Re: Meeting quorum questions
From: Rodney Elin (
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2009 08:49:15 -0700 (PDT)
Sharon Villines wrote:

On Jun 19, 2009, at 8:36 AM, David Entin wrote:

A neighbor at adjacent Pathways Cohousing called me to inquire about quorum requirements for their meetings, which are one over half the member households. However, they are having difficulty achieving a quorum at meetings where business decisions need to be made. I told her that our community had recently lowered our quorum from 14 (exactly half of the 28 households) to 10 to ease obtaining a quorum at meetings.

We have the same quorum and often have difficulty meeting it. One of our new members was trying to understand how we work had a good insight into quorum. The 51% standard is from the tradition of parliamentary rule. Of the 51%, it takes 51% to make a decision. Thus it only takes 26.1% of the entire membership to make a majority vote decision.

Since cohousing communities work by consensus, if only 26.1% of the households or members were present, it would be the same standard. Of 28 households, 8 could make decisions based on households.

Ann Zabaldo told me of a community that set their quorum at 2 and the effect was that everyone came to meetings because they were terrified that any two other people could make a decision.

She pointed out the problem is a quorum requirement is listed in the by-laws, which are often incorporated into mortgage documents, as required by lending institutions. To make a change would in turn therefore require amending all mortgages in the cohousing community, a difficult and perhaps expensive task.

I have been following this discussion with interest. I forwarded the original question on quorum to Laird Schaub. . Unfortunately, he was busy preparing and making arrangements for the cohousing conference. Laird used the question to create a rather detailed answer that he posted in his blog. I think it will address many of the concerns that have been addressed here:


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