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:
- 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.