A lot of you have emailed me with concerns of the way LHV does its elections.
I've been doing a lot of research into HOA voting laws.
Homeowner's have been asking if we got the required quorum for the past vote? We basically have to wait till next months meeting for the minutes to be approved to find out.
What is a quorum? How does it work?
What are your rights as a voter?
Can you ask to inspect the vote or to have it certified?
Lets talk about the legal rights regarding 1 vote per deeded property. To not be allowed your rights to our votes for each piece of property owned may be illegal. Some of you have stated you are only allowed 1 vote, even though you may own 6 lots.
Where did the "homeowners get 2 votes" rule come from, and is it even legal?
Why do HOAs try to control the vote?
Issues we have with the way LHV and the lack of proper voting procedures and documentation.
Lets start with Class of membership regarding voting.
We can move on to other subjects next month.
So, in the LHV bylaws found posted on the village website, the bylaws clearly state:
ARTICLE V - Membership
Section 1. Classes.
There shall be (1) class of membership. Every person or entity who is a record owner of a fee or undivided fee interest in any lot within the real estate development referred to in Article II, which is subject by covenants of record to assessment by the corporation, shall be a member of the corporation.
(Normally this would mean that if you are a owner of a lot that pays fees, you are a member. And that you would be a member for each separate lot, meaning you would be allowed a vote for each separate lot, but they took care of this in section 3 below)
Section 2 states, "All member's shall have the same rights, privileges and duties..."
Section 3 under voting rights of classes states:
"Each member shall be entitled to (1) vote on all matters voted upon at any regular, semi-annual or or special meeting of the membership regardless of the number of lots owned by said member.
The bylaws state there is allowed only (1) class of member. But homeowners votes are counted as 2 votes, versus a lot owners single vote.
That would mean that the bylaws would need to say there are (2) classes of members in order to be legal.
So why is the separate classes an issue?
In Corporate and State Law it usually states that voting rights typically allow a certain number of votes to a certain class of HOA member. One class of voting will get one vote per membership for owning one lot within the association. While another voting class can receive multiple votes per owned lot. (as in the case of LHV homeowners) The number of votes can be anything unless otherwise mandated by state statute. (In LHV's case it's 2 votes for homeowners) This multiple voting class is usually done so that the developer can maintain control of the association.
So there is no longer a developer and they no longer have a controlling interest anymore. So, why do LHV homeowners get (2) votes and lot owners only (1)? Probably decided at some point done to keep control of the Association. Probably because the lot owners have potentially more votes collectively.
I don't know if that is a good thing or not, yet.
I am not trying to make waves against one way of voting over another. I'm trying to shed light on the lack of proper legal documentation LHV has kept for the longest time. Any person with a good lawyer could have a heyday, costing LHV a lot of money in attorney's fees and payouts.
Problem is... the bylaws clearly states there will be only (1) class of membership.
Some of you have written to me regarding the distrust in the board and also the voting system here. Some have asked questions regarding not receiving one vote for each lot owned anymore. Some stated that in the past they got a vote for every parcel they owned.
Some have questioned the proxy voting and if we have a right to see the physical results of the voting. Can you ask to inspect the vote or to require LHV to have it certified?
These are all things I am looking into. I see problems that the board needs to fix. The biggest issue is the past history of certain groups trying to maintain complete control of the board.
Mostly, I think what I have gleaned from many of these emails is that there seems to be a pervasive lack of trust in the board because of their past history of saying one thing and doing another. The board needs to try to do everything it can to rebuild the trust with the membership. Me personally... start by holding bad board members accountable.