The Rema in c. m. 163:1 says when a city votes the people get together and voice their vote. Also the beer heitiv in 231 says the same and adds that if the shamash sends a paper to each house to vote yes or no it is not valid the would seem from r. akiva eiger there the reason for that so it can be discussed for or against and then make a valid choice. in a bungalow colony where every one owns their own unit the by-laws say you can send a paper to each owner to vote without having any discussion about it. some of the votes are about charging some owners extra money. can there be such a rule which is against the rationale of the shulchan aruch.

Answer:

The principle of following the majority is noted by the Rosh (7:5), and ruled by the Rema. See also the Chasam Sofer (Choshen Mishpat 61), who writes that in principle a minority opinion can also object, but agrees with the ruling because partners originally join together with intention of following the “rules of the game” (of going after the majority vote).

In the case of the bungalow colony the came is true: Those who buy a property does so with intention of following the by-laws, and therefore the decision of the majority is binding, in spite of the fact that there is no prior discussion.

Best wishes.

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4 Responses to “Following the Majority Vote”

  1. most people do not read the by laws. they assume it does not go against the rational of the shulchan aruch.
    e.g. after reading the by laws it says if you are late in your fees there is a charge of interest payments untill all paid up which is clearly assur. so do i have to listen because i have intension to follow the by laws? if they decide to build an office complex and everyone has to chip in 1 millon dollors do i have to chip in? i only agreed if the by laws make sence and not againt the shulchan aruch. thank you waiting for an early reply

    • If the by-laws go against the halachah, of course we do not follow them, so that any stipulations of paying ribbis are not binding. However, for most matters the halachah allows people to decide how they wish things to be run (in monetary matters partners to a transaction or a partnership can decide any terms they want), and by-laws that make sense (such as following the majority and methods of voting etc.) are certainly included in this.
      Best wishes again.

  2. also there are 50 units in the bungalow colony. about 10 of them have basements. about 5 of them have finished basements which have a fridge, oven etc.. for a separate family to live in. the the seller of the units told me to buy a basement so i can have my children who are married have a place to stay which i did. i have one married child living on the main floor and one in the basement. the people voted that anyone that has someone in the basement even for one day in july has to pay double maintenance which is about $1500.00 and if they come one day in august the same. which means if they come just for one day in july and one day in august i have to pay $3000.00. if they stay a whole summer its the same price. when i asked some of the people who have no basements why they voted like that they said because then their maintenace is cheaper. do they have a right to do that? is that what we had in mind when we agreed on the by laws which no one read? do i have to pay it? thank you

    • I don’t know the by-laws, but this arrangement sounds strange. The Chazon Ish rules that where a majority votes for something that is in favor of the majority and against the majority, we don’t follow the majority vote – meaning that we do not allow a situation of “tyranny of the majority”. Your case seems to be a tyranny of the majority, because the question of basements is not relevant for the majority of people, so that their vote is clearly unfair. In theory by-laws can circumvent this, too, but because it appears very unfair, I would try to appeal the decision, write letters, and so on, explaining that the situation is unacceptable.
      I hope it works out and good luck.

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