A Dictator runs my community – what do I do

FistI am often approached by homeowners about a problem in their community. There speech often starts with “My condo building is run by a dictator. There is absolutely nothing we can do …..”

Once our discussion goes a bit further one of two things become obvious. Sometimes an owner is wrong and just doesn’t want to do what their board decided, but often the problem is really with how a board/building is run.

Unfortunately some people forget that they are elected to a board of director position to represent those people that have elected him/her. Instead they become power hungry rulers of the universe. In all fairness most never wanted to become like that. It wasn’t their intention to take over the world – but circumstances made them so.

Take a typical HOA board of directors. More often than not there are not enough people to fill all the positions. Some people that are technically on the board do not participate and don’t want to be involved. Frequently elections can’t even be held because not enough residence show up and the quorum is not met. In a situation like that often it’s one person who volunteered to be on a board years ago and still does the job. It’s possible that one person who is the most active on the board is simply overwhelmed. They chose a path of least resistance and simply rule based on their view of the universe.

If you feel that a change is needed you have the power to do it. Yes you can simply change your board members at any time. If the time is close to your annual election meeting you may want to just wait. When time comes nominate yourself for a position and you maybe surprised how easy it will be to get elected.

If the time to your next election meeting is too long simply get enough owners to support a petition to the board to call an early association meeting. They must follow on that. In fact they have 30 days to do it. If the board refuses you can simply call the meeting yourself. Your assassination’s bylaws will outline exactly the process you need to follow.

If you can get a quorum at your meeting you can run elections. A new board can be put in place and life moves forward.

This will require some work on your part but if done right it can bring needed changes to your association.

I’ve helped many owners deal with this problem. In one case it took us almost 7 month to get it done, but it was worth it. Within two years replacing the board they were able to turn things around including doubling their reserves account.

One thing is important to remember – it’s your board, it’s your association, you have full control of what’s going on there. You just need to put some effort in it.

About Jeff Ross

One Response to “A Dictator runs my community – what do I do”

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  1. Patti Fitzgibbons says:

    I approve of your “common sense” answers and I as a Board member can feel how the owners become so frustrated with inept Board members.
    Thank you for your responses and I will keep printing out your replies to hand out to owners who are coffee and cake dined on Saturday mornings by an owner who controls the Board majority in the background as this owner owns 15 condo units and thinks he is Mr Big. There are 476 units in this community with only one third who live year round. Winter owners and renters bring up the other 2/3 on month to month thru April months.
    I have attended semnars, brought the discussions to the owners at Board meetings which not many attend. Our Board officer positions are selected by the Board itself every year and therefore the majority hold these offices even though they do not have the business expertise to run over a million dollar a year corporation.
    Thank you for reading this email…did not mean to write so much.

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