C.B. from Maricopa County, Arizona writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Are condo owners allowed to make motions on an item they have on the meeting agenda or does the board make the decision? If no motion by homeowners is allowed, how do the owners get express their thoughts on the subject?
Mister Condo replies:
C.B., that is a great question and one that causes confusion and frustration for many homeowners. There are two basic types of meetings of condo associations and HOA. Board Meetings (typically monthly or quarterly) are open for homeowners to attend. However, as the name implies, the meeting is for the Board to conduct the business of the association. During this type of meeting, Board Members are the only ones who speak and vote. A meeting agenda is published in advance of the meeting and distributed to all homeowners so even if they don’t attend, they know the items the Board will be discussing and/or voting on. Many Boards provide (and some states require) a time allotment for homeowners to speak at a Board meeting even though the homeowners’ comments and suggestions will not result in an actionable item at that meeting. This is one way for homeowners to voice their concerns to the entire Board. Another great way to voice a concern is in writing to the Board. A homeowner’s letter is an association record and is a great way to communicate with the Board. Keep in mind that the Board is a body of elected representatives from within the association. Even though the individual homeowner’s vote or comments are not allowed at a Board meeting, the Board members were democratically elected (or appointed by the other democratically elected Board members in the case of a vacancy) to conduct the association’s business. In other words, you had a say in who was elected. If a Board member or members don’t adequately conduct the business of the electorate as the electorate sees fit, there is always the opportunity to vote them out of office at the next election or recall them in more dire circumstances.
The other type of meeting is the Annual Meeting. At this meeting, homeowners are allowed and encouraged to vote on items such as the Annual Budget and the election of officers. There is a required open forum allowing for homeowner comments and suggestions. There may be other agenda items for homeowners to vote on at an Annual Meeting as well. I hope this explanation helps. Let your voice be heard!