Question: We recently read that names should not be included in the minutes. Can we legally go back over the past few years and strike the any names from the minutes which have already been approved?
Answer: The minutes should contain names of board members and guests that take part in the meeting. As a matter of fact, it is extremely important that names be included when votes are taken. The minutes should record who makes a motion and who seconds it. If a board member voted against something that he felt was not in the HOA’s best interest, it is entirely appropriate to record his name as a dissenting vote if he requests it.
If you are talking about recording names of delinquent owners in the minutes then the matter is entirely different. It is best to refer to delinquencies in the minutes only by amount and collection status (30 days past due, etc.). Should you go back and sanitize such names from the minutes? No. The minutes have been approved and distributed in their current form. Changing them would raise suspicions that other parts have been changed or deleted. Let sleeping dogs lie. But make sure in the future not to include names of dogs like these that might come back and bite you.
Question: Could a parking enforcement rule be approved by an HOA board without the approval of the owners? The governing documents clearly state that "any additional rules can enacted by the board if deemed prudent and appropriate." We have never had much of a parking problem in our community and it seems that the board is just making rules because of a few violators. Is this considered "prudent and appropriate"?
Answer: The board generally does have the power to enact rules that are in keeping with the governing documents. However, it is highly advisable for the board to run all proposed rules passed the members for review prior to enacting them. If the rule is not supported, the board should not enact it. And it is not appropriate to enact a rule because of a few violators. Rules should only be enacted when there is frequent and ongoing violation of issues that affect resident livability, safety and property values.
Question: Our HOA recently had an annual meeting where 12 owners were represented in person and the remaining 12 by proxies which were given to the board president to vote. This has happened at past annual meetings as well and because of this, his voting block carries every issue. Our HOA has become a dictatorship and we have no voice.
Answer: A proxy grants someone else the authority to act on another’s behalf, in this case, at the annual HOA meeting. Much of this particular issue has to do with how the proxies are worded to begin with. Generally proxies should allow the proxy giver several options like:
Option 1. I assign my voting rights to [blank] (This could be anyone of legal age, even a non-owner.)
Option 2. I assign my voting rights to one of the directors of the board who is not running for election. (Proxies thus marked are distributed equally among the qualifying directors).
Option 3. I give this proxy for quorum purposes only. My voting rights are not assigned to anyone.
Having such wording clearly allows more discretion to the proxy giver than a proxy that states only “I assign my voting rights to the president of the board." If this is the wording on your proxy, It clearly is a setup to keep the current president in control and needs to be changed now. If it is not written this way and merely leaves a blank to be filled in, the president could go door to door and ask each owner to write his name on their proxy. But other members (including you) could do the same thing. If your proxy is written this way, I suggest you gather as many proxies as possible before the next Annual Meeting and start making changes in this dictatorship.
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