2 AssociationHelpNow ™ • New Jersey: Issue 4, 2018
NATIONAL HOA Q&A:
From the Publisher...
www.AssociationHelpNow.com Sometimes the “fake news” can have a real impact on the wellbeing of the entire community. Accusations of fraud or mismanagement can really hurt. Personal at- tacks on social media cause much grief to those who are targets. Basically, those tar- gets are volunteers stepping up to give their free time to help run their communities. How has your community been affected by “association fake news”? I’d be interested in hearing from you so we can share some of these stories (names will be changed to protect privacy of those communities). Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please put Association Fake News in the subject. It will be interesting to see what’s been floating around – I bet many com- munities share the same “association fake news” stories. Raymond Dickey Publisher, AssociationHelpNow™ W hile “fake news” may have become a thing just a few years ago, if you think about it, fake news has been around homeowner and condominium associa- tions for years. Social media chatter, along with good old-fashioned water cooler/mail room talk, has been producing all kinds of non-factual tidbits among unit and homeowners for years. Of course, some association boards can be equally guilty of disbursing fake news. Not telling all the facts, including those that may cause the board to look bad, leads to suspicious minds, which fuel “fake news” on other association issues. But at least the boards can eventually be held accountable at the association level. But residents, just short of committing slander, are entitled to, and exercise great leeway in their verbal communications, frequently, be it intentional or not, blur- ring the lines between opinions and facts. Association “fake news” usually has a lot more pizzazz than the boring, national “fake news”: “The board has a secret chest of gold they have been accumulating in the management office” and “Bob the board member has been visiting the hot tub after hours” — this is kind of stuff that spreads like wildfire.
A Vote from Beyond the Grave?
There is one possible sce- nario that could, however, change this answer. The by- laws of an association may set forth a “record date” for the annual meeting. The record date could be just a few days before the annual meeting or could be longer than that. This device is used so that the people charged with confirm- ing the list of those who have a right to vote are not deal- ing with changing circum- stances through the day of the meeting, which would be exceedingly difficult to do. This issue would most fre- quently come up in connec- tion with the sale of a home within a community associa- tion. Assume, for instance, that there was a record date seven days before the meet- ing. That means anyone who was an owner seven days or more prior to the meeting has the right to vote, but anyone
Q: Our association has a heat- ed election every year. One of the candidates running in a recent election was given an owner’s proxy, which they put in the ballot box. However, that owner passed away be- tween the time of giving the proxy and the annual meeting of election. Does that proxy still count as a vote, seeing how the unit owner was de- ceased by the election date? A: Generally, the governing documents of an association provide that the “members” of the association have the right to cast votes. Members are typi- cally defined as the owner of a unit or home within the asso- ciation. When an owner passes away, the owner is no longer a member of the association and, therefore, no longer has a right to cast a vote and the proxy, which allows the vote to be cast in the owner’s absence, would no longer be valid.
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