Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Monday, July 22, 2019
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Initiating a referendum
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
RonL13
(Texas)

Posts:4


06/30/2019 6:26 PM  
Our Board is giving me the run around about how to initiate a referendum to amend the Deed Restrictions. They have a process by which homeowners "suggest" revisions to an ad hoc, unelected committee, and the committee, apparently has sole authority whether to include that suggested revision in an upcoming vote with other proposed revisions.

Is there a requirement that HOAs have to allow a petition to initiate a vote? If so, would the petition have to be signed by a majority of homeowners, or stated differently, if I present a petition with a significant percentage of homeowners, enough to suggest it has a reasonable likelihood of passage by a majority if allowed to be voted on, is there any way to force that vote? How about if there is a majority of votes on the petition such that passage at vote would be certain.

Just hard to believe a small committee or even a Board could deny the will of the members. Yet, they seem to be trying.
AugustinD


Posts:1791


06/30/2019 6:37 PM  
Good question. Do your CC&Rs have a section on calling a Special Meeting? Usually the members via petition can do so. If your CC&Rs have this, I think you could petition for a Special Meeting for the purpose of amending the Deed Restrictions. You will have to dot every i and cross every t, legally, to be successful. You have to be particularly careful about giving all proper legal notice.
RonL13
(Texas)

Posts:4


06/30/2019 9:46 PM  
I've only seen two docs, the Bylaws and Deed Restrictions. I think your reference to CC&Rs would refer to the Bylaws. I'll read them again, but don't recall any mention of a petition process or any other way to force a referendum.

They keep trying to tell me, politely but vaguely, that the revisions I propose have no chance of passing, ergo implying they don't want to mess with it. And maybe they don't, although from discussing the issue on the NextDoor site, I seem to have more supporters than detractors. They point to the apathy of our neighbors, and how a non-vote equals a NO vote when it comes to revising deed restrictions. They use the example of a popular revision that was passed with no opposition from anyone, but because of all the non-votes still only received 62% approval - if only another 12 people had not voted, it wouldn't have passed. Thus, because my issue will likely have a good number of passionate No voters, combined with the apathetic non-voters, my chances are slim to none, in their view.

All true, I suppose, but activism can overcome apathy. So, I ask them about whether proxy votes are allowed, figuring I can go door-to-door recruiting support. If I get my neighbors to give me their proxy for this one vote, they can go back to being apathetic. And the Board keeps dodging that question.

NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3464


07/01/2019 12:19 AM  
I'm seeing your questions in 2 phases:

1. You want your issue brought before the membership. As Augustin said, there should be some method described in your organizing documents (typically Declaration and Bylaws) for you to petition for a Special Meeting to be held. Your docs should say what percent of the members need to sign the petition so that your BOD must hold that meeting. Yes, you can go around and collect signatures for your petition.

2. You want your issue voted on by the members. That should also be in your docs, but in a different section. That will require a formal vote with a certain percentage of the owners approving your measure. There will also be requirements about advance notice, etc. If your docs allow proxies, then proxies can be used. If no proxies or mail-in votes are allowed, you would have to get the right number to come to the meeting.

Finally, your state has statutes on these issues. Those statutes might override what's in your docs.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3464


07/01/2019 12:19 AM  
I'm seeing your questions in 2 phases:

1. You want your issue brought before the membership. As Augustin said, there should be some method described in your organizing documents (typically Declaration and Bylaws) for you to petition for a Special Meeting to be held. Your docs should say what percent of the members need to sign the petition so that your BOD must hold that meeting. Yes, you can go around and collect signatures for your petition.

2. You want your issue voted on by the members. That should also be in your docs, but in a different section. That will require a formal vote with a certain percentage of the owners approving your measure. There will also be requirements about advance notice, etc. If your docs allow proxies, then proxies can be used. If no proxies or mail-in votes are allowed, you would have to get the right number to come to the meeting.

Finally, your state has statutes on these issues. Those statutes might override what's in your docs.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3464


07/01/2019 12:19 AM  
I'm seeing your questions in 2 phases:

1. You want your issue brought before the membership. As Augustin said, there should be some method described in your organizing documents (typically Declaration and Bylaws) for you to petition for a Special Meeting to be held. Your docs should say what percent of the members need to sign the petition so that your BOD must hold that meeting. Yes, you can go around and collect signatures for your petition.

2. You want your issue voted on by the members. That should also be in your docs, but in a different section. That will require a formal vote with a certain percentage of the owners approving your measure. There will also be requirements about advance notice, etc. If your docs allow proxies, then proxies can be used. If no proxies or mail-in votes are allowed, you would have to get the right number to come to the meeting.

Finally, your state has statutes on these issues. Those statutes might override what's in your docs.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3464


07/01/2019 12:19 AM  
I'm seeing your questions in 2 phases:

1. You want your issue brought before the membership. As Augustin said, there should be some method described in your organizing documents (typically Declaration and Bylaws) for you to petition for a Special Meeting to be held. Your docs should say what percent of the members need to sign the petition so that your BOD must hold that meeting. Yes, you can go around and collect signatures for your petition.

2. You want your issue voted on by the members. That should also be in your docs, but in a different section. That will require a formal vote with a certain percentage of the owners approving your measure. There will also be requirements about advance notice, etc. If your docs allow proxies, then proxies can be used. If no proxies or mail-in votes are allowed, you would have to get the right number to come to the meeting.

