It is an annual rite of passage for owners of co-ops and condos. Once a year or thereabouts, they gather in a common area—in my old building it was the basement, right off the washers and dryers—and vote for next year’s board. Sometimes the elections are closely contested. Sometime the same people stay on the board for decades. Sometimes—as was the case with my building—we owners were so desperate not to be on the board that we elected a president who didn’t even live in the building.
However you slice it, electing or reelecting a board is one of the most important duties the residents of a co-op or HOA have on behalf of their community. After all, board members are the ones who make the crucial decisions about how their community is run, from scheduling maintenance to overseeing major capital improvements.
These elections are not necessarily as simple as they seem, especially in bigger, more populated buildings. Let’s take a look at the many ins and outs.
Q: How often do elections have to occur?
“Every condo and co-op has bylaws,” says Linda Gibbs, executive director of the Honest Ballot Association based in Floral Park, New York. The organization was started by Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 to run fair and honest elections. “They have to go according to the bylaws—usually annual meetings, elections once a year.”