Lawyer in Turkey: Board Practices

Friday, June 21, 2013

Board Practices

A woman called me recently to ask whether a board could remove an existing playground in a residential complex without consulting its members. The board felt a barbeque area was nicer than a playground. The playground had already been sold. Objections of members were answered as follows: ”we don’t need your approval, because we’ll have a majority.” This was said, because the members who were asking about it were from another nationality than the board.

Another reader asks himself the question if expensive improvements to the main building can take place without an underlying decision of the members. In other words, is a board entitled to just renew the basement, place a sauna, purchase an expensive installation system or remove an existing installation - such as a satellite antenna - without an underlying decision of the association.
All these questions can be answered with a definite 'No'.
The director, or the board, is an executive body which operates in the service of all the owners of the residence or the members of the association. The board is obliged to carry out the decisions of the members. These decisions need to be taken in majority during a regular or special meeting.
Nevertheless, a majority vote does not necessarily mean that the rights of the minority should not be observed. A non-consenting owner (member) may annul a majority decision on legitimate personal grounds.
To clarify I will take the example of the playground. The decision to remove the playground and replace it with a barbeque tent, taken in majority of votes, may be annulled in court on grounds that the enjoyment of families with many children is limited. Namely, the association should make the justified decision to ensure the existing rights of the families with children. If really necessary, the playground can be moved to another location, so the (grand)children of these families can still use it. However, a barbecue is not seen as a necessary item for all members and should therefore not be funded by members that don’t want to make use of it.
In short: The board is only justified to carry out a (legal) action if a decision is taken by the members at a meeting. An exception to this rule is made if necessary and / or urgent situations occur that justify immediate interference of the board. For example, if a basement floods, the board must take immediate action to limit the damage. I say must, because it’s their obligation, not a choice. The board in this case is legitimate to hire a pump, and make costs, to pump the water out so damage is limited and it is not necessary for the board to consult the members. However, this doesn't mean the board may purchase an expensive pump, or paint and redecorate the basement.

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