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Subject: How to Vote for CCR Changes in Texas
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DavidM40
(Texas)

Posts:11


03/11/2020 7:37 PM  
Greetings to all.

This question is specific to Texas laws. I am part of a board that formed a volunteer resident committee to make updates and changes to our CCRs. During our annual meeting, we presented the changes we would like to make to the CCRs. Unfortunately, we did not meet quorum in the annual meeting.

My question is regarding the way we, as a community, can vote. Is it possible to make all residents aware of the proposed changes, and then allow voting to take place during a specific time outside of an official meeting?

For example:

"Voting for these changes will take place from August 1, 2020 through August 15th, 2020. All ballots must be submitted and received no later than 12:00pm on August 15th, 2020."

The main reason for this is to encourage participation by all residents, regardless of whether the changes are actually made. We realize many residents cannot be bothered by attending HOA meetings, so we would like to make voting simpler.

Please let me know if all this makes sense, of if I need to clarify.

Thanks.

BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:613


03/11/2020 7:57 PM  
Yes, that is legal in Texas. In fact, you have to allow residents the opportunity to vote absentee and by proxy.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/11/2020 8:44 PM  
We were required to have a "special meeting" to cast our vote for changes. However, no one could ever make that to get a vote in. So the lawyer drafted us an additional document to sign when gathering votes. That form had it written in that you agree to give up your right to vote at the special meeting. Meaning you agreed to NOT have to go to the meeting to cast your vote. Once that is signed then you signed the real vote page.

How to make changes are in your documents on how to do it. Each document requires different voting percentages.

Former HOA President
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:298


03/11/2020 8:55 PM  
You still need to have a meeting.

If your governing documents allow for voting by proxy or absentee ballot, you can collect those prior to the meeting, but you still need to have the meeting, even if it’s just you and a stack of proxies in attendance.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/12/2020 12:54 AM  
In some state there can be legally prepared Petitions an owner can sign to Change Covenants and/or Bylaws. It can also state signatures can be collected for a extended time such as 6 months.
DavidM40
(Texas)

Posts:11


03/13/2020 8:46 AM  
Thank you, so much. Does this require any documentation by the board?
DavidM40
(Texas)

Posts:11


03/13/2020 8:52 AM  
Hello, Barbara.

Thank you for your response. Yes, the plan is to have an absentee voting period of about 2-4 weeks, and have the official meeting during the last day of the voting period. All votes collected to that point will be counted.

I want to make sure I understand you statement, "If your governing documents allow for voting by proxy or absentee ballot..."

I am assuming you are saying absentee voting is permitted as long as our documents allow voting by proxy, correct?

Do you know if we have to work up any additional documents to be able to do this?

Thanks again.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/13/2020 10:20 AM  
David

While not sure about TX, in SC we can change our docs via a petition. Our lawyer says the petition has to be properly done but it can be done.

What concerns me about what you have said, is how are you going to inform all of the changes before asking for their vote? People are going to need time to read and consider the change before they vote.

Also I would want an attorney to make or bless the changes and advise on the various voting methods.

DaveP8
(Oklahoma)

Posts:15


03/13/2020 10:42 AM  
After 2 failed attempts at changing our bylaws-ccrs, I can offer a few suggestions. Not sure if this applies in your state or not.

After the new bylaws-ccrs are drafted, they must be mailed to all homeowners, along with a ballot/proxy. Then, a meeting needs to be held to give homeowners a chance to ask questions. This is usually attended by the attorney that drafted the changes. Then, a voting meeting is held which is the final date that ballots are accepted. The date of the information meeting and voting meeting needs to be stated on the ballot. We found 2-4 weeks is not long enough. Your state may set a time limit. I believe ours was 60 days from mailing of ballot to voting meeting. Even after 60 days, we failed to receive enough ballots to pass the amendments. The attorney we used was less than helpful with these details and we feel we wasted a few thousand dollars because of that. Of 300+ homes, we received around 100 ballots. A super majority was required to pass (66%) and we didn't get that many. Of the ballots we received, almost 90% were in favor of the changes, which is encouraging for any future attempts.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:562


03/13/2020 10:59 AM  
DaveP8 has some great points mentioned.

