Re: Voting Rights - One vote per unit and equal votes
From: David Heimann (heimanntheworld.com)
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2019 07:54:41 -0700 (PDT)

Hello,

In many states, including Massachusetts, condo law requires certain actions to be taken by weighting each unit's vote by their percentage interest in the condominium, which is spelled out in the Master Deed. This is still another way of carrying out a vote, and as mentioned is required by law in a number of situations.

Regards,
David Heimann
JP Cohousing
Jamaica Plain, MA


Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2019 16:31:17 -0700
From: Edwin Simmers <edwinsimmers [at] bellcoho.com>
To: cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Voting Rights - One vote per unit and equal votes
Message-ID: <B58E59C7-CC82-47F3-9D41-4663FBE7FB82 [at] bellcoho.com>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=utf-8

Original Questions: Does anyone know how it originated that each house gets one vote especially when it is on an item that might?ve been blocked? Do most communities do one household one vote or are there other ways ?

Yes, there are other ways to handle voting, both 1) where state law requires a decision to be made by voting and 2) where state law may allow decisions by consensus but the community itself decides to use voting after a consensus block. Even where state law requires a vote, there can be flexibility in both ?one vote per unit? and ?equal votes among units? if allowed by the formal state-mandated legal documents that create the community. Unfortunately the significance and consequence of these documents, particularly the Condominium Declaration, is often not appreciated at the time they are executed and filed with the appropriate government agency. These documents are cumbersome and expensive to amend. The common attitude that these documents are just unnecessary legal boilerplate unfortunately often results in a community bound by voting and decision-making rules it might not have wanted had it addressed voting in the early stage of community creation.

I. Voting requirements of state law.

Most cohousing communities are organized as condominiums or other common interest communities according to their state?s law. Many states have adopted the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act or similar provisions that require 1) the community to have a "unit owners association? to administer the community, 2) membership of the association to consist exclusively of all unit owners, 3) a board of directors with primary authority to manage the affairs of the association, and 4) certain decisions, such as amending governing documents, ratifying budgets and electing board members, that require a vote or agreement of the unit owners.

The Condominium Declaration, the document that creates the community, is allowed to contain wide latitude in community voting and decision-making. The community may want to make unit votes unequal on particular matters or allow co-owners of a unit to cast their share of the unit vote. But these provisions must be set out in the Declaration. Otherwise, standard language and the law will result in equal votes per unit and a requirement that all owners of a unit agree on a single vote.

II. Non-hierarchical decision-making allowed by state law.

Likewise, if the Declaration specifies, the community may want divide up the authority to act on behalf of the association rather than concentrating it in the board of directors. Careful drafting of these provisions can provide for wide participation and consensus-based decision-making.

III. Summary

The practices of ?one vote per unit? and ?equal votes among units? is a result of the failure to properly draft provisions in early community governing documents that would allow the flexibility in voting and decision-making that cohousing communities value. Any community being formed should make sure to take advantage of the flexibility allowed by state law so that the legal community documents and actual practices are the same.


For Washington State communities in the process of formation, the Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act may be found here: <https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=64.90>



Voting rights
From: CJ Q (homeschoolvideogmail.com)
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2019 18:39:48 -0700 (PDT)
Does anyone know how it originated that each house gets one vote
especially when it is on an item that might?ve been blocked ?   Do most
communities do one household one vote or are there other ways ?
I?m just doing some research
thanks,
Carol
Emerson Commons Virginia

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