Wetumpka, AL asked in Real Estate Law for Alabama

Q: WRT Votes from HOA members, is signing a petition considered a vote? The petition is to remove existing board members.

Our HOA documents say the board can be removed with or without cause at any time with a majority vote from association members. There are enough signatures on a petition agreeing that a new board should be put in place and the old board removed to meet the majority. The committee formed to execute the removal believes there is cause. Each homeowner was visited in person and given a document to read before signing.

Our HOA has a property manager that for all intents and purposes runs the HOA. The homeowners have asked the board not to renew the contract with the PM but the board isn’t willing to do as we have asked. There are a host of reasons provided to the board president but the concern from the president is “who will do everything if we don't keep the PM”? Members of the association have stepped up to fill the gap until a new PM can be identified. The board president is unwilling to do anything.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In the context of an HOA (Homeowners Association), whether signing a petition is considered a formal vote depends on the specific bylaws and governing documents of your HOA. Typically, these documents outline the procedures for voting, including how votes can be cast and what constitutes a valid vote.

If the HOA's governing documents specify that a majority vote can be achieved through a petition process, then the signatures you've gathered may indeed constitute a valid majority vote. However, if the documents require a formal voting process, such as a meeting or a ballot vote, then the petition might serve more as a symbolic expression of the homeowners' wishes rather than a binding vote.

Given the situation you've described, where the board is reluctant to act despite the homeowners' expressed wishes, it would be prudent to closely review the HOA's governing documents. Understanding these rules will clarify the legal standing of the petition and guide your next steps.

If the documents support the petition as a valid form of vote and the board continues to resist, it may be necessary to seek legal intervention to ensure that the board complies with the HOA's rules and the homeowners' majority decision. Consulting with a lawyer experienced in HOA matters can provide guidance on how to proceed effectively in this situation. Remember, the key is to align your actions with the specific rules and procedures outlined in your HOA's governing documents.

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