Q&A: Are Recordings Official Records?

Q. Is an association required to maintain a recording of a meeting as an official record?

                 — Confused Board Member

A. “One way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected associations is that in most cases it has made it impossible to hold in-person meetings, whether they be board meetings or unit owner meetings, which are usually required to be held at certain times according to the terms of the condominium governing documents,” says Pamela M. Jonah, Partner at Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, PC in Braintree, Massachusetts.

“Due to this, many boards have elected to hold the meetings virtually, oftentimes via Zoom.  This raises the question, is an association required to maintain a recording of a meeting as an official record?

“There is currently nothing in the Massachusetts Condominium Statute, M.G.L. c. 183A or any other relevant law that requires an association’s board to maintain a recording of a meeting held virtually as an official record. This is in large part due to the fact that virtual meetings are not contemplated by the Statute. Therefore, unless the condominium governing documents mandate that a recording of a virtual meeting be maintained as an association official record, then the answer is no.

“In fact, unless recently drafted or recently amended, most association governing documents will not have a provision allowing for virtual meetings and therefore it is recommended that if a board wants to hold meetings virtually, they should contact the association’s attorney to assist in amending the documents. That is not to say that because the documents may provide for meetings to take place virtually that recordings will need to be maintained. As of now, that is entirely document specific. 

“Keep in mind that currently, M.G.L. c. 183A does not require that meeting minutes be taken, however to the extent they are maintained and an owner requests a copy of them, the board must ensure that a copy is emailed to the owner.  Note, the board should also check to see if the governing documents require that meeting minutes be taken. Of course, meeting minutes and recordings are two entirely different things.” 

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