Annual General Meeting: Why They Are Important
For the first 4 years I owned a condo I not only didn’t go to my Annual General Meeting (AGM), I didn’t even read the minutes. I didn’t proxy my vote, I didn’t know who was on my board of directors – I was THAT unit owner. The uninvolved, the passive, the complacent, the naive.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! My condo is more than just my home, it’s my investment! As a condo owner, you don’t only own your little piece of the sky but a percentage of the entire building. How the building’s money is spent is how YOUR money is spent.
Building Finances and Legalities
Know Where Your Money Is Going
Your maintenance fees don’t only go to running your specific unit, but to running the entire building. It’s common for fees to increase annually by a small percentage. This increase usually covers the cost of inflation, but sometimes can also be because the board of directors or the building’s property management company isn’t making smart choices. Your AGM will provide you with a breakdown of costs and let you know where your hard earned money is actually going on an annual basis.
Hold The Board Accountable
If you don’t go to your Annual General Meeting you’ll never know if your board of directors or property management company is acting in your best interest. If you do go, you could either realize they are actually working really hard and that 3% increase in maintenance fees makes sense. On the contrary, you may realize they have no idea what they are doing and they need to be held accountable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find out the answers that you need.
Participate In The Management Of Your Building
Whether you sit quietly listening to others’ questions and concerns, or are an active participant, being present and a voter is exercising your right as a partial owner of the building. The proper term is “tenants in common” – meaning you are all tenants of the common spaces of the building. You all own all of the communal areas together, so participate in what is decided about those spaces! You should also participate in deciding who gets to make executive decisions on a daily basis by voting for your board of directors.
Yes you can e-mail your property manager or ask to speak to the board of directors, but it’s rare to have all of them in front of you, willing and ready to answer questions like they are at the AGM. They are there to represent YOU. There is no need to feel nervous about asking questions. And no question is too big or too small… whether you’re asking for a financial breakdown of the HVAC annual maintenance schedule or if they can add 70lb weights to the gym, your question matters.
Meet Your Neighbours
I personally like to just have pleasantries with my neighbours and not get too personal. For me home is a safe place, and that means not having to be “on” all the time, especially given the industry I’m in. Some Realtors take condo living as an opportunity to network for clients, and that is a great idea! I personally like to keep my safe space separate.
BUT, if you want to get to know your neigbours this is a great way to do it! Often there is A LOT to talk about, especially after the Annual General Meeting so starting up conversation is easy.
So this doesn’t really fall under “Why They’re Important” but more of a bonus! If you’re going to be home anyways, might as well head down to get a cookie or two at the very least. If this is your only incentive to go, maybe you’ll learn something along the way that will entice you to go for a different reason next year!
Lara Stasiw • Real Estate Agent & Home Design Connoisseur
You made it to the end! THANK YOU!!
If you’re not exceptionally bored by my run-on sentences and bad humour, keep reading!
My other blogs cover topics on Real Estate, Home Design and Decor, as well as the C0mmunity.
For updates on new Blogs, Home Improvement Tips, A Community Spotlight and Real Estate FAQ’s, sign up for my Newsletter! I only send it out once a month.
(Naturally, there is a market update too!)