Ask the HOA Expert: Contradictions In The Bylaws

Written by Richard Thompson Posted On Thursday, 29 September 2022 00:00

Question: Our bylaws state that "a quorum is required to adopt decisions at any meeting of the association". However, our state's Condominium Act states, "Unless at that meeting a majority of all the unit owners or any larger vote specified in the declaration reject the budget, the budget is ratified, whether or not a quorum is present." Isn't this a contradiction?

Answer: The governing documents usually trump state law but you should check with an attorney that specializes in HOA law in your state.

Question: Our manager stated that a special assessment would require a majority approval vote by the members. Our bylaws state that if the reserves are inadequate for any reason, the board may levy a special assessment.

Answer: The board has the authority to levy a special assessment without a member vote. However, it's always wise to hold an informational meeting for the members before doing so to achieve "buy in".

Question: We have a resident who feuds with and intimidates other residents by aiming a video camera at their units and other private spaces. Suggestions?

Answer: What you describe is stalking and both illegal and a "nuisance" area of rules enforcement. If one neighbor engages in intimidating or illegal behavior toward others, it violates the basic rule of privacy and quiet enjoyment which all residents are entitled to. This owner should be sent a demand letter to cease and desist or risk legal action from the HOA. Also, I believe that this type of private surveillance activity is against most local ordinances so the police might also be brought into bear by residents who are being spied on.

Question: We have buildings which occasionally have sewage backups. Should the HOA pay for repairs and cleanup?

Answer: The HOA should maintain common water supply and drain lines and individual unit owners should maintain the plumbing that only serves their unit. You might consider scheduling preventive cleaning on all main lines every year to avoid backups.

Question: We are holding an election for two board positions and have another director who plans to resign her position at the annual meeting. What should we do?

Answer: If this director resigned before the meeting, the board would appoint a replacement for the remaining term or the next election depending on what the governing documents say about it. But under these circumstances, the board should seek a candidate for election to the resigning director's position to fill the remainder of that director's term.

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