Many of our communities have asked whether it is permissible to conduct association business -- particularly board meetings at which binding votes are taken -- via email or other similar means during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The short answer is No. Community associations are still required to follow open meeting requirements under the law. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107 simply precludes community associations from holding open meetings in person. For this reason, your association’s legal counsel may be able to help you conduct your open meetings via conference call, online via a virtual meeting app like Zoom, or other similar means as may be necessary.
The Legal Obligation to Conduct Open Meetings
All meetings of the governing board of community associations at which binding votes are taken must be open to the membership, pursuant to the requirements of the New Jersey Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act and the New Jersey Condominium Act. There are a few exceptions: (1) matters the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy (e.g. the discussion of an owner’s delinquency); (2) pending or anticipated litigation; (3) contract negotiations; (4) matters falling within the attorney-client privilege; (5) any matter involving the employment, promotion, discipline or dismissal of a specific officer or employee of the association; and, (6) work sessions, at which no binding votes are taken.
Penalties for Failing to Conduct Open Meetings