- Joe Wise
Every Vote Counts in HOA Annual Meetings
Homeowner apathy creates havoc for community association elections. Owners have a variety of reasons why they don’t attend the HOA annual meeting or return a proxy. “I’ve been busy.” “We forgot.” “It’s not important.” As an HOA Board member, you know that a quorum is mandatory for elections and association decisions. Here are some tips to help homeowners understand that their vote counts!
Broadcast Importance of Quorum
Most Boards convey the annual meeting date and information according to their association bylaws and state laws. Yet, lack of follow up and/or sharing the importance of every vote can create a gap in achieving a quorum. While it may appear like you’re reiterating what homeowners already know, include the importance of a quorum in every annual meeting communication.
Communicate Value of Proxy
Well-informed homeowners would personally attend annual meetings in an ideal world. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, so lack of concern and life get in the way. Chances are that many owners in your association not only miss the annual meeting, but they also fail to return their proxy. Most associations encounter this industry-wide problem at some point. Sometimes, it’s because people don’t understand proxies.
General proxy allows holder to vote any way he/she wishes
Specific proxy provides explicit instruction on how the unit owner wishes to vote
Hybrid is general, but has space for owner to provide specific directions
These can be confusing to first-time homeowners, elderly, and other homeowners who are unfamiliar with proxies. Personally reach out to homeowners to answer proxy questions and ask for proxies. Let owners know that their vote counts!
Electing Board Members Require Quorum
New or replacement Board members are usually elected at annual meetings. It’s not just a “those who don’t vote can’t complain” scenario. These elections require a quorum to move forward. Associations without duly elected and engaged Board members can spiral out of control. Who handles delinquencies? Who oversees maintenance? A quorum makes a huge difference in running a successful association.
Reschedule Your Meeting
Without a quorum, an election and most other decisions cannot be accomplished. Don’t feel guilty about rescheduling an annual meeting when you’ve done everything you can to encourage and communicate to homeowners. You have a fiduciary duty to your members, and that includes adjourning an association meeting that doesn’t meet quorum requirements.
Wise Property Solutions is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®). As the region’s leader in community association management, the firm is committed to the industry’s best practices and continuing professional development. Wise Property Solutions’ certified and highly trained property managers empower well-organized and efficient communities. The firm maintains offices in both Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.