"Everybody Out!" Handling Closed-Door Meetings

That being said, there are times when information can and should be more tightly controlled, and when non-board shareholders actually don't have the legal right to certain information. Knowing when to include and when to exclude residents from the decision-making process and what kinds of information they have the right to access is an important part of any board's responsibility, and can help avoid unnecessary (and expensive) legal issues down the road.

Do Tell!

One of the most common complaints reported by shareholders and unit owners in condo buildings and HOAs is that their boards and/or managers keep them in the dark—not alerting them to upcoming work in the building or on the grounds, failing to respond to questions and complaints, and not holding regular meetings.

Board members, by contrast, may feel that as unpaid volunteers, they aren't necessarily obligated to respond personally to every email they get, or issue a press release every time the lobby gets painted. Additionally, residents may not be aware that there are sensitive matters discussed in board meetings that must be kept confidential.

According to Eric F. Frizzell, a partner with the Glen Rock-based law firm of Buckalew Frizzell & Crevina LLP, “There isn't a rule under New Jersey law requiring a community association’s board to go into what's called 'executive session.' The open meetings provisions of the Condominium Act and the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act permits a community association's board to go into closed session at a meeting at which a binding vote will be taken only when reviewing certain topics.”


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