E.P. from Hartford County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our property manager and condo board allow a homeowner to talk for “five” minutes prior to the start of their monthly board meeting. A board member records the conversation on her phone and also times you so you keep at the five-minute limitation. The homeowner is told they are being recorded but they are not asked if they approve. Nothing is documented in the minutes, except a reference to the recording. I have objected to the recording and have also asked the property manager where the recording is stored. I did receive an answer, except that the minutes say that a homeowner (ANY homeowner) will be provided the recording at request. I do not want my private conversation given to any homeowner who just happens to ask for it. Tonight, I just requested the recording of two homeowners that attended the September meeting. They will never even know I have the recording. Who the heck knows where that recording could end up? It could end up on Facebook for all we know. I cannot imagine that this is even legal. Since technically it is part of the minutes and minutes need to be approved, correct? I’ve voiced my concerns, and get no response from the board members (in addition to our five-minute limitation they will not respond to anything you say – yes, this is true!)
Mister Condo replies:
E.P., what has our high-tech world come to? The reality is that we all need to live our lives as if someone is watching because they probably are. Videotaping at HOA meetings is allowed unless the association’s by-laws specifically prohibit it. There are no state laws prohibiting videotaping that I am aware of. As to where those recording are likely to end up, social media is the likely place. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, you name it, are where contentious videos typically end up. Of course, the person posting such videos does risk being sued by anyone who feels their image or likeness is being used without their permission. Those laws exist outside of the world of condo and HOA laws.Open forums are a good idea for most associations. It allows homeowners to speak their mind to their elected Board members. The Board does not need to respond and, in many instances, is wise to simply listen and then talk about homeowner concerns later in that meeting. If they decide to take any action on those concerns, it should appear on a future BOD meeting Agenda. Boards that choose to take no action on homeowners’ concerns tend to get voted out of office at future elections when enough homeowners get tired of having their concerns ignored. Democracy at its best. Good luck!