How Many Votes Does An HOA or Condo Owner Get?

Here is a good question I recently received:

“How many votes does a homeowner have? In this recent economic downpour, investers are purchasing as many properties as they can which is the case in our community. A new owner/invester has purchased more than half, less than 1/3 of the homes in our community and has other offers in the works. How many votes does this owner have? Could this owner single-handedly run the HOA himself? Need your help.”

This is an unforetunate situation that is occurring rather widely. Individuals because of the economic downturn are not able to pay the mortgage, and investors who have money to invest are taking advantage of this and buying at low prices, which in turn brings the prices in the community down even further. Ugh, I wish there was a solution.

Unless the documents say otherwise (and in my experience it is the exception, not the rule), each owner has a vote in association elections for each unit or lot that they own, so if someone owns 20 units or lots, they have that many votes. In a small association this can put the future of the association more or less in the hands of the investor as they may have the controlling votes.

The factors that may be pertinent are whether the HOA or Condo has cumulative voting, whether the developer is still involved and has an advantage in “weighted voting rights” (getting 3 votes to every other owners 1 vote), whether the investor plans to engage actively in the association or stay out of the limelight and instead support candidates of his or her choosing from resident owners, and things like that. But most likely, he or she will wield some power as there is a serious investment to protect.

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