Author Topic: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?  (Read 5304 times)

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MrTango

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HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« on: May 03, 2013, 12:22:35 PM »
I received the following email from the property management company for my HOA (I own a townhome):

"Good Afternoon,
[HOA's] Board of Directors would like to reconvene the annual meeting that was attempted in September 2012.  The Board needs to receive proxies in order to have enough members to establish quorum.

Please fill out the attached proxy and return to me as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for the assistance."

Attached, was a Word Document for me to fill out with my address, unit number, and either name a proxy or (if I were to leave that spot blank) it would appoint the Secretary of the HOA as proxy.

I responded with:

"Hi [Manager],

What is the new date & time of the meeting?

If I am available at that time, I will attend the meeting rather than appoint a proxy.

Thanks,
[MrTango]"

Does anyone else think it odd that they are automatically requesting proxies for the annual meeting rather than asking the homeowners to actually attend?

ETA: I've been a homeowner for a grand total of 8 weeks, so I'm very new to all of this.

*inviteseller

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 12:40:24 PM »
It sounds strange that they give you no info as to the time, date, and purpose of reconvening the meeting, just that they want you to appoint a proxy, and then to ask you to name the secretary of the board as your proxy?  I would talk to anyone on the board BUT the secretary to make sure this is on the up and up (and talk to more than one of them).  I don't personally care for the HOA system because all all the people I know in them have had horrible experiences (Being fined for not having the right color of blue curtains in a back window, which meant they had to go into their fenced yard to see this) and they said HOA meeting are like a Jerry Springer episode.   Also, go to the meeting to get a feel for what is going on, the power struggles and who to avoid

MrTango

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 12:53:36 PM »
Thanks!

I got a follow-up email from the association.  She says that they're five votes short of a quorum (each home gets one vote), and that they will reconvene the annual meeting during the first board meeting after they have achieved a quorum.

The property manager said she will send out an announcement once the next board meeting is scheduled, and I do plan to attend.  The association bylaws state that all homeowners are permitted and encouraged to attend board meetings.

I'm going to talk to my neighbors (very friendly, and they've lived there for 11 years) this evening.  After re-reading the form, I'm starting to suspect that by "proxy," they want to know who will be at the meeting to represent the home and cast that home's vote.

hobish

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 01:02:23 PM »

From the POV of someone who reviews condo and co-op projects for mortgage companies it sounds about right. The wording is odd, but the intent is not. Most condo bylaws go into serious detail about how many members are required to make a quorum, how proxies are handled, etc. Having the secretary act as proxy for everyone is not something I have heard of before, though. Thatís a little weird in my experience.
Without going into crazy detail, there have been some changes to FNMA requirements; they are probably going to need to make some decisions if anyone expects to get any sort of financing from FNMA backed banks, and for that they need enough people to vote on them.

...and while i was posting you updated :) So, yeah, that.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
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artk2002

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 01:09:55 PM »
I suspect that the "... and it will be held at the next regular Board meeting" was inadvertently left off. I wouldn't read anything more sinister into it than a simple oversight.

As far as rescheduling, it happens. I can remember one annual meeting where we had to send runners out to all of the units to get enough people to make a quorum. Thanks to the way that the California laws are now written, all items for a vote must be sent out early and paper ballots returned before the meeting. There's no need for proxies, but still a need to get those ballots back.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

mimi_cat

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 03:03:29 PM »
ITA with Art.

Most HOA's are run by the homeowners, who are not professionals.  I think this is more a case of it being poorly worded than anything sinister.

MurPl1

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 10:05:36 PM »
Actually I serve as Secretary of our HOA Board of Directors and our annual meeting (2nd attempt) was last night.

We do have a reduced quorum for the second attempt if we fail to make quorum for the first attempt.  And we did go out asking for proxies just to ensure that we'd make quorum this time.  Personally, I'd love to have enough proxies in hand ahead of time so we know for sure we aren't wasting anyone's time driving to the meeting, and then getting as many people as possible to show up is that much better.  Especially if they had already turned in proxies.

As far as turning your vote over to a proxy or the Secretary that's standard around here.  We have to have "someone" listed and it's easiest to make the Secretary the point person.  Our board doesn't count the ballots, a representative of the management company does.  I will say, it's a lot of power that I didn't realize came with the job when I accepted the nomination.

FWIW it sounds like it's all on the up and up, but poorly worded.

whatsanenigma

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 12:28:35 PM »
FWIW it sounds like it's all on the up and up, but poorly worded.

I agree.  Probably what was meant was something more like:

"HOA's] Board of Directors would like to reconvene the annual meeting that was attempted in September 2012.  The Board needs to receive proxies in order to have enough members to establish quorum. If you cannot attend in person but would like to have your voice heard, please feel free to name a proxy."

Awkward wording, combined with possibly the thought of the sender that it should go without saying that you can come in person if you like, I think that's the issue here, but I agree it does seem a bit "off".

TootsNYC

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 01:42:45 PM »
In my co-op, the default proxy is the secretary. Which annoys the pants off me, actually. Mostly because of the politics inside my building.

