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How do we get the condo association board to follow our bylaws?

Posted on Fri, Dec 03, 2010 @ 02:24 PM

I live in a 766 unit complex. I recently found out the condo association board is not following the by-laws for the voting process. I challenged the condo board and was told that it's up to their discretion how to conduct the election. It is not done at the annual meeting as stated in our by-laws it is done by mail through an accounting firm with the information on eligible voters being furnished by the Property Manager. Short of filing a civil suit, any suggestions?

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Which state do you reside?

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 2:36 PM by r

If you are in AZ you may not be aware that a law was passed several years ago which prohibits using proxies and requires mail-in ballots. 
But, if you are not in AZ, this will, of course, not apply. So, can you tell us exactly what your bylaws say and also where you are located?

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 3:02 PM by mary

Most stae condominium law require that unless the council of unit owners has formally delegate the responsibility of adopting the budget to the board of directors -this delegation authority would have to be shown in the minujtes of the board meeting where such delegation was announced-that the annuaol election would have to be conducted as sp[ecified in that state law. Relief shoulkd be sought by first quoting the pertinient par of the state law to your board and advising if these proceduresd are not followed that a complasint shall be registered with the state Attorney General's office. This approach has worked in several cases I am aware of. You may also remind the board members that the immunity granted them in the bylaws does not protect them from an illegal act and they could possibly be held personally liable for not conducting the election as required by state law. 
The contention that it is up to the board's discresion is a fantasy!

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 3:04 PM by Charles Adler

Excellent comments above. I will only add that I have documented a few examples, with links to the source of the information, regarding the possible consequences that can result of a board not following the law and their legal documents: www.wvnorthface.info/nf/pg.php?&page_name=fiduciary

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 3:27 PM by Rick

In NJ 2/3 of the eligible owners can vote the board off and put in and vote in a new board. 
What state are you in?

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 3:29 PM by Victor

Great answers...many thanks

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 4:32 PM by Mr. Leisureville

Several of the "answer providers" always remind people that we need the State location. The response also usually refers the inquirer to the Condo Act for the State. Most Acts have specific language for election process by condos.  
As an example, if a condo does not meet quorum requirements to open the meeting, the election itself cannot take place. In some jurisdictions - Florida and locally Montgomery County, MD, - ballots must be confidential. In addition to State regulations, certain court decisions apply. For incorporated condo associations, the State may also have applicable Corporations legislation. 
With "weighted" voting assignments, the use of an accounting firm itself may be reasonable as may be the use of an independent company, the condo's attorney, the local League of Women Voters (as long as they are familiar with condo procedures).  
Obtain the state's Condo Act, that section of your docs dealing with Annual Meetings and elections, a sample "election procedures" from a neighboring condo, or from online sources, prepare a comparison with the procedures currently being used by your condo. Write a letter to the board and to the other participating parties, include this information, and recommend that the board review the process with the condo legal authority and the insurance agent. The insurance cannot defend the board's actions if not in compliance with state regulations. Document your request and any response.  
Perhaps ask the board for an explanation. They may have a legal opinion that the procedures meet your state's requirements. There may be no problem with the use of the accounting firm. However, most documents permit nomination from the floor at the Annual Meeting. Also, most condos collect the directed proxy prior to the meeting - when an owner appears in person, the proxy is returned to them as invalid. Then they can vote for anybody further nominated at the meeting. (I have encountered strongly opinionated members who do not want a ballot - their mind is already made up.)  
The management company normally is the source of eligibility for voting by a member since the normal disqualifier is unpaid assessments. Again, each association has different timeframes to disqualify a member; some condos state that a lien must have been filed.  
As with so much regarding the actions, responsibilities, and obligations - much needs to be learned. It is one of the most challenging industries.  
Good luck.

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 4:46 PM by Nancy Jacobsen

please open this attachment 
I've highlighted portions to emphasizewhat fiduciary responsibility a Board of Directors legally owe to their fellow unit owners. Violatgion of this duty cajn have very severe legal penalties for the Board and it's individual members. The Association insurance willl not pay legal penalties if Board actions are judged to be illegal.

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 5:31 PM by Charles Adler

In addition to your concerns,for an association of your size you might ask yourself if the Association's voting register is being correctly maintained. that is vital for a fair election.  
Do you know if the correct person always gets the chance to vote for their own unit?  
It is helpful if the name of the voter of record is stated on the ballot notification paperwork that is sent to unit owners and, the unit owner needs to get the chance to correct any error with the management office.  
In some larger associations instances have been reported of a large number of votes being disallowed due to to 'faults' in the voting register as well as on voting on the completed ballot paper.  
Routinely,as well as declaring the total number of votes that were cast and the counts for and against reported in the result, the number of disallowed ballots should also be declared.  
Security of the ballot papers is certainly an issue in some of the more 'political'associations.  
Numbering the ballot papers has even had to be applied in some places to be able to audit against potential ballot stuffing.

posted @ Friday, December 03, 2010 8:24 PM by John C

I am the one that made this comment. I am in the state of New Jersey

posted @ Saturday, December 04, 2010 10:19 AM by Judi Pawiak

New Jersey has a fairly thorough Condo Act. It can be accessed online.  
I am out of the office and will respond later this week-end as there now is an agency providing assistance to condo owners.  

posted @ Saturday, December 04, 2010 10:36 AM by Nancy Jacobsen

I look forward to all of your comments. Thank you

posted @ Saturday, December 04, 2010 10:46 AM by Judi Pawiak

Well I did a lot of research with all of the sites everyone posted. In the state of NJ a non-profit corporation must hold their election at the annual meeting. So I guess it's going to have to be a civil matter. Read for yourself what I found. http://www.lawnj.com/about/articles/Annual_Meetings.pdf 

posted @ Sunday, December 05, 2010 9:59 AM by Judi Pawiak

I live in MA. Is it a law to have minutes of annual meeting?

posted @ Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:37 PM by Daniel J. McGonagle

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