Whatever building chosen, all co-owners, without exception, are expected to participate to the General Meetings of co-owners. Thus they can vote on the questions on the agenda, and take various decisions necessary for the sound operation of the co-ownership. These General Meetings will vary according to circumstances. This factsheet is an overview of the various types of General Meetings that may be held in a co-ownership:
The Special Transitional General Meeting
This General Meeting is crucial for the future of the co-ownership, as it allows the election of the first Board of Directors of the co-owners. It also requires the provisional administrator, who is usually appointed by the developer in the declaration of co-ownership (By-laws of the immovable), to render an account of his administration. The Special Transitional General Meeting marks a breaking point between two management types, the management of the developer, now ended, and the one of the newly elected board.
Contrary to many co-owners belief, the Special Transitional General Meeting is not the starting point or the creation of a co-ownership. Its purpose is to transfer the control from the developer to the co-owners, which will be formalized by electing a new Board.
The Annual General Meeting of the co-owners (AGM)
This General Meeting provides an opportunity for Board members to render an account, both on the administration and management of the co-ownership. It must take place every year, as its name suggests, at the latest six months following the end of the financial year. However, the declaration of co-ownership may provide for a shorter period, usually 90 days. This being said, the Annual General Meeting of the co-owners allows:
• Them to analyze the accounts of the previous year;
• To consult the co-owners on the budget forecast for the upcoming year;
• To vote on the questions on the agenda, such as the election of directors or any other decision concerning the operation of the co-ownership.
The Special General Meeting (SGM)
It usually addresses issues other than those dealt with at the Annual General Meeting, which is why it is referred to as “special”. When specific issues arise in a co-ownership, and they cannot wait until the next Annual General Meeting to be discussed, a Special General Meeting must be called by the
Board, as for example:
• If, after a loss, consulting the owners on a special budget is required to carry out urgent work;
• If a new director must be elected to replace a resigning member.
The Make-up General Meeting
This type of meeting results from a postponement of Annual General Meeting, caused by the failure to reach quorum, requiring the latter to be adjourned. Subsequently, a notice is given to all co-owners to reconvene it. The next meeting will be a ''make-up'', therefore quorum will not be the same.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! Co-owners who wish to convene an annual or special meeting may require the Board do so, by stating in a written notice, the questions to be dealt with. But for the said meeting to be held, the applicant- co-owners must represent ten percent (10%) of the votes of all co-owners.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND : No decision can be taken without a General Meeting, even though a unanimous written resolution can have the same effect as if a meeting had been held. But be careful, do not confuse it with a written consultation, which has no legal value, even if supported by the majority of co-owners.
WARNING! The high level of absenteeism at General Meetings of co- owners is a real nuisance. Those who are conspicuous by their absence contribute to the paralysis of the destiny of their immovable, because sometime important decisions cannot be taken.
CONSULT THE PUBLICATION: Guide de procedure et de fonctionnement des assemblées des copropriétaires (Procedures and operation of general meetings of co-owners guide)