Chapters of the article
Clients are always advised, “A meeting or membership meeting should be called by formal invitation in accordance with the bylaws. In addition to the place, time and agenda, it must also include the documents for the individual proposals, or at least information on where the documents can be viewed (e.g. the elevator reconstruction project).
If you want order in the house, you need to start with order in the “papers”. This is because querulous people often grasp at the straw of a minor mistake in calling a meeting that goes against their interests. This can cost a housing association or unit owners’ association a lot of money and energy.
Conversely, in some cases, even impeccable documentation will not cover up internal irregularities in situations where the committee has de facto ‘privatised’ the common property. You just need to know what to look for.
Beware of the informal approach
In practice, we met with a friendly Mr. Jiří. As the chairman of a Prague SVJ, he used to convene meetings informally by telephone in a small collective of seven units. However, he contacted us once to say that a new neighbour had sent him a letter questioning all the conclusions made at the last meeting, even though everyone but him had agreed with them. We advised him that he had better reconvene the meeting with a formal invitation and to hold off on the decision until then. Indeed, an informally convened meeting without any record could be successfully challenged.
This recommendation was supported by our other recent experience. In one North Bohemian owners’ association, a committee controlled by a local housing association “rolled” the neighbours to the extent that it did not pay attention to formalities in the invitation or the minutes of the meeting and imposed overpriced services and unfavourable bylaws. However, we succeeded in challenging the botched meeting in the Regional Court in Ústí na Labem and cancelled the unfavourable statutes. This is despite the fact that the recent case law of the Supreme Court and other courts is very reserved towards challenging meetings of the community and rather “upholds” the meeting in most cases. However, the right arguments must be brought.
How do you do it right?
The assembly must be held at least once a year and convened by a perfectly designed invitation. This must, of course, be properly sent to all members of the JVU, and the bylaws may specify the specific form. This can also be done, for example, by e-mail or text message (for those members who have provided this contact information, others will be sent by post). However, it is still best to do this by invitation, which is dropped in the mailbox and posted in the house in an accessible place on the bulletin board in the entrance hall.
Lawyer for HOA and housing cooperatives
We will provide you with a lawyer for HOA or housing cooperative for 6 or 12 months. He or she will be available at any time to represent you in court or with the authorities and help you with any legal issue. All this for a price you know in advance and the option to pay after the service is completed.
Thestatutes may specify a precise time limit for sending a written invitation. If they do not specify it, the meeting must be called 30 days before the date of the meeting (previously the deadline was 15 days). A good chairman pays special attention to the deadline. However, even if it is not complied with, it is clear from the decisions of the courts that this is not necessarily a reason for cancelling the entire meeting if the complainant duly attended the meeting anyway.
What a formal invitation should contain
In order to be a truly valid formal invitation, it should meet certain requirements, otherwise the meeting could be considered invalid. The correct designation of the JVU or BD should be included. It must also state who is calling the meeting, the time, place and agenda.
If the invitation is not accompanied by documents relating to the agenda, the convenor shall give each unit owner the opportunity to review them in a timely manner. Therefore, all handouts are attached to the email and are also available in written form from the President upon request. This avoids printing volumes of paper and still complies with the letter of the law. This information is explicitly stated on each invitation. The invitation should therefore always include at least the information on where or with whom the documents in question are available for inspection (e.g. the elevator reconstruction project). It must then be based on the documents provided in advance.
Convening a membership meeting of the JVU and BD is a key step in the management of an apartment building or cooperative. It is essential to follow the formal procedure and formalities to avoid problems and subsequent disputes. Make sure you have the right invitation that contains all the necessary information and provides access to the documents for each agenda item. Do not underestimate the formal aspects and always prefer to stick to the rules and statutes of your JVU or BD.
All the details of convening a meeting can be set up correctly in advance by consulting a professional. Then the chairman of the JVU or the chairman of the cooperative does not have to worry that he will underestimate something and his JVU or BD will lose an unnecessary dispute.