Each year, every community association must have an annual meeting of its ownership. To have a legal meeting, however, certain procedural and legal requirements must be satisfied. Establishing quorum is one of these meeting requirements. Most of us have heard of the term “quorum,” but for many first-time Board members and owners, they may not understand what it is, why it is needed, and what to do if the association is unable to meet the required percentage to achieve quorum.
For community associations, a quorum is the minimum number of owners that are required to be present in attendance or by proxy at the meeting. What constitutes a quorum is determined by the percentage or number required in the association’s governing documents, which can vary. We typically see quorum requirements that state a majority of owners must be present at a meeting or be there by proxy. However, we have also seen a movement toward quorum to be at the lowest threshold possible, which is “whomever is present, in person or by proxy, at the meeting;” or put another way, anyone who shows up at the meeting constitutes a quorum.
Some communities struggle to achieve the required quorum for their annual meeting. If quorum is not established, the association cannot legally have the annual meeting. Proceeding with any meeting without satisfying the quorum requirement can result in issues for the association, such as invalidating any action that takes place at the meeting, including the election.
As boards prepare for an upcoming annual owners meeting, they should review their bylaws to be certain they know the required quorum. If quorum has not been an issue, be grateful. If it has been overlooked in past years, get it right this year. If a board knows the association has trouble with achieving quorum, or worse yet, knows the association has never satisfied it, the board should strongly consider initiating a proxy solicitation program or consider amending the bylaws so that quorum is an achievable number or percentage.