My Board tried for over 2 years in Ca. to make obvious changes (removing all of the declarant junk and all of the other builder mentions as we were 20 year old HOA) we also had a few things that the consensus of the Board were good to cleanup the document moving forward. We too had our HOA attorney involved and it cost a lot of money and time. We tried to make an easy to read summary of the changes and why they made sense. This made sense to our Board but was still over the heads of the Super Majority. We have open house meeting and had very low attendance. Because of the size of the new document, printing cost and mailing cost we spent over 10k to mail out the complete document to every HO. It never passed while I was on the Board and I think it has not been restarted to my knowledge. If I were you before spending a lot of money I would send out a Survey Monkey survey and get a feeling about how many people are feeling about your proposed changes. If you can get an overwhelming response to the survey it will never pass if you send a 50+ page CC&R document to every homeowner.

I am still learning Texas laws and am interested in what other Texas pros have to say.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/13/2020 11:28 AM  
Posted By DaveP8 on 03/13/2020 10:42 AM
After 2 failed attempts at changing our bylaws-ccrs, I can offer a few suggestions. Not sure if this applies in your state or not.

After the new bylaws-ccrs are drafted, they must be mailed to all homeowners, along with a ballot/proxy. Then, a meeting needs to be held to give homeowners a chance to ask questions. This is usually attended by the attorney that drafted the changes. Then, a voting meeting is held which is the final date that ballots are accepted. The date of the information meeting and voting meeting needs to be stated on the ballot. We found 2-4 weeks is not long enough. Your state may set a time limit. I believe ours was 60 days from mailing of ballot to voting meeting. Even after 60 days, we failed to receive enough ballots to pass the amendments. The attorney we used was less than helpful with these details and we feel we wasted a few thousand dollars because of that. Of 300+ homes, we received around 100 ballots. A super majority was required to pass (66%) and we didn't get that many. Of the ballots we received, almost 90% were in favor of the changes, which is encouraging for any future attempts.




Again SC, but our attorney said he could draft a petition that would be valid for 6 months.
DaveP8
(Oklahoma)

Posts:15


03/13/2020 11:40 AM  
Our attorney also required all ballots to have notarized signatures of all parties on the home deed. I'm not sure if that is a state requirement or just a way for the attorney to drag out the process. We are going to try online voting next time.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/13/2020 12:58 PM  
Posted By DaveP8 on 03/13/2020 11:40 AM
Our attorney also required all ballots to have notarized signatures of all parties on the home deed. I'm not sure if that is a state requirement or just a way for the attorney to drag out the process. We are going to try online voting next time.




Would he require this is voting at the Annual Meeting? Of course not. Might be time to consider a different attorney. While SC law might well be different, our attorney has the largest HOA Law Practice in SC. They know their stuff.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/13/2020 1:07 PM  
I would consider the consequences of not getting this right.

I have heard several ways to do this sort of thing - I would err on the cautious side:
- signatures of all owners on the deed (requires reviewing each deed or "going with" tax assessor data) with notarization of each signature
- limited time frame
- special meeting set up to answer any questions

You do NOT want to do this more than once ...
DaveP8
(Oklahoma)

Posts:15


03/13/2020 1:58 PM  
We have already done this twice. We learned that the majority of people which voted were in agreement with the changes. We worded the second ballot so that any homeowner that did not agree with the changes did not have to have signatures notarized but we requested the ballot be returned so it could be recorded. Very few ballots were returned with a "no" vote. So, we are left with not knowing if the other 200 or so homeowners did not agree, just didn't care or returning the ballot was too much trouble (due to notary requirement).


There must be some sort of online voting program which voters can be verified and no one can submit duplicate ballots.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3664


03/13/2020 2:58 PM  
Where a certain percentage must vote to approve an amendment, I don't think the number of 'no' votes is relevant. If you reach the required minimum level of 'yes' votes, it doesn't matter whether anyone else votes or not, regardless of whether anyone else is also voting 'yes' or 'no'.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/13/2020 3:33 PM  
David

You guys seem to be stepping on your own tails. Smme to me some legal advise on a favorable way for the BOD to accomplish the changes is needed.
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