5 Common Myths About Annual Meetings
Spring is in the air and that means many HOA and condominium associations are holding annual meetings and elections. Here are 5 common myths we hear from board members and managers. Stay informed to keep your association on the right track when it comes to annual meetings.
Myth #1 - If there is a tie vote in the election for directors, the homeowners should hold another election to determine the winner.
Fact: Not necessarily, refer to the bylaws for your association to find out how tie votes are handled. Most bylaws require that a tie vote will be determined by “lot”. This means the winner of the tie vote is determined by a flip of a coin, drawing names out of a hat, drawing straws, rolling dice, etc., to determine the winner of the tie vote for the election. Rarely will a second election be permitted according to the association’s bylaws to determine the winner of a tie vote.
Myth #2 - Annual Meeting Minutes must be approved by owners at the next annual meeting.
Fact: Groups of individuals that meet once a year do not usually approve minutes. Homeowners typically only meet once a year at the annual meeting. The board of directors or a committee authorized by the board (“Minutes Approval Committee”) approves the minutes within a short time after the annual meeting. There is no need to wait an entire year to approve the annual meeting minutes at the next annual meeting and most likely nobody will remember what was said at the meeting if you wait a year to approve the minutes.
Myth #3 - Owners elect Officers.
Fact: This is incorrect. Owners, both in HOA’s and condos, elect directors. Directors then appoint Officers such as the president, secretary and treasurer. In most instances, Directors may be Officers, but an Officer is not necessarily a Director (i.e. a treasurer is not always required to be a director or even a member of the Association). Check the Association’s bylaws to be sure the Officers are appointed properly.
Myth #4 - If notices for the annual meeting are not sent on time, it’s not a big deal.
Fact: Untimely or inadequate notice of an annual meeting or other meeting of the owners can prove fatal to the election and other issues determined at the owners meeting. If successfully challenged, inadequate or untimely notice may result in the association going through the time and expense of providing sufficient and timely notice to the owners of another annual meeting and re-election of directors.
Myth #5 - If quorum requirements are not met, it’s not a big deal.
Fact: Just as with insufficient or untimely notice, the quorum requirement for an annual meeting must be met. Review the bylaws to be sure what the quorum requirement is for any meeting of the owners. Normally, the requirement is “those present in person or by proxy”, but there are bylaws which require that a specific percentage of the owners be in attendance before the meeting can be held. If the quorum is not met and a lack of a quorum is successfully challenged, just as with insufficient or untimely notice, the association may have to hold another annual meeting and be sure the correct quorum requirement is met.
Ms. Strohm has been practicing law since 2004 and is a principal of the firm Williams & Strohm, LLC. As a member of the Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, she is admitted to practice in all Ohio courts and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Read Robin Strohm's full bio.