Get 1 year of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Wednesday, October 27, 2021











HOATalk is a free service of Community123.com:

Easy to use website tools to help your board
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: No Lawyer Present
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
MaryannC1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:19


10/10/2021 10:08 AM  
We had our annual General Membership meeting and elections yesterday. The lawyer was not present. Elections took place but the reorganization did not take place after the meeting as stated in our bylaws. Is this meeting legal? Thanks for any input!
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:22


10/10/2021 10:10 AM  
Posted By MaryannC1 on 10/10/2021 10:08 AM
We had our annual General Membership meeting and elections yesterday. The lawyer was not present. Elections took place but the reorganization did not take place after the meeting as stated in our bylaws. Is this meeting legal? Thanks for any input!




That sounds about right. For our HOA (budget = ~$275,000) we do not have the assocation attorney present at meetings. Don't need them there, waste of money. We hold elections and then within 10 days have a follow on meeting to determine officer roles. That is per our by-laws, yours of course may be different.
MaryannC1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:19


10/10/2021 10:15 AM  
Thank you, Henry. Our bylaws do not state that the lawyer must be present.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:254


10/10/2021 10:18 AM  
Posted By MaryannC1 on 10/10/2021 10:08 AM
We had our annual General Membership meeting and elections yesterday. The lawyer was not present. Elections took place but the reorganization did not take place after the meeting as stated in our bylaws. Is this meeting legal? Thanks for any input!




Attorneys do not usually attend Annual Meetings.

Was this an Annual Meeting that included the Developer to remove themselves and turn the property over to the HOA?

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


10/10/2021 10:40 AM  
Maryann

We have never had our attorney present at an Annual Meeting. It is proper procedure for the BOD to meet after the election (some do it immediately after the Annual Meeting) to elect their Officers. The BOD alone votes on its Officer positions.

Bottom line is it seems your election was properly done.
MaryannC1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:19


10/10/2021 11:30 AM  
Thanks, everyone! Our attorney has always been at our Annual meetings. Thought it was proper procedure.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


10/10/2021 12:07 PM  
I don't think you can generalize. There is a pretty wide range in HOA-land when you look at how functional/dysfunctional a community is, how competent (or not) the board is, how angry or content the membership is, whether there is something unusual going on or it's business as usual, if the annual meeting will involve only the annual election or something more, if the community has a history of shady or contested elections, etc.

It may be useful to have the attorney present in some of these situations.

We've had our lawyer present on occasion - for example, when the board had been working on some legal issue and the lawyer was there to talk about it and answer homeowner questions. The cost was pretty modest to clients who had the firm on retainer, and the attorney would do anything from observing, conducting the election, or conducting the entire meeting.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10534


10/10/2021 1:15 PM  
Remember your lawyer is NOT a HOA member. That also goes for the PM. They have to be invited to attend the meetings in general. However, with the PM it may be contracted they hold the meetings. Which varies with each HOA. IMO a PM should not hold HOA meetings but the board. It blurs the lines too much.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/10/2021 5:06 PM  
Unless your governing documents--probably your Bylaws--or PA statute say the HOA attorney can be present, there is no requirement.

We do e invite ours every year as his presence is included in his retainer. Owners like to see him, and while the ballots are being counted, retakes questions from owners after he checks the set-up of our inspectors of election and answers any questions they might have. For the first time in 15 years, the election next month is not contested, so I don't think we'll invite him. I don't think many owners will attend a there's no suspense involved.

As it sounds like wit others, our bylaws say he Organization meeting is held as soon as practicable after eh Annual Meeting. We've always held it immediately following the announcement of the new Board. It is, by the way, a meeting of the Board, Maryann. In CA, that meeting must be open for Owners to attend. But, what about PA, a closed-meeting state?
MaryannC1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:19


10/10/2021 5:33 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 10/10/2021 5:06 PM
Unless your governing documents--probably your Bylaws--or PA statute say the HOA attorney can be present, there is no requirement.

We do e invite ours every year as his presence is included in his retainer. Owners like to see him, and while the ballots are being counted, retakes questions from owners after he checks the set-up of our inspectors of election and answers any questions they might have. For the first time in 15 years, the election next month is not contested, so I don't think we'll invite him. I don't think many owners will attend a there's no suspense involved.

