Many condominium and homeowners’ associations’ activities are required to have a certain amount of transparency. One way that association activities are made transparent is through statutory provisions requiring most kinds of meetings to be open and noticed to the membership. In fact, applicable laws governing the operation of condominium and homeowners’ associations allow board members to communicate by email but prohibits them from voting on issues by email.
Notably, a gathering of a quorum of board members to conduct association business is considered a board meeting (whether taking place in person or by real-time electronic means) and is required to be noticed and open to association members. However, two important exceptions apply. Namely, meetings of the board or an association committee at which the association’s attorney is participating for the purpose of rendering advice upon proposed or pending litigation are not required to be open to association members. Similarly, board meetings held to discuss personnel matters are also not required to be open to association members.
Association members are entitled to speak at open meetings on “designated items” (HOA) or an item on the agenda in a condominium. However, the rights of members to speak at meetings is subject to any rules adopted by the association governing the frequency, duration, and manner of member statements. The right to attend open meetings includes the right to tape record or videotape them, as long as such recording activity is not disruptive. Furthermore, the Division of Florida Condominiums has adopted rules regarding recording condominium association meetings (found in Fla. Admin. Code Rule 61B-23.002(10)), and the Homeowners’ Association Act provides that homeowners’ associations may adopt their own pertaining to recording homeowners’ association meetings.
As such, there are statutory meeting requirements that must be followed for board meetings which must be kept in mind when an association is adopting or changing its procedures. Failing to follow the basic statutory requirements may result in problems. Questions about board meetings, committee meetings, which have their own set of requirements, and members’ meetings should be directed to legal counsel for guidance.