Wisconsin

Wisconsin Annual General Meeting Requirements for Condos, Co-Ops, and HOAs

It’s time to schedule the annual meeting for your homeowners association or a regular board meeting. One of the worst things about scheduling these meetings is trying to coordinate conflicting schedules. Isn't there a better way to hold association meetings that encourage participation and attendance?

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Population

5,822,434

Housing Units

2,725,296

Owner Occupied

67%

Associations

5,335

Simplify Your Board Meetings in Wisconsin with BuildingBoard

BuildingBoard has made the process of holding board meetings and annual meetings easy and hassle-free. Our platform allows your board members and owners to attend meetings virtually. You can send notices and reminders through the system. Your members attend the live meeting, participate, and vote electronically.

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Risks of Missing a Quorum in Wisconsin

One of the benefits of remote meetings is decreasing the chance of not having a quorum present to hold votes. If you do not have a quorum at your association meeting, you will need to go through the time, effort, and cost of rescheduling the annual meeting. Additionally, there is no guarantee that you will have a quorum at the next meeting.

Offering remote access to homeowner association meetings and board meetings encourages participation. BuildingBoard does not require downloads of apps or software. Instead, your members can attend and vote through our easy-to-use website.

Annual General Meeting Requirements

The annual meeting is held to conduct business that impacts the entire community. However, these meetings may also provide owners and shareholders the opportunity to voice concerns or issues.

Condos

The Condominium Ownership Act (Chapter 703) applies to most condominium projects.

Section 703.09 of the Condominium Ownership Act describes what should be included in a condominium declaration. Some of the important provisions of the declaration that relate to annual meetings include:

  • The percentage of interest assigned to each unit
  • The number of votes at meetings of the association of unit owners assigned to each unit

The association is governed by the bylaws. According to Section 703.10, the bylaws should include the method of calling the unit owners to assemble, the attendance necessary for a quorum, and the requirements for meeting notices. Voting for units with recorded condominium liens may be suspended. It does not discuss voting proxies for members. 

According to the statutes, all condominiums are to be organized as a profit, nonprofit, or unincorporated association. Therefore, the type of organization determines the law that governs certain operations of the association. 

If the organization is an unincorporated nonprofit association, it would be subject to the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act (Chapter 184). The Act does not state anything about meetings, proxies, or quorums. However, most condominiums are organized as nonprofit corporations, like HOAs (which we discuss below), making the condominiums subject to the Nonstock Corporations Act.

Co-Ops

Co-ops are organized as corporations. Many of them are nonprofit organizations, so the Nonstock Corporations Act (discussed below) would apply. However, Wisconsin also has a set of statutes that apply to Cooperatives (Chapter 185 and Chapter 193). 

Chapter 185

According to Chapter 185, unless the bylaws state otherwise, the co-op shall hold annual member meetings. Special meetings may also be called when necessary. Written notice of the meetings must be given to the members at least seven days before the meeting, but no more than 30 days before the meeting date. Notice may only be given to the members entitled to vote. 

A quorum at a member meeting is ten percent of the first 100 members plus five percent of additional members. Unless the bylaws state a higher quorum, quorums may not be more than 50 members nor less than five members or a majority of all members, whichever is smaller. 

Voting by proxy "shall not" be allowed in any cooperative. 

Chapter 193

Chapter 193 applies to unincorporated cooperative associations. Cooperatives organized under this chapter are also required to hold annual meetings of members. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to the members at least 16 days before the meeting. The notice may be sent by any means approved of by the board and agreed to by the members. The minimum notice period would be two weeks before the meeting date. 

The bylaws should state the quorum for member meetings. However, if the bylaws are silent on this subject, the minimum quorum for a members meeting is ten percent for co-ops with 100 or fewer members and 15 percent for all other co-ops. If members are permitted to vote on a matter by mail or alternative ballot, those ballots are added to the number of people physically present for the meeting to determine whether a quorum exists.

With very few exceptions, voting by proxy is allowed for members of cooperatives organized under Chapter 193.

HOAs

There is not a specific HOA statute in Wisconsin. However, most HOAs are organized as nonprofit corporations, so they are subject to the Nonstock Corporations Act (Chapter 181).

Under the Nonstock Corporations Act, details relevant to annual meetings include:

  • Meetings of the members are to be held at least once per year
  • Notice of the meeting must be fair and reasonable, which means providing notice at least ten days before, but not more than 60 days before a meeting
  • Unless the articles or bylaws provide for a different number, a quorum equals ten percent of the votes entitled to be cast on a matter
  • Unless prohibited or limited by the bylaws or articles, members may submit their votes by proxy

In many cases, the bylaws control how meetings are conducted and the specifics for quorums, voting, and proxies. However, there could be additional requirements in the statutes.

Virtual Annual Meetings in Wisconsin

The Condominium Ownership Act nor the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act mentions virtual or remote meetings.

However, Section 185.13 of the Cooperatives statutes allows the co-op to hold a member meeting utilizing remote participation. Members may be counted present and vote by remote communication. Electronic voting may also be used when a person attends a meeting remotely if the bylaws permit electronic voting and the co-op can verify that it is a member who is voting.

Section 193.531 of the Unincorporated Cooperatives Statute also permits virtual meetings for members. Members must be permitted to participate in the meeting and hear comments by board members and other members. The member must also be able to vote, if they would be permitted to vote by appearing at the meeting in person. 

Section 181.0704 of the Nonstock Corporations Act states that decisions are made by holding a meeting and vote, taking action by written consent, or using written ballots. Each method has specific requirements. However, the statute does not explicitly state that the organization can hold an annual meeting by remote communication. 

Section 181.0820 of the Nonstock Corporations Act does allow for board meetings to be held by any means of communication that allows for live participation and is not prohibited by the bylaws or articles. The statute is specific to board meetings. 

Section 181.0302 of the Nonprofit Corporations Act states that the board can do all things necessary or convenient that is not inconsistent with the law to further the activities and affairs of the corporation. It would be wise to seek a legal analysis to determine if that includes remote meetings.

Hold Your Wisconsin Annual Board Meetings Virtually with BuildingBoard

BuildingBoard is easy to use, convenient, and avoids problems reaching quorums. Schedule your meeting, invite members via email, and conduct the vote on the day of the meeting. Your members vote via their smartphone or computer.

Are you ready to simply your annual meetings? Contact BuildingBoard to learn more about our services and to schedule a demo.

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