Monthly Archives: March 2020

Approaching Board Meetings Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 virus has officially been declared a pandemic and life as most communities know it has come to a standstill. With self-quarantines, social distancing, and several business closures in effect, many Boards may be wondering how they can continue to improve their communities during this crisis.

While your community practices social distancing, here are some of the ways you and your Board can approach Board Meetings in the coming months.

Take a New Stance on Meeting Urgency

Since so many people are staying indoors, you’re going to have to pick and choose which meetings to hold. Our recommendation is, if it’s a non-urgent meeting, postpone it until the COVID-19 threat has dissipated.

However, if you do have an urgent agenda on the docket, you can still “meet” with your community and make decisions, simply practice safe distancing with the power of technology.

Hosting an Open Meeting Without Person-to-Person Contact

If you thought that you could only vote on decisions in-person at an open meeting, Chapter 209 of the Texas Property Code states otherwise. According to the code, Texas Boards are allowed to make important decisions without meeting in person if they meet specific requirements.

While practicing social distancing your Board can make certain decisions via telephone or electronically as long as each Board Member is given the opportunity to vote and express their opinions on the specific issue.

If these measures are taken, and a vote is made without notice to owners, your Board must also include any actual or estimated expenditures at the next open or special Board Meeting and recording in that meeting’s minutes.

What You Can’t Vote On Without an Open Meeting

Although it is possible to electronically vote, there are certain situations where prior notice must be given to owners, otherwise, your Board can’t vote on it. Unless you’ve sent a notice to your owners that grants them the ability to know what the meeting is about and provide an option where they can listen in, you may not consider or vote on issues that pertain to:

  • Fines;
  • Damage assessments;
  • Initiation of foreclosure actions;
  • Initiation of enforcement actions, excluding temporary restraining orders or violations involving a threat to health or safety;
  • Increases in assessments;
  • Levying of special assessments;
  • Appeals from a denial of architectural control approval;
  • A suspension of a right of a particular owner before the owner has an opportunity to attend a board meeting to present the owner’s position, including any defense, on the issue;
  • Lending or borrowing money;
  • The adoption or amendment of a dedicatory instrument;
  • The approval of an annual budget or the approval of an amendment of an annual budget that increases the budget by more than 10 percent;
  • The sale or purchase of real property;
  • The filling of a vacancy on the board;
  • The construction of capital improvements other than the repair, replacement, or enhancement of existing capital improvements; or
  • The election of an officer

Since the list of what’s prohibited outside of an open meeting is so extensive, as your association management team, we recommend always keeping your community informed before any of your online meetings throughout the COvID-19 pandemic.

Keep Your Board on Track During COVID-19 With Goodwin & Company

At Goodwin & Company, we understand that the current pandemic is stressful for any community. However, as your management team, we are prepared to help you take every necessary precaution against exposure to COVID-19. From our family to yours, stay safe as we all do our part to flatten the curve on coronavirus.

Simple Ways Your HOA Can Conserve Energy

Your association is all about making the community a better place for its current and future residents. Aside from general tidiness and ensuring that finances are in order for your association, the HOA should also be conscious of the environmental footprint of its neighborhood.

Since spring is right around the corner, now is the best time to discuss how your association management team and Board can join forces to make your association a “greener” place. Here are some quick ways your HOA can conserve energy going into the spring and summer seasons.

Keep Tabs on Laundry Room Use

Some HOAs or condo associations employ a laundry room for community use. Laundering appliances can easily eat away at your energy use. However, there are some ways you can mitigate how large your environmental footprint is while washing clothes.

By posting a sign in the room encouraging tenants to wash full loads and clean lint traps prior to using the dryers, you’ll be taking some great steps towards long-term energy conservation.

Track Swimming Pool Maintenance

Although the community swimming pool is one of the most popular places to be in the spring, it’s definitely an area that uses up a lot of energy during operation and maintenance.

Reduce your energy use at the pool by running your sweepers at night or in the early morning, in order to maximize your energy use.

Post Flyers Around the Association

Your residents may also be interested in how they can conserve energy in their homes. We suggest meeting with your Board and management company to create a news flyer that displays some of the simple ways each home can start saving energy. From energy-saving light bulbs to a proper filter changing schedule, your homeowners will appreciate these tips that will ultimately save them money on their monthly bills.

Perform an Energy Audit

Knowing how much energy your community uses is the key to discovering where you need to start saving. If your board finds itself questioning where energy is being wasted, an energy audit will show you exactly what aspects of your community are the root of your energy issues.

Your association management team can connect you to a company that performs energy audits. That company will then explain to you where you could be saving and how your association can successfully get it done. Not only does this process save you time, but it also saves your neighborhood money. Get your Board straight to the source instead of spending money on a lot of trial and error.

Go Green This Spring With Goodwin & Company

If your association is eager to save money in its annual energy budget, Goodwin & Company is ready to show you the way of the green HOA! We have experience working with vendors that can help you make environmentally-friendly choices and also have a few energy-saving tips under our belts as well. We’re ready to make your association a community Mother Nature would be proud of. Contact us today to learn more about our services.