Guest Post: Minute Taking Made Easy

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

Afternoon Quickie: Order of Business

Today I’m going to discuss the standard order of business for condominium AGMs.

The order of business should be set out in the agenda distributed with the notice of meeting and other attachments (i.e. audited financial statements). According to Robert’s Rules of Order, the standard order of business is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Reading and Approval of Minutes
  3. Reports
  4. Unfinished Business
  5. New Business
  6. Adjournment.

Continue reading

Afternoon Quickie: Minutes of Meetings

It is approaching AGM season so I thought that I would write a few short posts answering some of the most common questions that I receive about AGMs. Today I’m going to tackle the minutes of the meeting.

Q: When do the minutes become an official record of what happened at the meeting?

A: Only after the minutes have been approved at a meeting. Draft minutes may be available before they are approved, but they do not become an official record of what happened at the meeting until they are approved at a subsequent meeting. Continue reading

Scheduling owners’ meetings: Did you check the date?

An interesting case is before the Human Rights Tribunal right now. Three owners have filed a claim against their condominium and property manager alleging discrimination because of creed, which is contrary to the Human Rights Code. The owners are Muslim and contend that they were discriminated against because an owners’ meeting was held on an important religious holiday for Muslims.

Regardless of the outcome of this particular case, it does raise an interesting issue with respect to the scheduling of owners’ meetings: How are dates selected for owners’ meetings? How should they be selected? Continue reading

“We want to remove the board because we want to fire the manager”

So, this won’t be like my usual posts where I share a recent case or discuss a section of the Condominium Act, 1998. Today I’m going on a rant about the relationships between owners, directors, and managers.

Last night I attended another requisition meeting. Nothing out of the ordinary about a requisition meeting; the best managed condominiums can have them from time to time. They are often a result of owners feeling in the dark about an issue and wanting more information. However, in this case the requisition was to remove a majority of the directors, which usually signals bigger issues. I can’t identify the parties involved because of privilege, but one of the reasons the owners sought removal of the directors was that the owners wanted to terminate the property management company and the directors refused or failed to do so. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this as a reason for a requisition to remove the board of directors. It seems to be a trend in recent years. Continue reading

Reader Feedback Q and A

Over the past few weeks I posted about the types of motions under Robert’s Rules of Order. I had several comments and questions about my previous posts so I thought I would take a few moments to respond today.

Q: How should decisions or motions be recorded or saved?

A: All decisions made at meetings, whether board meetings or owners’ meetings, should be written in the “minutes” of the meeting as they are an important source of information for future directors, property managers, and owners. It may as simple as:

Continue reading

Refresher – How to Make and Consider a Motion

Earlier this week I described the five types of motions under Robert’s Rules of Order: main, subsidiary, incidental, privileged and previous. Some motions have their own specific requirements, which you can read about in detail in Robert’s Rules of Order. Today, I will discuss the basic process for dealing with most motions that arise at condominium meetings.

First, someone must make the motion (typically called the mover). Someone must then encourage the motion being brought before the meeting (typically called the seconder). It is noteworthy that the person seconding the motion need not agree with it; she may vote against it when it is time to vote. The chair should then state the question so everyone understands it and open the floor to debate (if there is any). Once the debate is finished, or the time permitted for such has passed, the chair should put the question to the members and give directions for voting. The motion is complete when the chair announces the result.  Continue reading

Refresher – Robert’s Rules of Order (Part 1)

I love the fall season. Thanksgiving, Halloween and AGM season (?). All jokes aside, another AGM season is quickly approaching and many notices have already been sent to the owners and mortgagees of record. This week I will provide a quick refresher for condominiums that use Robert’s Rules of Order at their meetings.

Today I briefly discuss the types of motions under Robert’s Rules of Order: main, subsidiary, privileged, incidental, and previous motions. Continue reading