to hear you association is having such serious issues.
First, the governing documents (bylaws, CC&Rs) are what dictates the rules of the association, so long as they don't conflict with statutory/case law. An HOA can restrict the number of units, votes, and seats a family may have-so that multiple unit owners are given only one vote, spouses cannot serve simultaneously, etc. So the governing documents would need to be reviewed to determine what the particular restrictions are.
Secondly, the HOA has a fiduciary duty, as do the board members. This means that they must treat each owner equally, and they cannot raise dues to avoid collecting back dues.
A fiduciary duty means that the person in the fiduciary capacity owes a duty to the other person- and that the fiduciary must act in good faith, with the best intentions, to preserve any property that is at issue. Failure to act in this manner (essentially, a trust/guardian) is considered a "breach" and can result in:
1. removal of the fiduciary
2. sanctions (ie fines, award of attorney fees, etc)
3. damages (economic liability for the damages suffered by the party to whom the duty was owed)
So while an HOA typically has owners that will have an interest (some do allow non-owners to govern) they are expected to act impartially.
Before suing an HOA, the owner must comply with Civil Code section 1363 et seq, which requires that the owner first utilize the HOA's internal dispute resolution process, among other restrictions. If one intends to sue, it is best to hire an attorney because the board will have an attorney. The court may award legal fees to the prevailing party.
As for arrears, unless the bylaws specify that the owner is disqualified, then they would be eligible to serve; the idea is that the governing documents constitute a contract between the owners and the HOA, so the parties are to negotiate the terms. Of course, these can be amended, so if a lawsuit results in the ouster of a board member, (or multiple members) it is quite common to then review the bylaws to see if an amendment is necessary.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.