Most community association governing documents do not provide for the use of remote membership meetings. But, during the COVID-19 emergency, the governor of New Jersey has enacted a law that allows community associations and other nonprofit agencies to conduct membership meetings online, using Zoom or WebX, or any other similar service that provides access to meetings from several different locations.
Today, we’re talking about why remote meetings may be good for your community association during this crisis, and even after things get back to normal.
Access to Remote Community Association Meetings
To comply with the law, your association must provide each member who is participating remotely with a reasonable opportunity to participate. This includes the ability to vote on matters submitted to the members and to read or hear the proceedings of the meeting substantially and concurrently with those proceedings. Essentially, all communication during the meeting must be in real time.
Establish Procedures and Guidelines for Remote Association Meetings
The law also requires that your association board authorizes and adopts guidelines and procedures to govern the remote, online meeting. Reasonable steps must be taken to verify that the participants are members of the association or proxies of members. You will also be required to maintain a record of the proceedings, including any votes that are taken. Minutes must be produced as a record of the business that’s conducted during the remote meeting, just like in any of your in-person board meetings.
Unless the board had previously adopted the sharing of electronic notices and voting as authorized by the Radburn Law, notices of the meeting must be given personally or by mail.
These requirements apply to board meetings and membership meetings, and they comply with The New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act.
Remote Board Meetings in the Future
We encourage community boards to consider experimenting with remote meetings. Traditionally, these association meetings are not well attended by membership. This may be a way to involve more members in the governing of the community.
If your remote meetings are successful during the COVID-19 crisis, you can amend your governing documents to allow for remote membership meetings and electronic notices going forward. It has the potential to draw more people in, and you might find that it works better for your particular community, and even inspires more people to volunteer and run for board positions.
We know that the definition of “normal” has shifted dramatically in the last couple of months. We hope that you and your loved ones are well and that your community is managing as best you can under these circumstances.
Please remember that we’re here to be a resources for all of our associations and for our community. If you have any questions about remote board meetings or you’d like to talk about adjusting your governing documents to make this a permanent function, we’d be happy to help you. Feel free to reach out for anything pertaining to community association management in New Jersey. Contact us at Realty Solutions.