W.S. from Fairfield County, Connecticut (and many other readers) writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus and restrictions placed on gatherings, what would be the best way to postpone the annual meeting which is scheduled for April 30th? Does the current Board just carryover until a new meeting date could be set along with past year budget? Any known issues that need to be addressed if the meeting carries over to the new fiscal year?
Mister Condo replies:
W.S. and all others effected by social distancing and other COVID-19 (Coronavirus) precautions,Of course, I hope you are all safe and healthy. This is not a time for heroics when scheduling meetings where people must gather in small places to take care of association business. In general, many community associations, condominiums, HOAs and others have simply suspended their usual meetings until such time as the “all clear” is given from local, state, and federal government. Unless there are matters that are so urgent they cannot wait, I believe this to be the safest way to act during this unprecedented event. Even if there are matters requiring immediate action, meetings should be held in the most responsible manner allowed. Many associations allow for electronic meetings – conference call, video meetings, and so on. Some associations can conduct business by proxy and email. However, any meeting of the Board or association must have Minutes taken and made available to all owners within the association once the Minutes are approved. This can be challenging for associations that don’t already have these protocols in place. My best advice is to wait it out if you can and then pick up where you left off. That may mean adjusting terms by a few months. In the end, this is an Act of God or other natural disaster. Boards are always required to exercise good business judgment. Deciding to cancel or postpone meetings until it is safe for the meeting attendees is good business judgment, in my opinion. If you require legal advice, many community association attorneys are more than happy to advise their clients on how to conduct themselves in these trying times. First and foremost, remember that Safety First is your top priority. There is nothing going on with your association’s governance that should put any resident, unit owner, Board Member, or Property Manager in harm’s way. Good luck to us all!
2 thoughts on “Condo and HOA Meetings in the Age of COVID-19”
I would check with your attorney if Board members whose terms end are still legally on the Board. If not, then perhaps the remaining members can carry on. Unless you have an Emergency Meeting for an actual emergency then the only way to legally conduct business would seem to be by email votes or electronic meetings. If it was legal for the board to continue and not have an election, then all that would be necessary for a rogue board would be to declare an emergency and continue in office indefinitely. I am not an attorney, yet I would check with yours. PS: With Zoom, electronic meetings are not that difficult to create and conduct, with a $15 monthly license.
With guidance from health department officials, the board should notify residents that there is an infection within the community, especially in apartment-style buildings, but we do not recommend the board specifically name the individual or their address to the rest of the community, without the consent of the infected individual.
If a resident within the building or community is infected, the board should then take additional steps to provide for as much social distancing as is possible.
Kaman & Cusimano, LLC