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Virtual Meetings Conducting Board Business in a Crisis

Editor’s Note: During this crisis, The Cooperator family of publications will be passing along information, tips, and FAQs submitted by our network of industry professionals, including attorneys, managers, and other subject matter experts. The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributors, and as the situation evolves in the coming days and weeks, those views and opinions may evolve as well. We encourage readers to be mindful of this; check posting dates, make note of contributors’ locations and industries, and above all, consult with your own community professionals as you and your neighbors navigate this challenging landscape. 

As teleworking becomes the new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several methods by which association members or association boards can transact business in the absence of everyone gathering at the same time and location.

Virtual meetings help associations conduct business when not all members can be physically present. Tools such as Skype, GoToMeeting and Google Plus Hangouts allow board members to hear each other through microphones and speakers and to see each other through video cameras regardless of where they are located. And that old standby—the telephone conference call—remains popular and legal for board meetings, even though it doesn’t allow participants to see each other, documents or other materials.

A variety of state provisions set out how association meetings can and cannot be conducted in the electronic age. Some statutes and regulations that cover corporations and nonprofit organizations apply to associations as well.

Experts advise association leaders to discuss options with legal counsel before deciding on a form of meeting technology and how to deploy it. In general, most board deliberations and decisions must be held in a fashion that allows board members to talk to one another contemporaneously and property owners to hear that discussion in real time.

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