The MassLandlords annual business meeting and annual elections happen each year at a time and date set by the Board of Directors. Here is what you need to know about MassLandlords’ annual meeting and governance.
What is MassLandlords?
MassLandlords, Inc. is a Massachusetts nonprofit trade association recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Our mission is to create better rental housing by helping owners run profitable, compliant, quality businesses.
MassLandlords is not owned by anyone and has no stock or units. The association resources are collected and spent for the benefit of member businesses in the aggregate but not specifically for any one individual or business.
Who is in Charge of MassLandlords?
The membership are in charge of MassLandlords via the Board of Directors. Each Director serves a five-year term. Directors can serve any number of terms, but they cannot serve consecutive terms. This solves the problem of incumbents running unopposed. Each year the membership elect a new director.
A quorum of 25% of members can call a special meeting. Even if a special meeting is not called, the Board of Directors will always call an annual meeting. Members can bring motions at or before the annual meeting for voting, and will vote on the new Director.
Who Can Participate in the Annual Business Meeting?
All members in good standing as of the record date set by the Board of Directors are eligible to participate in the annual business meeting and annual election.
The record date is ten days before the annual business meeting.
Note that members of partner associations are not legally MassLandlords members. Partner associations have a contract with MassLandlords to treat all their members like MassLandlords’ own, economically speaking. Partner association members get the member price at all events, and get access to MassLandlords member benefits online. Members of partner associations are legally entitled to vote only in their local association elections.
As of December 2019, the partner associations excluded from voting were the MetroWest Property Owners Association (MWPOA), the Northern Worcester County Landlord Association (NWCLA), the Rental Housing Association of Berkshire County (RHABC), and the Southern Worcester County Landlord Association (SWCLA). Talk to your partner association to find out when your annual meeting will take place.
All other membership names and types of memberships are legal MassLandlords members and eligible to vote in the annual business meeting and annual election.
When is the Annual Business Meeting and Annual Election?
The annual business meeting is not set by law or bylaw, but by tradition the Board will schedule it in the month of December. The annual business meeting and annual election are implemented as a set of related meetings held over several weeks at every directly managed chapter. The annual business meeting and annual election are scheduled to coincide with regularly scheduled monthly networking and training events.
Where is the Annual Business Meeting?
The annual business meeting takes place online and at our regularly scheduled, directly managed networking and training events. For instance, suppose there are four directly managed events in cities A, B, C, and D, and they occur in the election month in that order. The annual business meeting and annual election will open online and at meeting A when meeting A starts. The annual business meeting and annual election will remain open online throughout meetings B, C, and D. The meeting will end with the conclusion of meeting D. It will end online at the same time as meeting D ends in real life.
In 2019, the four meeting locations were Waltham, Worcester, Greater Springfield, and Cambridge, in that order. In 2020, voting started taking place electronically only.
What Happens at the Annual Business Meeting?
Members vote on the next Director, and on any other issues before the membership (e.g., Good Neighbor Award).
Typically there is light ceremony. We will recognize an outgoing director.
What does a MassLandlords Ballot Look Like?
A MassLandlords ballot will list candidates for the Board of Director and a brief statement of vision and credentials. The ballot may list other proposals, for instance, recognition of a Good Neighbor Award, or a survey on services.
Our ballots are not secret ballots. In order to match in-person voting with online votes, we require members to write their names at the top of their ballot. If multiple ballots are submitted for a given member (or a member who did not attend the event), we can notice that and contact the member for clarification. Individual votes are never published.
Members can vote online and change their vote at any time during the annual election. Online votes require logging in.
Why does MassLandlords Use Score Voting?
Members will notice that our ballot doesn’t look like ballots commonly used in city, state and federal elections. Government elections commonly use “first-past-the-post” systems, where the candidate who receives the most votes wins. Or if a policy is being proposed, the proposal will become law if it obtains a simple majority.
“First-past-the-post” majority rule systems have three main flaws. First, they do not take into account strength of voter sentiment. Second, they devolve into two-party, polarized systems (the 50% line divides the population into two camps). Third, they penalize voters whose first choice is not a major party candidate (you can accidentally “throw away your vote” by voting for someone who cannot win).
MassLandlords’ ballot uses score voting, which unlike “first-past-the-post” has a wide array of desirable electoral features. Members rate each candidate or proposal on a scale of “very undesirable” to “very desirable”, typically with numbers. You can rate several candidates the same score.
Score voting and other “preference” systems take into account the strength of voter sentiment. They permit a wide variety of perspectives, including third party candidates. And they do not penalize voters for liking an unlikely winner: if your first choice does not win, your preference for or against the other candidates still counts.
Consider an election with two choices to be decided by one hundred voters. The first candidate is not exciting but seems to find consensus. The second candidate is very exciting to some but sparks bitter disagreement in others. Suppose the consensus candidate receives one hundred votes of “70.” Their total score would be 7,000. Suppose the polarizing candidate receives 60 votes of “100” and 40 votes of “0.” Their total score would be 6,000. Under score voting, the consensus candidate or proposal would win, even though 60 members (a majority) preferred the polarizing candidate. The consensus candidate or proposal may not go far enough for some, but it is likely that whatever steps they do take will be widely accepted. Meanwhile, public discourse will continue on next steps in furtherance of our shared interests, having actually already accomplished something.
Is Score Voting Allowed under State Law?
"Except as otherwise expressly provided, a corporation may by its by-laws determine the manner of calling and conducting its meetings; the number of members which shall constitute a quorum; the mode of voting by proxy..." etc.
There are requirements from Chapter 156B looped in (156B is about for-profit corporations) but those do not provide any additional restrictions on us as a nonprofit with respect to voting.
Massachusetts has a long history with what we would now think of as "alternative" voting systems, and in fact ranked choice was John Adams' preference. In the pre-electronics world, this meant a series of run-off elections, which were law in MA from 1783 to 1855.
Who Wins under Score Voting?
The candidate with highest total score will win.
How Do I Get Listed on the Ballot? How do I nominate someone?
Nominations are open each fall until roughly seven days before the annual business meeting and annual election open, at which time ballots are printed. (Write-in’s are always allowed.)
To nominate yourself or someone else, complete our nomination form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at 774-314-1896, preferably 14 days before the annual business meeting and annual election open.
To be listed on the ballot for Board of Directors, nominees must:
- be a member in good standing, having paid membership dues up to date according to the number of units owned (if you are not grandfathered with our former dues structure);
- own quality rental real estate that adheres to landlord best practices and state sanitary code standards;
- have no unexplained court history or criminal record; and
- have affirmed their willingness to be listed by ballot printing time.
To support their candidacy, nominees should provide: 1) a 300-word statement of credentials and vision; 2) an example of a recent apartment ad, including pictures; and 3) enough information about their business for us to verify at least one deed in the public records. Finally, members should know what a prospective nominee brings to the table, and how that aligns with what they want MassLandlords to become.
When Is the Next Election?
The MassLandlords 2023 Annual Election runs from November 27 through December 19, 2023.