Condominium, homeowners, and townhome community associations typically schedule in-person meetings to address association business. However, board members and property managers have begun utilizing tele-conferencing technology to conduct virtual meetings.
While there may be some initial resistance to virtual meetings, it’s hard to overlook the accessibility, affordability, and convenience of tele-conferencing technology. Video and audio-conferencing software such as Skype and Zoom can be a great tool for simulating face-to-face interactions while honoring the board of directors’ duty to permit owners to attend open portions of meetings.
Below are four benefits to holding virtual meetings in community associations.
The cost of video conferencing software is minimal, and in some cases free. Board members and unit owners will most likely already own a smartphone or computer they can use to access applications like Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex, or Microsoft Teams.
Many video conferencing software options have both video and audio features. While a live video feed is the best way to simulate face-to-face conversation, it’s important to have an audio-only option available in the event a participant’s internet connection is not reliable enough to support video. Generally, it’s a good practice to include a dial-in number with the meeting invitation to ensure access.
Virtual meetings can encourage participation from association members including seasonal owners, owners who are traveling out of state, and owners who have scheduling conflicts due to work and other activities.
Virtual meetings can be very convenient for everyone involved. The meeting organizer can easily send out an email invite with the agenda and a link to the meeting to all participants. This prevents the need to print fliers or post signs to promote the meeting.
Since video conferencing software also allows for screen sharing, it can also save money on printing costs if you typically distribute printed agendas or other presentation materials.
Organizers can structure a virtual meeting in the same way they would an in-person meeting. A virtual meeting can follow the same rules, ethics, and customs. They can still follow an agenda in an effort to move business along and maintain order.
Additionally, board members can ask owners to submit questions before the meeting. This allows the board to prepare in advance and adequately address any issues and concerns.
The association’s governing documents should serve as the ultimate guide on how to handle meetings. Board members should consult with the association’s counsel before adjusting the design of your meetings for virtual purposes. When done the right way, meeting virtually has the ability to feel just as natural as if you were meeting in person.
If your your association has questions about how board meetings and/or how to handle remote technology, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Please call 855-537-0500 or visit www.ksnlaw.com.
Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. We have four office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Our attorneys are also licensed in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri.
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