Most Homeowner Associations (HOA) will request at least one vote a year and some may have several, depending upon their community needs. The voting can be done at a meeting or based on state or bylaws, can be done by mail. Yet, problems arise, when homeowners don’t understand the differences between a ballot and a proxy.
A ballot is a written form that gives the homeowner or proxy the ability to cast a vote. But not every homeowner has that right to a vote. If a husband and wife are on the deed to a home, they collectively only have one vote, not two. Dependent on State and bylaws, tenants who live within the HOA community do not have a right to cast a vote. It can only occur when the title holders authorize the renters to vote on their behalf (a proxy).
When a homeowner cannot make a meeting or send in a vote, an authorized person called a proxy can speak or cast a vote on their behalf. This authorization is done with a proxy form, written statement, or even via phone communication. Yet, the latter is not recommended by legal advisors because of the lack of written record.
Who Can Be a Proxy?
Many associations suggest having another homeowner within the same HOA community act as a proxy. This is because they may know the voting issues better, but it also can be any friend or family member living outside the community. Someone who has a Power of Attorney for an owner does not need an authorization of proxy. They simply show their registered paperwork, and act on their behalf.
How Long is a Proxy Valid?
In North Carolina, the dated authorization is only valid for eleven months for homes, and twelve months for condominiums. If a homeowner wishes to limit the proxy to a one-time vote, or less than the valid timeframe, they need to specify the dates when making the request. If at any time, the homeowner wishes to rescind the authorization, they may do so by contacting the HOA and preferably, requesting the change in writing.
Navigating the voting rules within an HOA is sometimes confusing. Luckily, with more communities building websites with Q and A sections, owners can now find the answers they need 24/7. For more information on HOA laws, see North Carolina General Statute Section 47F-3-110 (b) and for condominium owners, see 47C-3-110 (b).