HOA Meeting No Quorum: What Happens Now?

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HOA meetings are integral to the functioning of a homeowners association. It is where the board discusses community issues, reaches conclusions, and takes formal actions. However, HOA meetings need a quorum to be valid. What happens if there is an HOA meeting with no quorum?

What Is a Quorum?

Before we discuss the nitty-gritty details of what to do without a quorum, we must first define what a quorum is. Put simply, a quorum is the minimum number of attendees required for a meeting to be valid. The quorum will vary depending on the community size and the provisions of the governing documents.

What happens if a quorum is not met? Can you start a meeting without a quorum? No, the board cannot conduct official business or take votes without a quorum. The meeting is not legalized or considered official. Any actions taken, decisions made, or meeting minutes are void. 

Why Is Reaching a Quorum Important?

A quorum is important because it protects the interests of the entire neighborhood. Imagine making certain decisions wherein only a few people vote on the action. The decision might not reflect the will of the majority of neighborhood residents. Moreover, the rest of the community will have to live with the decisions of the minority.

With a quorum requirement, the community must submit actions and decisions to a majority vote before they’re approved. This guarantees that the board of directors is not abusing its power and acting in its selfish interests. It keeps things fair and prevents the board from dominating the decision-making process. 

HOA Quorum Requirements

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What are the requirements for a quorum for a meeting? Typically, the community’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) or the Bylaws contain the community’s quorum requirements. They may specify the number or percentage of homeowners required for member meetings. 

Common quorum requirements within communities can range from 25% to as much as 51% of the voting members. The size may also depend on the quorum, as master associations with over 500 properties typically set it at 15%. Many will also define a quorum as a simple majority of the voting power.

Consulting State Law

It’s also important to consult state law to verify what constitutes a quorum. For example, California Civil Code Section 5115(d) states that all ballots count toward the quorum, including write-in and blank ballots

The association may also defer to state law if the community’s governing documents are silent. California Civil Code Section 5115(d)(2) states that beginning January 1, 2024, associations without quorum provisions may conduct board elections (but not for board recalls) at a reduced quorum of 20%. 

Other Quorum-Related Requirements

Some communities only require a quorum of the membership at member meetings, not a quorum of the board, which is usually only needed for board meetings. On a different note, many are concerned about losing quorums during meetings. This happens when attendees who count toward the quorum leave a meeting early. 

Can you have a board meeting without a quorum in this case? The loss of a quorum does not invalidate the meeting, and the board can continue transacting business. However, this is also subject to state law and the governing documents. In California, Corporate Code Section 7512(c) states that actions at meetings that lose a quorum may be approved only by a majority of HOA members needed to constitute a quorum. 

HOA Meeting No Quorum: What Should You Do?

What should the association do if the HOA annual meeting has no quorum? As frustrating as it sounds, the association should adjourn and reschedule the meeting. This can cost money and take more work for the board. However, continuing the current meeting wastes time because no action or decision will be valid.

In the meantime, any board elections, HOA budget approvals, or discussions on major community decisions will have to be postponed. The current board must continue to serve in their positions until they can elect new members. Moreover, last year’s budget will remain effective until the members approve the new one at a meeting with a quorum. 

How to Ensure Quorum at HOA Meetings

Achieving a quorum is not always easy. It is common for community members to regularly fail to attend meetings, either because they have no time or because they are uninterested. 

This can be dangerous as no quorum means no meeting or business conducted. It’s especially detrimental when there is no quorum at the HOA annual meeting, and the community needs to elect new directors. In this case, how can you conduct an HOA meeting with a lack of quorum? Here are some actions to consider.

1. Remind the Homeowners

When there is no quorum at an HOA meeting, homeowners suffer the most. The board cannot use a new and more accurate budget to accommodate the community’s needs, enact certain policies, or take actions that require a majority vote.

Moreover, failing to elect new directors might put the community at risk of receivership, depending on the circumstances. Receiverships often cost a lot of money, and the community might see a spike in HOA fees as a result. 

It’s important to remind the homeowners of these consequences and make sure they understand why it’s crucial for them to attend and participate in community meetings.

2. Hold Meetings at Reasonable Hours

HOA meetings are important, but most homeowners will refuse to attend if you hold them during a workday. Familiarize yourself with the community’s demographics and hold meetings when convenient.

3. Set an Agenda

Homeowners associations can entice community members by informing them of the agenda of the meeting. They might be encouraged to attend if the topics are interesting and will meaningfully affect their lives.

4. Use Proxies

Some homeowners associations can reach a quorum using proxies. The proxy form allows members to give voting power to another person, whether it’s another community member or their attorney. However, ensure that the governing documents allow proxies to count toward the quorum. If not, the HOA may consider amending them to accommodate proxies.

5. Use Virtual Platforms

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HOAs can choose to use virtual platforms to achieve a quorum. Consider using electronic communications software to encourage people to attend. This allows them to engage in community discussions without leaving their own homes. 

6. Send Reminders

A reminder email can be helpful for letting the homeowners know that a meeting is coming up. This will help them clear their schedules for the meeting. HOA boards can also send multiple email reminders at the 15, 10, and 3-day marks. 

7. Provide Incentives

Offering incentives is an effective method of encouraging attendance. After all, who would not want to attend a meeting if it means getting something for free? HOAs can allot a budget for these prizes, which can range from local gift cards to small household items. 

8. Invite a Guest Speaker

HOAs can invite guest speakers to encourage attendance at annual membership meetings. The board can invite local government officials, contractors working on association projects, or even the HOA attorney. They can speak about ongoing association matters to keep the community interested.

10. Conduct Meetings Before Events

Consider timing a membership meeting before a big community event. For instance, meeting right before a community parade or cookout may be helpful. The event after the conference serves as the “prize” or incentive for the members. 

11. Petition to Reduce the Quorum

Homeowners associations regularly struggling to meet a quorum can consider petitioning the court to lower the requirement. The court can approve the request and reduce the requirement for all succeeding meetings. 

Can You Eliminate Quorum Requirements?

Most associations have difficulty achieving a quorum. Thankfully, associations are not without options. They can work toward amending the bylaws to eliminate the community’s quorum requirements for board elections. 

But is eliminating the quorum truly possible? It depends on the state. In California, Civil Code Section 5115(d) states that a quorum is only required if the governing documents or other legal provisions say so. This means that boards could amend their documents to forego the quorum. 

On the other hand, we caution against doing this haphazardly. Lowering the percentage requirements to constitute a quorum is generally a much better. This prevents the board from ruling with an iron fist while making it easy for the HOA to conduct business. 

However, the process will be difficult if the community wants to eliminate or reduce quorum requirements. Amending the bylaws can be long and difficult as it usually requires approval from most members. 

A Common Struggle

Conducting an HOA meeting without a quorum is a common struggle among planned communities. Despite how difficult it is to achieve, quorum requirements exist to protect members from abuse of power. HOA boards should encourage members to attend meetings. Otherwise, it could have disastrous consequences.

Are you having trouble reaching a quorum and conducting meetings? Professional community management might help. Personalized Property Management is the premier management company in Southern California. Call us now at 760-325-9500 or reach out to us online to know more!