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
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
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.
“Apathy is a sort of living oblivion.”
A lot of absentee owners do not want to take the time and make
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
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
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
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.