C.T. from Litchfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are new trustees and we have a homeowner that wants a special meeting – when it says that they have to petition the board, what does that mean? Is there a form they need to complete? He is threatening legal action so we want to make sure we are handling this correctly. Thanks.
Mister Condo replies:
C.T., when homeowners threaten legal action against the Board of Directors or Trustees at a condominium or other HOA, it is usually time to get the association’s attorney involved. As you know, I am not an attorney but I do know quite a few good ones who practice community association law right herein Connecticut. I reached out to just one attorney for an opinion on your question. Here is what the attorney had to offer:
“The Board must honor a unit owner’s request for a special meeting of the unit owners if he gives the Board’s Secretary a petition demanding one, as long as it is signed by owners having 20% of the votes in the Association. The Bylaws can reduce this minimum percentage below 20%, but cannot increase it. There is no “form” for the petition; the requesting owner must create it. The board then has up to 15 days to issue a notice to all unit owners with the date, time, location, and agenda for the meeting which must take place no less than 10 and no more than 60 days after the notice goes out. If the Board fails to issue this notice, the petitioning owners can schedule the meeting themselves and circulate their own notice. The Board still runs the meeting, but most allow the topics listed in the notice to be discussed. Since emotions tend to run high in these situations – and the petitions often demand things that contradict state law as to the procedure, outcome, or both – consulting the association’s attorney is highly advisable.”
That sounds like some great advice, C.T.. Good luck to you and your fellow new Board members.