Attend the AGM

There are several reasons why every owner should attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

All politics are local and you cannot get it more local than in a single condominium complex. It is usually the only time of the year that all owners get together to discuss the affairs of the corporation.

It is where you will hear what the board of directors, the auditor and your neighbours and follow investors in your corporation have to say and for you to get a feel on how the place is being managed.

The use of proxies tend to assist the existing board members stay in office and make it harder for new candidates to get elected. Instead signing a proxy, attend the meeting and you will get a better understanding of the candidates’ positions and character.

The Act states that an owner may raise for discussion any matter relevant to the affairs and business of the corporation so the owners get the chance to give their ideas, state what issues are important to them, raise problems and complain about all kinds of items, both big and small.

You can also get a better idea of how much—or how little—the candidates care about the things that the residents care about.

Does the board care about the break-ins in the garage? Do they have a plan to get the corporation out of debt? What do they plan to do about the leaks in the roof? What will be done to improve the visitors’ parking lot? Is everyone paying their condo fees? Why didn't we get a vote when the monthly common expenses went up?

You will want to hear their answers to these kind of questions.

Why owners don't go
“Apathy is a sort of living oblivion.
—Horace Greeley

A lot of absentee owners do not want to take the time and make the trip to attend the meeting. Some just care about getting their monthly rent cheque while others did not receive the meeting notice through the mail.

Other owners bought a condo so they would not have to worry about the property. That is what "care free" condo life is all about isn't it? You pay one monthly fee and the hired professionals will look after everything.

Many owners will not go to the AGM because they get fed up with the constant arguing, complaining and personal insults. This is being short-sighted. Sure emotions run high and it does not take long for amateur politicians to start smearing their opponents with negative remarks that they think are clever. Then there are the attempts to defend the un-defendable and as a last resort, character assassination.

English is a second language for a number of owners so they cannot understand what is being said. Unless they bring a relative to translate for them, they will not know what is going on.

For all of that, these meetings are very informative. You may find out that there are serious water leaks in some units, there are issues with mould, crime in the garage or thefts in the locker rooms. You need to know about this.

Do not think that none of this matters? It matters very much. What is at stake is the jobs of the existing contractors and the profits that are made off of supplying goods and services to your building. Where there is money involved, people care—care a lot.

You may also learn that the building has serious water leaks, the risers are shot, the roof needs repairs and the garage needs a few million dollars of work. Your neighbours may have had to replace their fan coils so you to will soon be hit with that cost. Strong signals that it is time to sell before the special assessments or loans hit.

By going to the AGMs, you get the drift if the number of problems and concerns are growing and if problems get solved or if the board makes the same promises year after year and never fixes them.

Finally you may make new friends at these meetings. As you get to meet your neighbours, you will understand their concerns and you may see that others have the same problems as you do.

 See you at the next meeting.

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