by Phoebe E. Neseth, Esq | September 23, 2021
Many states have passed legislation allowing virtual meetings for community associations after restrictions on in-person interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic forced boards, community managers, and professional business partners to conduct business remotely. With many communities preparing to hold their annual general meetings in the fall, those located in states where virtual meetings are now permitted must decide whether to hold them remotely or in person.
To date, 24 states have introduced legislation allowing associations to conduct virtual meetings, with 11 states and the District of Columbia passing laws that either allow common interest communities to conduct virtual meetings during a declared state of emergency and/or to hold meetings virtually beyond the pandemic: Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington state.
Most of these laws were enacted through the tireless advocacy, lobbying, and grassroots efforts of CAI’s state legislative action committees. LACs across the country continue to work with various levels of government to ensure community associations can conduct virtual meetings and electronic voting during the pandemic and beyond.
Since March 2020, nearly half of associations say they have held remote board meetings, and 49% report that virtual meetings have increased efficiency for association operations, according to CAI’s Virtual Meeting & Electronic Voting Survey. More than half of respondents believe that online meetings have increased resident participation and engagement.
Virtual meetings are a cost-effective way to share information and documents by eliminating printing and mailing expenses. They also allow the presiding officer to oversee the order of the meeting through access to chat conversations, electronic hand-raising function, and a muting option.
CAI supports legislation that allows a community association board and membership to hold meetings virtually.
Rules and regulations for community association virtual meetings vary from state to state, often being contingent on an association’s articles of incorporation, charter, or bylaws. Many states require associations to file as nonprofit corporations, meaning they 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 virtual meetings.
It is important to consult with your association’s legal counsel to determine the options for virtual meetings based on your community’s governing documents and state regulations. You also may review CAI’s resources to effectively manage rules and regulations for holding virtual meetings in your community, and learn more about the status of virtual meeting legislation in your state here.