Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conducting board and annual association meetings in-person is impossible due to government restrictions established in most states for public health and safety purposes. Many states are still limiting in-person gatherings, making a full board or membership meeting impossible. There is a need for virtual meetings and remote voting.
Rules and regulations controlling virtual meetings for associations vary from state to state. Virtual meetings are contingent in many states on a community association’s articles of incorporation, charter, or bylaws. Many states require associations to file as nonprofits corporations, which means associations in those states may be governed by the state’s nonprofit or business corporation act. If an association’s governing documents are silent on virtual meeting regulations, the respective state’s nonprofit or business corporation act may allow an association to hold a virtual meeting.
Very few state acts permit an association to conduct a meeting electronically and, in some cases if they do, the association is only allowed to do so during a declared state of emergency. States that do allow for some form or virtual association meeting include California, Delaware, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.
During the pandemic, several states passed temporary emergency regulations, whether via emergency legislation, state Supreme Court opinion, or governor’s executive order, allowing associations to hold virtual meetings during the pandemic or for a specific number of days after the state of emergency ends. These include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.
In addition to virtual meeting issues, many associations are grappling with how to conduct electronic voting during their virtual meetings. At this point in time, more than 20 states have statutes allowing associations to vote electronically.
CAI’s Legislative Action Committees (LACs) across the country continue to work with various levels of government to ensure they can conduct virtual meetings and electronically vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. With 2021 legislative sessions right around the corner, many CAI LACs are in the process of planning and developing legislation allowing virtual association meetings to be held during a state of emergency.
It is crucial to consult with your association’s attorney to see what your community’s options are for virtual meetings based upon your governing documents and state regulations.
Review CAI’s resources to effectively manage rules and regulations for this hot-button issue in your community.
Learn more here about the current advocacy efforts CAI’s LACs are leading, and how they are working to monitor state legislation, educate lawmakers, and protect the interests of those living and working in community associations.
Disclaimer: This information is subject to change. It is published with the understanding that Community Associations Institute is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, medical, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.