J.P. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can a unit owner request the calling of a special meeting of fellow owners to discuss changes to by-laws, and rules and regulations? What % of unit owners have to “sign up” and what rules apply to such a planned meeting?
Mister Condo replies:
J.P., without knowing the specifics of why this meeting would be called, I will confine my answer to the more technical aspects of how association members can call for a special meeting. As you know, I am not an attorney so please consider this friendly advice rather than legal opinion. Your first option is to review your condominium documents and read about how special meetings are called. Generally speaking, you will find a clause under the governance section that gives instruction as to who can call for a special meeting (usually the Board president, a majority of the executive Board, or unit owners holding 20% of the votes in the association.). Again, check your by-laws as the % may be different for your community.
You can’t just assemble and discuss or vote upon by-law changes, assessments, etc.. Adequate notice of the meeting as well as an agenda for the meeting must be given to all members. Items discussed are limited to what is on the agenda. Here is some official wording from the State of Connecticut’s website:
“State law requires that a meeting of the condominium association be held at least once each year. Special meetings of the association may be called by the president, a majority of the executive board, or by unit owners having 20%, or any lower percentage specified in the bylaws, of the votes in the association.
The law requires the secretary, or other officer the bylaws specify, to cause notice of an association meeting to be hand-delivered or sent prepaid by U.S. mail to the mailing address of each unit or to any other mailing address the unit owner designates in writing not fewer than 10 nor more than 60 days before the meeting. The notice must state the time and place of the meeting and the items on the agenda, including (1) the general nature of any proposed amendment to the declaration or bylaws, (2) any budget changes, and (3) any proposal to remove an executive board officer or member.”
The bottom line is that a group of unit owners can call a special meeting if they deem it necessary. A far better solution, in my opinion, is to organize those same interested parties and elect members to the Board of Directors who will better serve the common interest. When a Board is functioning in the best interest of its members, there shouldn’t be a need for individual unit owners to call their own special meetings. Good luck!