Being Part Of A Community: How Decisions Are Made In Condo Communities

Posted on: 28 July 2015

The cost of living in Canada has skyrocketed considerably. As a result, one in eight Canadian households have resorted to downgrading to condominium dwellings. Living in a condo is much different than owning your own property. You become a part of a community with your neighbors, and are responsible for making sure the community runs smoothly. All condominium corporations are "self-managed", as each condo owner is responsible for voting in bylaws and being a part of the decision making process. If you're considering the option of moving into a condo, it's crucial you understand how this community works.

Who Makes the Decisions?

In general, most condominium communities elect a board of directors, which is essentially made up of individual condo owners. The bylaws of the condo outline the rules regarding who qualifies, how the elections work, the term in office, whether any compensation is made, and the processes involved in terminating a board member.

The board of directors is responsible for meeting regularly in order to handle certain business affairs, such as the finances of the community and the repairs needed. Essentially, they work like the government, and are responsible for making sure the community runs smoothly. Even if you are not a member of the board of directors, you are still welcome to join the meetings and put in your two cents. In fact, your vote will still be counted. However, if you are a member, you are obligated to show up.

How Are Voting Rights Determined?

If you attend the meetings, you are allowed to vote. It's important to understand how the voting process works. The bylaws should clearly state how the voting rights are determined, and how votes are assigned.

Some condos assign one vote to each condo unit whereas others weigh the vote based on ownership of certain elements. For example, in these cases, the weight of the vote may depend on the value of the unit owned or even, at times, the amount of people residing in each unit.

To have your vote counted, you must attend the meeting when the decision is being made. In addition, for some decisions, a decision can only be reached if a minimum percentage of unit owners have voted on the issue. If you did not vote or attend the meetings, you are bound by the decision regardless of whether or not you agree with it.

Can You Vote Without Attending the Meeting?

Although most meetings are scheduled at more convenient times, like after dinner or early in the mornings, the time may not be convenient for all condo owners. If you cannot attend the meeting, you can still vote if you assign a proxy. A proxy is someone who takes your place at the meeting and votes on your behalf. You will generally have sufficient time to assign a proxy because the board of directors is responsible for notifying all condo unit owners of the meeting well in advance.

To assign a proxy, you will need to follow the legislation outlined in the bylaws. Generally speaking, it involves signing several legal documents. Make sure you get the documents approved before the day of the meeting for the proxy to take your place.

Conclusion

Living in a condo can be very fulfilling. The community provides support to its members. It is your responsibility to be involved in the community, which involves attending the meetings and being aware of the events happening. Make sure you cast a vote, so your voice is heard before any important decisions are made and to ensure a fair consensus is made for the betterment of the community. After all, the decisions can heavily affect your lifestyle and quality of living.

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