As it sounds like wit others, our bylaws say he Organization meeting is held as soon as practicable after eh Annual Meeting. We've always held it immediately following the announcement of the new Board. It is, by the way, a meeting of the Board, Maryann. In CA, that meeting must be open for Owners to attend. But, what about PA, a closed-meeting state?




Our meetings are always open to the membership. I was just surprised to hear that the reorganization was postponed because our lawyer was not present. It states in our bylaws, that the reorganization and selection of new chairs are to take place immediately after the General Membership meeting is adjourned. Nothing about the lawyer being present. Anyway, thanks for the reply! I really appreciate it.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1429


10/11/2021 8:52 AM  
I cannot fathom why an attorney would attend any HOA meeting unless there was some serious bleep going down.
I'm curious why any HOA would have an attorney present for a meeting.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10534


10/11/2021 9:02 AM  
LetA it is just one of those HOA cultural things. Too much TV watching IMO. People get caught up in all this "Preventing lawsuits" so must have a lawyer rhetoric. The reality is a lawyer isn't needed to be on a retainer unless your in an actual lawsuit. Pay per need is all you need when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Plus they aren't a counseling service. They are a LEGAL service.

I get a little frustrated when I see so many HOA's be so dependable on their PM or Lawyer for decision making. It paralyzes the HOA into much inaction. The lines get too blurred or too dependent. The HOA board should be in the power seat not the other way around.

Until someone actually serves legal papers to sue, I see no reason why to spend so much time/effort/money on useless prevention. Look at the worst case scenerio before jumping to the lawyer's pocket.

Former HOA President
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/11/2021 9:37 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/11/2021 9:02 AM
LetA it is just one of those HOA cultural things. Too much TV watching IMO. People get caught up in all this "Preventing lawsuits" so must have a lawyer rhetoric. The reality is a lawyer isn't needed to be on a retainer unless your in an actual lawsuit. Pay per need is all you need when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Plus they aren't a counseling service. They are a LEGAL service.

I get a little frustrated when I see so many HOA's be so dependable on their PM or Lawyer for decision making. It paralyzes the HOA into much inaction. The lines get too blurred or too dependent. The HOA board should be in the power seat not the other way around.

Until someone actually serves legal papers to sue, I see no reason why to spend so much time/effort/money on useless prevention. Look at the worst case scenerio before jumping to the lawyer's pocket.



The Inmates Are Running the Asylum
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10534


10/11/2021 10:23 AM  
Yes. In the case of a HOA the INMATES should be running the asylum. It is called a Homeowner's Association for a reason. Everyone else like PM, lawyer, lawncare, and other contractors are just hired by the HOA to ASSIST them. If the HOA can't get back to it's basics at some point, there is a problem.

Former HOA President
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/11/2021 10:28 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/11/2021 10:23 AM
Yes. In the case of a HOA the INMATES should be running the asylum. It is called a Homeowner's Association for a reason. Everyone else like PM, lawyer, lawncare, and other contractors are just hired by the HOA to ASSIST them. If the HOA can't get back to it's basics at some point, there is a problem.



Assist them to do what? Could the Board run the HOA by itself? Good or bad, I know a number of PM's that have to run the association, because the Board is too lazy to. I know, they are just volunteers with WAAAAAY too much potential power.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10534


10/11/2021 10:30 AM  
My point exactly. PM's should not have to "run" a HOA for an HOA period. A HOA should be informed and educated enough to understand the relationship between themselves and contractors. If not, then your HOA really needs help.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/11/2021 10:40 AM  
In CA in high rise HOAs, everything is different than in detached-home HOAs, no matter their size. We have, for instance, over 100 components in our three reserve studies; our orig CC&Rs are well over 100 pages long and something times need interpretation in the context of CA's many association statutes. Our HOA, btw, has never been sued; it's about interpretation and some advice on thorny subjects.

Also in CA election statutes for associations are very strict and very complicated. We pay our HOA attorney $250 a year as a retainer and that includes 2 "free" meetings with us including our annual meeting. It also includes unlimited phone calls for answers to questions from the board or the PM as approved by the Board. We not at all "dependable" on him. We have, as we should, met with him a couple of times this year on our CC&R rewrite. We'll invite him to a Town Hall on this topic to try and get out the vote (67% required to approve).

I do not think that those who were not active in high rise HOAs are qualified to give opinions on the extent to which they need regular HOA counsel.

Excuse my earlier typos, Maryan among which I should have written attorneys are NOT required to be present at CA meetings of the members.
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/11/2021 11:00 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/11/2021 10:30 AM
My point exactly. PM's should not have to "run" a HOA for an HOA period. A HOA should be informed and educated enough to understand the relationship between themselves and contractors. If not, then your HOA really needs help.



So please tell us, how does a Board "run" a HOA?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10534


10/11/2021 12:48 PM  
Read your documents. It will be all there... Articles of Incorporation if you want to keep up...

Former HOA President
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/11/2021 12:50 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/11/2021 12:48 PM
Read your documents. It will be all there... Articles of Incorporation if you want to keep up...



As always, wonderful advice!
ErnestineB
(Florida)

Posts:3


10/12/2021 2:44 AM  
Hi, what a lot of good answers you have given here, I have taken a lot on board!!!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10534


10/12/2021 4:21 AM  
Max your a PM. The rest of us are Board members or HOA members. So we are the ones who decided whom to employ as the PM or even if we need one. Too many HOA's don't know their own powers because they think they need to be lawyered up or have a PM tell them what to do.

Former HOA President
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/12/2021 8:16 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/12/2021 4:21 AM
Max your a PM. The rest of us are Board members or HOA members. So we are the ones who decided whom to employ as the PM or even if we need one. Too many HOA's don't know their own powers because they think they need to be lawyered up or have a PM tell them what to do.



Again, thanks for the enlightenment!
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/12/2021 9:01 AM  
I recently had to go out to bid on HOA attorneys for a client in Riverside County in California.

Here was the lowest:

Mini Retainer - Cost $1,000 per year
· Reduction in Hourly Rates for all services
· One-half hour office consultation on new matter
· Unlimited brief phone calls on new matters

Full Retainer - Cost $1,800 per year

All of the services offered in Mini-Retainer PLUS:
· Review/prepare vendor contracts at $250 hourly rate
· Prepare one CC&R violation letter per residence
· Prepare annual accountant audit response
· Attend one board meeting
· Review annual meeting materials
· Attend an annual meeting or adjourned annual meeting at $600 flat rate

Hourly rates...$225-$450
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/12/2021 9:05 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 10/12/2021 4:21 AM
Max your a PM. The rest of us are Board members or HOA members. So we are the ones who decided whom to employ as the PM or even if we need one. Too many HOA's don't know their own powers because they think they need to be lawyered up or have a PM tell them what to do.



How's your board working out on your fence issue?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/12/2021 10:41 AM  
Our $250 annual retainer has been in place since maybe 2014. I don't know what that large firm charges now, but suspect they like having our business and have never raised our annual retainer fee.

No one would serve on a board in my or neighboring HOAs if there were no PM, Melissa. We have a staff of about a dozen full-time custodians & security officers (24/7). 1-1/2 engineers; Lnscapers 2X/wk.; pest control, 2x/mo.; trash/recycle pick-up, daily; gym equip. insp., monthly; water test on our towers' roofs, monthly; water treatment of piping systems on roof, mo.; soft water servicing, weekly; pool cleaning, etc. bi-weekly. We, of course, have a contract with Otis elevator, which inspects monthly. We have several vendors basically "on call" including dry-out firms for leaks. They all must be provided access and sometimes escort by management. Mgmt. attends all board meetings and writes meeting minutes. They do NOT preside, but do supply a monthly update.

We also are on the midst of having EV chargers installed in our underground garage; getting ready to restore 24 (of 300) balconies; and getting ready to rehab our two lobbies. All will be underway by year's end. These all and many of the above involve contracts, which our HOA GC vets.

HOAs (there are no "COAs" in CA) like ours do need onsite PMs and we do need an attorney on retainer. Less complicated HOAs have fewer needs for such vendors. I rented in a 5 story newer condo building in downtown San Jose. Had a pool, no lobbies, no entry guard shack, clubroom, a chute on each floor for trash/recycle, small gym & elevators. They had a portfolio mgr who was onsite 12 hours/week.

I certainly can see how Max's HOAs could have PMs who preside at board meetings. Some board members make it their business to learn a lot.; some focus on one matter; some do nothing. sounds like Max's HOAs have a bunch of the latter.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).



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.
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