Association Meetings and Proxies

The recent Fourth Amendment to Governor Northam’s COVID related Executive Order, effective as of April 1, 2021, has updated the limitations for private in-person gatherings.  It states as follows:

All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 50 individuals indoors and 100 individuals outdoors are prohibited. A “gathering” includes, but is not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. The presence in person of more than 50 individuals indoors, or 100 individuals outdoors, performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational instructional setting is not a “gathering.” The presence of more than 50 individuals indoors, or 100 individuals outdoors, in a particular location, such as a park, or retail business is not a “gathering” as long as individuals do not congregate. This restriction does not apply to the gathering of family members, as defined in section I, subsection D, paragraph 2, living in the same residence. (emphasis added in various locations)
Continue Reading YET ANOTHER RULE MODIFICATION FROM GOVERNOR ON IN-PERSON MEETINGS

The recent Third Amendment to Governor Northam’s COVID related Executive Order has updated the limitations for private in-person gatherings.  It states as follows:

All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals indoors and 25 individuals outdoors are prohibited. A “gathering” includes, but is not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. The presence in person of more than 10 individuals indoors, or 25 individuals outdoors, performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational instructional setting is not a “gathering.” The presence of more than 10 individuals indoors, or 25 individuals outdoors, in a particular location, such as a park, or retail business is not a “gathering” as long as individuals do not congregate. This restriction does not apply to the gathering of family members, as defined in section I, subsection D, paragraph 2, living in the same residence. (emphasis added in various locations)
Continue Reading NEW RULE FROM GOVERNOR ON IN-PERSON MEETINGS

Last Spring as part of emergency legislation the General Assembly authorized association boards of directors to meet virtually but did not include member meetings.  This has caused significant delays in elections and other important meetings requiring a membership vote.  I am pleased to report that new amendments, just signed by the Governor, will make life so much easier for all of us involved in community association governance.  The new legislation affects both the Property Owners Association Act and the Condominium Act but does not become effective until July 1, 2021.  In order to make the virtual meeting option available the amendments of several statutes approach the issue by allowing electronic communications unless the governing documents prohibit it.  This approach eliminates the need for document amendments in order to utilize electronic means.  That said, there are explicit requirements for the board to adopt guidelines for use of these more liberal forms of communication and voting to ensure that the rights of owners are protected in the process. Most governing documents do not address the topic of electronic communication and voting – especially ones not written recently.  Here are the important new “rules of the road” on use of technology with regard to meeting notices, assembly and voting – the italicized words are taken from the relevant statutes:
Continue Reading GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAKES VIRTUAL MEMBER MEETINGS LEGAL …. WITH CONDITIONS

As a result of superb effort of CAI’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee and its lobbyist Virginia common interest community associations will benefit from amendments to laws proposed by Governor Ralph S. Northam. These changes, adopted by the General Assembly on April 22, 2020, override requirements in the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and Virginia Condominium Act which require at least two board members be physically present in the same location in order to convene a meeting properly.
Continue Reading NEW RULES FOR BOARD MEETINGS DURING COVID-19 DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY

COVID 19 is raising new questions and concerns for all of our clients, especially community associations. While our office is currently open, we are prepared and equipped to function on a remote basis, so we will continue to be available to answer your questions and respond to your legal needs while fully respecting all important public health protocols.
Continue Reading How to “Stay Legal” with COVID 19

Frequently there are misunderstandings about the right of owners to participate in both meetings of the board of the directors as well as meetings of the members. It is important that all members of an association understand the rules that apply so that they are not disappointed by the limitations that may apply to their participation.   Rules, imposed either by statute or the Bylaws, are needed in order to insure an orderly meeting and efficient consideration of the various agenda items.
Continue Reading Member Participation at Meetings – There are Rules

Sometimes we have the unpleasant responsibility of telling a board that the proxy they have sent out (or worse, used) for a membership meeting was invalid due to lack of compliance with their bylaws and/or Virginia Statutes, or that it simply doesn’t constitute a proxy.   It seems that many people think that a proxy is something that is simple to do and should not require professional assistance.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  There are also a couple of myths about proxies that we need to dispel.
Continue Reading Making sure every proxy (and vote) counts

Recently we received the following question the answer to which could be helpful to many of you.

Q.       Our condominium has a serious need for some renovation work on windows, doors and some balconies. It is going to cost around $3,000 a unit as best we can tell right now. One contractor we consulted said it was not urgent and that we could do it over a period of time. Another contractor indicated that he thought the deterioration would accelerate and we needed to do all the work right away. The Board is divided on which way to go, and right now we only have four Board members, and it is a 50/50 split. Our next election is September and we cannot agree on a new Board member either. We have been at this standoff for four months now, and we need to move ahead with some plans, but we do not seem to be able to do so. Do you have any suggestions?


Continue Reading What to do when your board is deadlocked

For years we have encouraged associations to consider colored paper for voting forms. It makes them easy to spot and provides additional security against claims of stuffing the ballot box. Having survived more than a few challenges, in and out of Court, to claims of invalid Amendments, the single most effective way to defend these cases is to be able to establish how the votes were cast.


Continue Reading The Secret to Secret Ballots

Q:      As a board member of a large condominium association, I am trying to figure out how we can have our upcoming annual meeting if we don’t get a quorum of members present. Our bylaws say we have to have fifty percent of our owners present in person or by proxy to have a quorum for a meeting. That is 90 members. We did not achieve that number last year and could not have the meeting and elect new directors. What can we do to have a successful meeting?


Continue Reading What Can Be Done When a Quorum is Elusive?