Another interesting change coming is the replacement of the owner-occupied position on the board with the reserved position for owners of non-leased voting units. The term non-leased voting unit doesn’t seem much clearer than owner-occupied position, but maybe the change will reduce confusion about who is eligible to vote for the position (as opposed to who can be a candidate for the position). Continue reading
It is AGM season again. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to highlight a post from two years ago about motions at meetings using Robert’s Rules of Order. I posted a Chart that I had made summarizing the motions that I see most often at condominium meetings.
I hope this helps with your AGMs. Please feel free to contact me with questions or if you would like me to present to your organization.
I’ve had a few questions about requisition meetings recently so I thought I would take some time today to make a few comments about them.
First, a requisition does not always mean that the owners distrust the board or think they are doing a bad job. Often, in my experience, the owners simply want more information than they feel they have been given. Sometimes the information requested was previously provided to the owners, which can be a big source of frustration for directors and managers. Try not to take it personally. The information may have been misplaced or forgotten, or they may not have understood the information provided and need clarification. Whatever the reason, consider the meeting an opportunity to discuss issues and find creative solutions to problems.
Second, preparation is the key to a successful requisition meeting. There is nothing more frustrating to the owners than attending a requisition meeting only to find the board does not have answers to any of the questions asked by the owners in the requisition. This will lead to a heated and lengthy meeting. Take a few hours before the meeting to review the relevant documents, talk to the necessary contractors or professionals, and consider preparing any visual aids or handouts that might assist.
Third, pick a venue that works well for a requisition. If the requisition is likely to result in a volatile meeting, such as where the removal of directors is sought, pick a neutral location such as a common room or your local library. Don’t hold the meeting in an owner’s unit. Also, consider if security guards or off-duty police should be hired for the meeting to ensure that all attendees are safe. This shouldn’t be necessary for most meetings, but I have been to meetings where I was glad they were there!
Finally, consider if other people, such as contractors and professionals, should be invited to the meeting. If the requisition mentions issues with a major repair project, it might be a good idea to have the engineer present. Sometimes a lawyer might be a good idea, such as where there are complex legal issues to discuss, but other times the lawyer’s presence might create a hostile environment for the meeting. It isn’t necessary to have a lawyer attend or chair the meeting; the lawyer should only be invited if his or her presence will assist in some way.
For more information, see my previous posts on requisitions:
One of the most contentious sections of the Condominium Act, 1998, is section 46, which is the right of owners to requisition a meeting of owners. Given the number of cases on the requisition right (most of which dealt with improper denials of valid requisitions), it is no wonder section 46 was one of the sections targeted by the government for a significant overhaul. In fact, section 46 will be repealed in its entirety and replaced with a very different process.
The amendments to the Act are designed to reduce disputes regarding the form and content of requisitions. The process is more clearly described and prescribed forms will be required. If a dispute arises, it will be up to the Tribunal to make a decision and if the Tribunal is not established, it will be up to the Superior Court of Justice to make a decision (which is the process used now in most cases).
In 2015 I wrote about an interesting human rights complaint that had been started by three owners because of the date selected by their condominium and manager for the AGM. The owners claimed that they were discriminated against because the meeting was held on an important religious holiday for Muslims. They claimed that the condominium would never have held the meeting on another religion’s holiday, such as Christmas, and that they had been discriminated against because they were Muslims.
I’ve been to so many meetings where the property manager or board did not want to take the minutes that I’ve lost count. One option might be to hire a professional minute taker. It is a pretty common practice in the GTA, but less popular in other areas. Today’s guest post, by Marko Lindhe and Noah Maislin of Minute Solutions, describes some of the benefits of using professional minute takers.
Minute Taking Made Easy
Taking minutes at condo meetings is a task that needs to be done: it’s the law and helps protect boards from liability. Unfortunately, it can be a daunting task that requires the minute taker’s undivided attention and is a specific skill and responsibility that many individuals are not willing to shoulder. There is pressure to ensure that the minutes are taken correctly, the salient components are included, and, just as important, superfluous discussions and redundancies are avoided. As most board members and property managers understand, minutes should be succinct while ensuring all motions, action items and important conversations regarding potential decisions are clearly recorded – for example, contractors’ quotes, financial figures and projects that involve spending other people’s money. Continue reading
In a previous post I wrote about preparing for elections at AGMs. Now I’ll discuss the meeting. Hopefully you have adequately prepared for the meeting. If not, you may be in for quite the show. Here are my tips for handling elections: Continue reading