Finally, your state has statutes on these issues. Those statutes might override what's in your docs.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3464


07/01/2019 12:19 AM  
I'm seeing your questions in 2 phases:

1. You want your issue brought before the membership. As Augustin said, there should be some method described in your organizing documents (typically Declaration and Bylaws) for you to petition for a Special Meeting to be held. Your docs should say what percent of the members need to sign the petition so that your BOD must hold that meeting. Yes, you can go around and collect signatures for your petition.

2. You want your issue voted on by the members. That should also be in your docs, but in a different section. That will require a formal vote with a certain percentage of the owners approving your measure. There will also be requirements about advance notice, etc. If your docs allow proxies, then proxies can be used. If no proxies or mail-in votes are allowed, you would have to get the right number to come to the meeting.

Finally, your state has statutes on these issues. Those statutes might override what's in your docs.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
RonL13
(Texas)

Posts:4


07/01/2019 12:48 AM  
LOL, I'm seeing your response in 5 phases. Seriously, thanks for the info. The Committee chair finally responded late tonight to say that our HOA simply follows the state statutes in that regard and provided a link to some info. Just seems strange that it took asking 6 times for that simple answer.

Thank both (all 6?, lol) of you for helping!
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:299


07/01/2019 5:52 AM  
We went through the amendment process in my community. Based on my experience, I'd listen to the board's comment that your proposed amendment has no chance of passing. Of course it's possible that they're blowing you off, but board members often have a better sense of the community's "personality" than an owner does. In addition, a proposed amendment will very likely need to be written by association's attorney to make sure it complies with all legal requirements, which would require an outlay of money up front (over $1000 in my area). As well, most states have pretty high barriers to passage - in my community it's 75% approval by the membership. It also costs money to conduct the necessary voting in the community. A responsible board will be hesitant to spend association money on what turns out to be wasted effort.

I recommend that you do your homework first. Check out the legality of what you're asking for. Make a list of possible consequences of the change, including unintended ones. Ask that the board poll the membership to gauge community support for the proposed change (and be careful not to mistake very vocal support from a small group for "community support"). Many good ideas never make it past the homework stage - it's the nature of the beast.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8436


07/01/2019 7:36 AM  
Ron

Typically an amendment needs a % of all owners approving it for it to pass. Note I say all owners. If it achieves that % of yes votes it passses. Rarely is it a Yes or No vote and if such, the No votes do not count against.

Let us say 120 owners and 51% need to pass. This means 61 owners must vote yes. No such thing as votes counting against. 61 or more say Yes, it passes. 60 or less saying Yes, it does not pass.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:374


07/01/2019 8:52 AM  
Ron

A quick note: In Texas the maximum percentage of owners for approval which can be required is 67%, regardless of what your HOA documents say. The Legislature made this change to Section 209 of the property code several years ago.

However, if your documents have a lower percentage threshold for approval, say 51% of the owners, that is OK.
RonL13
(Texas)

Posts:4


07/01/2019 10:10 AM  
Thanks everyone. I finally got a link to the info I needed from a board member. I was trying to do something about vicious dogs. A pit bull came through a neighbors fence like it was tissue paper and attacked my dog. I had to choke it out to get it to unlocked from my dog. Vet said he was seconds away from death. Luckily it had a stout collar, and even more lucky, it didn't turn on me when it came to.

Horrifying experience for anyone, but for me especially - pits killed/tore up my last dogs too, and another neighbor's pits backed me into a corner of his porch when I went to complain about their attacks. I'd raised this topic a year earlier on Next Door and got shouted down, then suspended by the site. They suspended me again this time for "causing" the attacks with my topic.

But, there's a vocal group of pit lovers who deny reality, and their ND attacks have, it seems, intimidated all the neighbors who were supportive. I thought my proposals were fair - register dangerous breeds with the HOA so we know where they are, have secure fences, and if you walk them in the neighborhood, they have to be muzzled. Alas, when people who own large vicious pit bulls are just as vicious as their dogs, people get intimidated easily.

I'm getting a LTC instead. Everyone else will just have fend for themselves. I tried.

Thanks for helping. My dog is going to recover. I tore a retina and had surgery, and am starting to see better after 3 weeks.

None of the pit owners would ever answer my simple question: Why? Why have a pit when there are so many nicer breeds. Why rescue a pit (their typical non-response) when so many other dogs are being killed in the shelters every week. Boils down to two types of people - thugs and weepy-eyed do-gooders who feel sorry for pits, but don't give a ____ about their neighbors living in terror.

LOL, sorry, y'all get the rant too.
AugustinD


Posts:1791


07/01/2019 10:16 AM  
Ron, did you contact your city to see what its animal control services can do for you? I agree what happened is a huge deal (to say the least). From your description, I think you are better off using any wording in the deed restrictions about going after nuisance owners or owners who have a 'hazardous activity' going on. If the Board knows about the fence not holding in the pit bull, the board could be facing serious liability if it does nothing. It depends on the deed restrictions.

It sounds like you have plenty on your plate. For what it is worth, I would be so furious as well and probably frightened. I would be moved to action and be cussing out the dog owner and, if the deed restrictions indicate the HOA has a duty here, the HOA too.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Initiating a referendum



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement