HOA Boards and the Coronavirus

We are seeing the emails already.

"We have a Board Meeting and need to award the contract for the pool, but we shouldn’t be in the same room. How do we do this?"

"We have a Membership meeting scheduled for April but we will have more than 50 people. Do we have to postpone?"

"Our association management company says they are cleaning, but our residents are upset and worried about transmitting the virus in the elevators. What do we do?"

The COVID-19 virus is bringing changes to every aspect of our lives, and HOAs are no exception.

We wanted to offer some insight for the board members, officers, committee members, and community association managers who are working with their communities to stop the spread of the virus.  We recommend you follow the advice of the CDC and listen to our state and local officials about preventing COVID-19 spread. Here are steps we suggest everyone takes until the danger passes: 

You Should Minimize Person-to-Person Contact:  

  • HOA Membership Meetings. Consider postponing Annual or Special Membership Meetings.  Unfortunately, here in North Carolina, we do not yet have the ability to hold membership meetings telephonically, but we do have the ability to utilize "Written Ballot."  Click here to see how a Written Ballot works.  
  • Board/Committee Meetings.  Boards may consider whether face-to-face meetings are necessary, and instead have meetings telephonically, which is allowed in North Carolina.  As always, Board action can be taken via email if (1) all Board members participate AND (2) all members agree.  Essentially, this is unanimous written consent.  If a Board member does not respond, or not all the Board members can agree, but you know you have a majority, you can take the vote and RATIFY the decision at the next meeting.  Technically, the vote is not valid unless unanimous via email, or is ratified by a majority at the next meeting.

Address the Spread of the Virus in Common Spaces:

  • Enhanced Cleaning.  Association cleaning contractors or employees can undertake more extensive cleaning or wiping down of common area surfaces and equipment, elevator surfaces and other areas. Ask that of your contractors now, and be prepared to address the specifics of what you requested when members ask. 
  • Close Facilities.  The Association may even consider temporarily closing certain areas/facilities where germs/viruses are easily spread, such as gyms or pools. 
  • Postpone Events.  If there are events scheduled in the midst of the outbreak, where large numbers of people may gather, the Board could consider postponing.  Such events include Easter Egg hunts, community garage sales, plant swaps, cookouts, or festivals. 
  • