Residents in condo, co-op and HOA communities are frequently quite busy. Boards consist of elected volunteers who nearly always have other jobs and lives. So while a professional management company can relieve much of the day-to-day operational stress of running a multifamily community, no decision can be made without those board members coming together to represent the interests of their neighbors.
This is why regular board and community meetings are essential. For one, they’re usually mandated by law. The specifics may vary by region, but it’s safe to assume that an annual meeting of owners or shareholders and several other gatherings of board members are statutorily required. But meetings shouldn’t be just another administrative box to check: they should be efficient, well-organized forums for conversation between an association and its leadership where questions are addressed; needs are discussed; and action plans laid out that are understood by all parties involved. Communication is key to community, and so a board that acts in an opaque, closed-off manner can only bring headaches on itself down the line.
The New Jersey Cooperator spoke with several attorneys from different states to outline the legal requirements for association meetings, as well as their personal recommendations for best practices to keep those meetings smooth, productive and brief.
Gregory Vinogradsky, an associate with Callahan Fusco, a law firm with locations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida
“An open board meeting is necessary when a board decides to take an official action on behalf of an association. This should be done when approving new actions and/or ratifying prior actions. Board and shareholder meeting frequency is guided by the association’s governing documents, typically found in the bylaws. At a minimum, an association should meet annually to elect its board, set a budget, etc. Should the association’s governing documents be silent on the issue, then the New Jersey Condominium Act, New Jersey Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act, and/or the Nonprofit Corporation Act typically provide guidance in our state.