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Subject: Informal residents meeting
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DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:137


09/14/2021 10:43 AM  
I am the only resident board member in a community that is still under developer control. We should be reaching our benchmark for turnover of the board within the next six months. Currently, the developer has only held one public meeting each year, and they control the agenda with a pretty heavy hand.

I would like to hold an informal meeting among our residents, to discuss what they should expect over the next twelve months as we start the next phase of our community's lifecycle. However, I'm not sure if this is considered proper.

TIA for any input.
MaxB4


Posts:1210


09/14/2021 10:47 AM  
If the association were in homeowner control, and you had one board member that was not happy with the way the board was doing things, would you feel it alright for that board member to be holding a meeting like you described?
AugustinD


Posts:1585


09/14/2021 11:26 AM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/14/2021 10:43 AM
I am the only resident board member in a community that is still under developer control. We should be reaching our benchmark for turnover of the board within the next six months. Currently, the developer has only held one public meeting each year, and they control the agenda with a pretty heavy hand.

I would like to hold an informal meeting among our residents, to discuss what they should expect over the next twelve months as we start the next phase of our community's lifecycle. However, I'm not sure if this is considered proper.
-- I think you would be doing the owners a mighty favor by getting enough signatures to call for a Special Meeting of the owners and preparing an agenda with your concerns about turnover. Furthermore, I think this is a wise choice. Turnover is a big deal, as you are well aware. Your work to ensure a proper turnover has the potential to stop many headaches going forward. Folks here have seen your focus on things that should be done prior to turnover. It impresses.

-- From the Delaware Common Interest yada statute:
81-308. Unit owner meetings.
A meeting of the association must 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 at least 20 percent, or any lower percentage specified in the bylaws, of the votes in the association. Except in cases of emergency meetings, which may be held without prior notice, not fewer than 10 nor more than 60 days in advance of any regular or special meeting of the unit owners, the secretary or other officer specified in the bylaws shall cause notice of that meeting to be delivered to each unit owner by any means described in § 81-127 of this title or sent prepaid by United States mail to any mailing address designated in writing by the unit owner. The notice of any meeting must state the time and place of the meeting and the items on the agenda, or must state the website address where the agenda is located as provided in this section including: (i) a statement of the general nature of any proposed amendment to the declaration or bylaws; (ii) a statement that in the absence of objection from any unit owner present at the meeting, the president may add items to the agenda; (iii) any budget changes; and (iv) any proposal to remove an officer or member of the executive board. The agenda may be posted on the website of the association, in lieu of being included in the notice, provided that the association shall, by any means described in § 81-127 of this title, furnish to any unit owner who so requests a copy of the agenda prior to the meeting. Regardless of the agenda, unit owners shall be given a reasonable opportunity at any meeting to offer comments to the executive board regarding any matter affecting the common interest community. If the association does not notify unit owners of a special meeting within 30 days after the requisite number or percentage of unit owners requested the secretary to do so, the requesting members may directly notify all the unit owners of that meeting. Only matters described in the meeting notice required by this section may be considered at a special meeting.
AugustinD


Posts:1585


09/14/2021 11:31 AM  
One further observation:

Of course the Declarant will resist you or others making requests that certain things be done or having meetings to make sure they are done. It's this heavy hand (of which you spoke) at work. This "work" may very well be to: minimize effort to do the right thing; oppose the owners' interests; and so ultimately, maximize the Declarant's profit.
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:137


09/14/2021 11:37 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/14/2021 11:26 AM
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/14/2021 10:43 AM
I am the only resident board member in a community that is still under developer control. We should be reaching our benchmark for turnover of the board within the next six months. Currently, the developer has only held one public meeting each year, and they control the agenda with a pretty heavy hand.

I would like to hold an informal meeting among our residents, to discuss what they should expect over the next twelve months as we start the next phase of our community's lifecycle. However, I'm not sure if this is considered proper.
-- I think you would be doing the owners a mighty favor by getting enough signatures to call for a Special Meeting of the owners and preparing an agenda with your concerns about turnover. Furthermore, I think this is a wise choice. Turnover is a big deal, as you are well aware. Your work to ensure a proper turnover has the potential to stop many headaches going forward. Folks here have seen your focus on things that should be done prior to turnover. It impresses.

