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Real estate Q&A: Can you speak at an association meeting with a proxy?

Gary M. Singer, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

A: My condo association is going to have our annual meeting and our neighbor is going to be representing her son at this year's meeting. She understands that as a limited proxy she can only vote the will of the owner, and she will be voting according to his wishes. Her son has some comments he wants her to make at the meeting. The president of our association indicated that he did not want "non-owners" speaking at the meeting. Can she do it? -- Nathan

Q: Proxies are specialized types of a document called a power of attorney where a person, the "principal," gives someone else, that person's "agent," the right to act on their behalf. In each power of attorney agreement, the principal must specifically set out what the agent can do on their behalf. The agent must always act in the best interest of the principal, and in accordance with that person's wishes.

Proxies come in two flavors: limited and general. Limited proxies direct the agent to vote a certain way in an election, while general proxies give the agent more rights to act and speak on behalf of the unit owner. You should read the proxy form to determine which type of proxy you are dealing with. Remember, it is the content of the document that matters, not necessarily its title.

Since your neighbor has a limited proxy, she will only be able to vote on behalf of her son. If she had a general proxy instead, she would be able to speak for her son as long as your association's documents did not clearly prohibit it.

About The Writer

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Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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