By: Andrew S. Lazarus | Senior Vice President| Tudor Realty Services Corp.
If you live in a condominium or cooperative in NYC, there’s a good chance your building’s Annual Meeting of the Unit Owners of Shareholders is approaching.
While some buildings hold their annual meeting in the fall, many occur in the spring. There is a good reason for this. Most buildings use the calendar year as their accounting period. The audit reports for the most recently completed year should be ready by a Spring Annual Meeting. Having the meeting then gives the owners the opportunity to review and question the information when it is still fresh.
TRS manages more than 90 cooperative and condominium buildings throughout NYC and we are celebrating our 28th anniversary in April. That means, we’ve certainly attended a lot of Annual Meetings in our time!
Looking for tips to run a smooth Annual Meeting? Here are 5 Tips to help you run a great annual meeting!
Plan Ahead & Issue Proper Notice
It may seem simple, but a well-run Annual Meeting starts with proper advance planning and organization. First step will be to start with the formal Notice of Annual Meeting. You’ll need to check your building’s by-laws to determine notice requirements and then notice should be sent to each shareholder or unit owner accordingly. You’ll also want to review the building’s by-laws to determine requirements for the election of directors or board of managers and the voting procedures to elect members to the Board. If there are term limits or staggered terms, it’s never too early to begin working on board succession and filling of upcoming vacancies. It’s also very important to make sure that the building’s accountant gets started on the current audit report as soon as possible, and will have it ready well in advance of the meeting.
After sending out the notice, it’s time to start planning for the meeting! The building’s by-laws will include the agenda for conducting the Annual Meeting. It’s here that the Board should determine who will be speaking and the reports to be given. The board should also decide if other professionals should attend, such as the building’s attorney, engineer or accountant, and request their presence if required.
Calling the Meeting To Order
At the Annual Meeting, your managing agent should provide a team to manage the “check in” process, welcome the shareholders or unit owners, collect any proxies, and to kick-off the meeting with the formal proceedings. This will keep the meeting organized and running smoothly. Once underway, the Board will take over to provide board reports and updates and move through the agenda.
Helpful Hint: Remember, while the Board is running the building on behalf of all shareholders and unit owners and are actively involved in the day to day operations and “up to speed” on current issues and projects, the unit owners and shareholders are not actively involved on a daily basis and so the Annual Meeting is a time to provide everyone with building updates and an overview on all that’s been happening.
At the appropriate time in the meeting, it will be time to conduct the election. Your team from the Managing Agent should step in and help the Board run the election process. Typically it’s a time for the candidates to introduce themselves and then the vote occurs. The Managing Agent will work with the board on the election procedures, tallying the votes, and determining the results.
Time for Q&A
After the election (or while the votes are being tabulated if occurring at the meeting), it’s a great time for the Q&A session before closing the meeting. While questions can range, it’s a good idea to keep the questions to general questions about building wide issues and not to venture into specific shareholder / unit owner issues as those can be addressed privately after the meeting.
Thanks for reading! Through advanced planning, support from your team at the Managing Agent’s office and organization, your Annual Meeting should run smoothly!
If you would like to learn more about our approach to running an annual meeting, or would like to hear about our approach to residential property management, give us a call!