Q&A: Are Video Meetings Allowed?

Q. With all of today’s technology available, and with video/audio conferencing by Skype or other means more popular today, I’m thinking that more associations would like to hold their meetings via the Internet or telephone conferencing. I’m wondering if there are any parameters for this, or if there are any legal restrictions. Where can I find the guidelines for meetings held by condominium associations?  

                                    —Online Owner

A. “When it comes to board members attending board meeting from abroad electronically, via conference call, Skype or other electronic means, statutes and many condominium documents haven’t caught up with technology,” says attorney Patrick J. Brady, a partner in the Braintree,Massachusetts firm of Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, PC. “Unless conference calls are permitted by law or permitted by the existing governing documents, in order for boards to conduct board meetings electronically and participate in real time requires either amending the governing documents of the condominium — which is preferable and generally requires the vote of the owners — or, at the very least, assuming the governing documents grant the board the power to adopt administrative rules, the board formally adopting an administrative procedural rule.”
“Such an amendment or rule needs to provide that board members who cannot appear in person for a board meeting, whether regular, special, and emergency or executive session, may attend the board meeting electronically by telephone, video conference or other electronic means — but only if the absent board member can hear all other board members and all board members can hear the absent board member.
“In addition, such an amendment or rule should include a provision that attendance in this manner counts as if the board member were physically present at the meeting.
“Twitter and Facebook would not meet this requirement because the conversation is not capable of being heard by everyone.
“As for owners attending a board meeting to which owners have a right to attend with board members attending electronically, in order to conduct such a meeting the equipment being used must be sufficient to allow for all board members participating in the meeting being able to hear one another, as well as all unit owners present at the meeting.”

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