Residents in co-op, condo and HOA communities are frequently quite busy. Boards consist of elected volunteers who nearly always have other jobs and lives. So while a professional management company can relieve much of the day-to-day operational stress of running a multifamily community, no decision can be made without those board members coming together to represent the interests of their neighbors.
This is why regular board and community meetings are essential. For one, they’re usually mandated by law. The specifics may vary by region, but it's safe to assume that an annual meeting of owners or shareholders and several other gatherings of board members are statutorily required. But meetings shouldn't be just another administrative box to check: they should be efficient, well-organized forums for conversation between an association and its leadership where questions are addressed; needs are discussed; and action plans laid out that are understood by all parties involved. Communication is key to community, and so a board that acts in an opaque, closed-off manner can only bring headaches on itself down the line.
New England Condominium spoke with several attorneys from different states to outline the legal requirements for association meetings, as well as their personal recommendations for best practices to keep those meetings smooth, productive and brief.
Charles A. Ryan, an attorney at Pilicy & Ryan, a law firm in Watertown, Connecticut
“In Connecticut, we’ve adopted the Common Interest Ownership Act, which governs both board meetings and unit owner meetings. The Act requires that a board must hold at least two board meetings per year at a place convenient to the community. With respect to unit owner meetings, the Act only requires one meeting per year. However, it is important to carefully review the association’s governing documents, as those might mandate that more meetings be held than the statutory minimum.