But I just cross it out and write my husband's name in there, and send him.

nrb80

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 01:55:35 PM »
FWIW it sounds like it's all on the up and up, but poorly worded.

I agree.  Probably what was meant was something more like:

"HOA's] Board of Directors would like to reconvene the annual meeting that was attempted in September 2012.  The Board needs to receive proxies in order to have enough members to establish quorum. If you cannot attend in person but would like to have your voice heard, please feel free to name a proxy."

Awkward wording, combined with possibly the thought of the sender that it should go without saying that you can come in person if you like, I think that's the issue here, but I agree it does seem a bit "off".

The frustrating part, from the standpoint of the board, is that most people don't actually want their voice heard.  Most people are fine paying the fee and having the maintenance done, but they don't want to get involved, unless pushed.

MrTango

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 02:00:57 PM »
OP here with an update & our decision:

LadyTango and I decided that we would remove any reference from the secretary as our proxy from the form and type my name before printing it out.  We signed it, scanned it, and emailed it (as a PDF) back to the manager.

I want to go to the meeting mostly so that I can meet the board, understand how they interact with each other, and to let them know that we intend to be good neighbors.  One small concern I have is that they may interpret my interest in being involved as interest in being on the board, which is certainly not the case.

artk2002

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 02:01:39 PM »
FWIW it sounds like it's all on the up and up, but poorly worded.

I agree.  Probably what was meant was something more like:

"HOA's] Board of Directors would like to reconvene the annual meeting that was attempted in September 2012.  The Board needs to receive proxies in order to have enough members to establish quorum. If you cannot attend in person but would like to have your voice heard, please feel free to name a proxy."

Awkward wording, combined with possibly the thought of the sender that it should go without saying that you can come in person if you like, I think that's the issue here, but I agree it does seem a bit "off".

The frustrating part, from the standpoint of the board, is that most people don't actually want their voice heard.  Most people are fine paying the fee and having the maintenance done, but they don't want to get involved, unless pushed.

You forgot the part where they decide that they want their voices heard after all the decisions have been made and work has started. "What, you're cutting down that tree by the entrance? Why didn't you tell meeeeeeeeee?"
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

artk2002

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 02:05:52 PM »
OP here with an update & our decision:

LadyTango and I decided that we would remove any reference from the secretary as our proxy from the form and type my name before printing it out.  We signed it, scanned it, and emailed it (as a PDF) back to the manager.

I want to go to the meeting mostly so that I can meet the board, understand how they interact with each other, and to let them know that we intend to be good neighbors.  One small concern I have is that they may interpret my interest in being involved as interest in being on the board, which is certainly not the case.

That's a very valid concern. Just keep practicing "I'm afraid that won't be possible." On the other hand, you may find that there is a committee where you would be interested in helping out.  Our complex has several that meet only occasionally and have limited responsibilities. For instance, there's one that plans 3-4 social events per year and another that oversees the landscaping.

I strongly encourage you to attend the board meetings, and not just the one covering the annual meeting.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

nrb80

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 02:06:15 PM »
FWIW it sounds like it's all on the up and up, but poorly worded.

I agree.  Probably what was meant was something more like:

"HOA's] Board of Directors would like to reconvene the annual meeting that was attempted in September 2012.  The Board needs to receive proxies in order to have enough members to establish quorum. If you cannot attend in person but would like to have your voice heard, please feel free to name a proxy."

Awkward wording, combined with possibly the thought of the sender that it should go without saying that you can come in person if you like, I think that's the issue here, but I agree it does seem a bit "off".

The frustrating part, from the standpoint of the board, is that most people don't actually want their voice heard.  Most people are fine paying the fee and having the maintenance done, but they don't want to get involved, unless pushed.

You forgot the part where they decide that they want their voices heard after all the decisions have been made and work has started. "What, you're cutting down that tree by the entrance? Why didn't you tell meeeeeeeeee?"

Don't forget screaming in board member's faces, telling them they are destroying the community by following the law, or telling them they are (insert dictator of choice here) because you enforce a rule. 

It's a fun volunteer job!

nrb80

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Re: HOA Annual Meeting - Does this strike anyone as odd?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 02:10:25 PM »
OP here with an update & our decision:

LadyTango and I decided that we would remove any reference from the secretary as our proxy from the form and type my name before printing it out.  We signed it, scanned it, and emailed it (as a PDF) back to the manager.

I want to go to the meeting mostly so that I can meet the board, understand how they interact with each other, and to let them know that we intend to be good neighbors.  One small concern I have is that they may interpret my interest in being involved as interest in being on the board, which is certainly not the case.

That is a fair concern.  I'll be honest, if you show up our board would be incredibly welcoming, and you'd probably get a coffee or BBQ or similar invitation from someone.  The most brilliant members would artfully get you to talk about your passions, and, gasp, there is a committee that could use you!  No pressure, but we'd love to have you!  Eventually, someone may ask you to run for the board, or similar.  You might find that you'd end up liking this.  If not, be polite and firm.  If you're interested enough to show up, even if not involved, you might end up meeting new friends and neighbors.