-- From the Delaware Common Interest yada statute:
81-308. Unit owner meetings.
A meeting of the association must 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 at least 20 percent, or any lower percentage specified in the bylaws, of the votes in the association. Except in cases of emergency meetings, which may be held without prior notice, not fewer than 10 nor more than 60 days in advance of any regular or special meeting of the unit owners, the secretary or other officer specified in the bylaws shall cause notice of that meeting to be delivered to each unit owner by any means described in § 81-127 of this title or sent prepaid by United States mail to any mailing address designated in writing by the unit owner. The notice of any meeting must state the time and place of the meeting and the items on the agenda, or must state the website address where the agenda is located as provided in this section including: (i) a statement of the general nature of any proposed amendment to the declaration or bylaws; (ii) a statement that in the absence of objection from any unit owner present at the meeting, the president may add items to the agenda; (iii) any budget changes; and (iv) any proposal to remove an officer or member of the executive board. The agenda may be posted on the website of the association, in lieu of being included in the notice, provided that the association shall, by any means described in § 81-127 of this title, furnish to any unit owner who so requests a copy of the agenda prior to the meeting. Regardless of the agenda, unit owners shall be given a reasonable opportunity at any meeting to offer comments to the executive board regarding any matter affecting the common interest community. If the association does not notify unit owners of a special meeting within 30 days after the requisite number or percentage of unit owners requested the secretary to do so, the requesting members may directly notify all the unit owners of that meeting. Only matters described in the meeting notice required by this section may be considered at a special meeting.




Thanks, so it seems that an "informal" meeting is a no-go. btw, your exceprt pretty much mirrors our bylaws; I was just hoping that if only one board member were present, and no votes could be taken, then we could just gather together to talk about things.

So the petition seems to be the route to go. I'm curious, then, how much I can "assist" in obtaining the 20% of signatures. I think most here would be in favor of it, but as you can tell I am still learning and I want to make sure I don't step over any lines.


DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:137


09/14/2021 11:39 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/14/2021 11:31 AM
One further observation:

Of course the Declarant will resist you or others making requests that certain things be done or having meetings to make sure they are done. It's this heavy hand (of which you spoke) at work. This "work" may very well be to: minimize effort to do the right thing; oppose the owners' interests; and so ultimately, maximize the Declarant's profit.




I actually think he won't mind having the meeting. He mainly doesn't like to hear complaints, and wants the meetings to be over as quickly as painlessly (for him) as possible.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4175


09/14/2021 11:39 AM  
Why not make the suggestion to the rest of the board? The first agenda may have been the developer's show, but you can still suggest some sort of town hall meeting where homeowners can ask questions and express concerns. If the developer will be turning the community over to the homeowners within the next six months to a year, this would be a good way to see what people are thinking and plans could be made from that.

You don't say if your meetings are open - if so, encourage your neighbors to attend. If the agenda features a resident forum, people can suggest such a meeting or talk to the board members afterwards to persuade them to have one.

Otherwise, what's stopping them from having their own meeting? You'll have to decide if you want to attend - since you're a resident, you have a right to, but may need to remind everyone you don't have authority to make decisions on the board's behalf. In fact, I might sit quietly and listen, take notes and then summarize the proceedings at the next board meeting. This wouldn't and shouldn't be a "so and so said X" recap, but an overview of major questions and issues that came up.

After that, it's up to the board to determine how it'll respond. Encourage people to ztte d meeting gs in the meantime-knowing people are watching may prompt them to take those concerns seriously.
AugustinD


Posts:1585


09/14/2021 11:53 AM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/14/2021 11:37 AM
Thanks, so it seems that an "informal" meeting is a no-go. btw, your exceprt pretty much mirrors our bylaws; I was just hoping that if only one board member were present, and no votes could be taken, then we could just gather together to talk about things.
An informal meeting is fine, as far as I am concerned. But I think an official owners meeting says somewhat more to the Declarant that the owners are serious about a proper turnover. For one thing, official minutes from the meeting must go on official record with the HOA. Legally, and down the road, this may count for something.

That you are a director does not mean you forfeit your rights as an owner. That you attend a meeting of the owners, and happen to be a director, does not have any bearing on what you say or do, as long as you do not try to represent your views as the board's views. If this meeting happens, preface each of your statements with, "I am speaking with my owner's hat on. I do not represent the Board's viewpoint. Though it's possible a board majority might agree with what I am saying."
So the petition seems to be the route to go. I'm curious, then, how much I can "assist" in obtaining the 20% of signatures. I think most here would be in favor of it, but as you can tell I am still learning and I want to make sure I don't step over any lines.
If you gather signatures for a Special Meeting, then you do so with your owner's hat on. Your director's hat should be left at home.

Do attach an agenda to the petition. This will offer a bit of insurance that the meeting will discuss what you and the other 20+% of signers want discussed.

The Declarant should not run this meeting, unless you owners want the Declarant to do so. If there's another owner who feels as you do, then maybe have him/her preside at the meeting.

I am keeping in mind, for one, that the Declarant may not be doing the occupancy surveys required for 55+ communities. I feel not performing these surveys is legally dangerous. It's tempting to make this an agenda item.

Two cents.
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:137


09/14/2021 12:17 PM  
Thanks for all of the input!

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