Every condo development and HOA has a board of directors in charge of governing the community’s finances, physical maintenance and other day-to-day business. The board is not just a group that runs the association, however—it is also a group that runs the business. Part of that responsibility is to keep the community fiscally sound, and to make sure the process of choosing new leaders is transparent and above reproach.
“You have to have an election, pursuant to bylaws,” says David J. Byrne, Esq., a shareholder and attorney with the Lawrenceville-based law firm of Stark and Stark. “If you’re run by a board, you have to have an election—it’s just a question of when.”
So how often must an HOA hold elections, and how must those results be tabulated in order to assure a fair and honest election in which everyone's voice is heard and accounted for? Let's take a look.
How it's Done
Boards are generally elected by HOA residents, but the process by which this happens varies from one community to the next because of variations in different communities' bylaws. Residents elected to the board bring a variety of skills to the office, but obviously not all directors or trustees are equally knowledgeable in all the aspects of their job. Conducting elections of new board members is one task that the board can flub—sommetimes with disastrous results.
Residents of a community who believe an election was conducted improperly can challenge the results of that election. The matter can wind up in court, costing everyone a great deal of money, time, and energy. In the process, neighbor can be pitted against neighbor and hard feelings can unwittingly be engendered—sometimes over what is fundamentally just a misunderstanding of how to conduct a proper community election.