You may have been hearing in the news recently about Toronto area condominiums experiencing challenges with the misuse of proxy forms resulting in boards which may not have the condominium’s best interests at heart. This is a good time to remind our members that by having proper systems in place and by following certain best practices, you can help to avoid similar problems in your communities.
Some of these best practices may include:
- Consider requiring owners to provide a signature sample for reference purposes when reviewing proxies.
- Take care when reviewing proxy forms at meetings to ensure that signatures on forms match those on file (e.g. the signature card or other signed documents). The named proxy holder should be required to provide ID.
- Check that the person signing the proxy form is not also in attendance in person.
- Verify the accuracy of the list of owners prior to the meeting including noting any units that are not entitled to vote due to arrears of more than 30 days. For new buildings, the developer should be asked for an updated owners’ list and for any signature samples they may have.
- Registrars should be instructed that no replacement ballots are to be issued and that no one should be allowed to intimidate, bully or act improperly with respect to the voting process, including the registration of proxies.
- Establish good internal controls – detailed budgeting, proper cheque signing authorities and approval processes.
- Ensure that an annual general meeting takes place and that reserve fund planning is done in accordance with the law.
- Ensure that an annual financial audit is performed and that it comes back clean. Question and/or understand any special note(s) from the auditor that appear within the audit.
- Budget responsibly and throughout the year compare actual expenditures to those budgeted.
- Consider passing a by-law requiring that directors must be unit owners (or partner of an owner).
- Have an experienced Chairperson run the meeting.
- Rely on professionals.
- Foster open communication between the board and the owners.
At ACMO, we strive to keep our members informed of the latest industry developments and best practices impacting the profession. Visit ACMO’s News page often for updates.