If an annual HOA meeting is not posted for ten days, and none of the applicants for board positions are distributed with proxies to the owners, so 7 people and the 5 board members arrive and vote themselves in, is this a legal meeting?
- Portland, Oregon
Great question, and thanks for writing! I think you’re right to throw a ‘flag on the play,’ to borrow a football analogy.
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Here’s a general mention of some best practices when it comes to handling proxy votes:
A few suggestions:
Proxies should be distributed by the property management company, and returned to the property management company, directly. Don’t allow board candidates to collect them directly.
If you do have people collecting proxies, limit them to two or three or some other small number in relation to the total number of units and votes. This limits the power of proxy hoarders and they cannot
Insist that all Board meetings be advertised directly to owners – possibly by registered mail, so that the HOA has a record of having notified each owner. This can go a long way to preventing challenges later.
HOAs should use their own proxy forms when state law allows. They can be watermarked or encoded to prevent counterfeit proxies.
All owners should be able to inspect any proxy votes cast on their behalf.
Consider letting owners vote for board members or on key issues in absentia without proxies, by verified email or direct mail.
Writing about personal finance and investments since 1999, Jason Van Steenwyk started as a reporter with Mutual Funds Magazine and served as editor of Investors’ Digest. He now publishes feature articles in many publications including Annuity Selling Guide, Bankrate.com, and more.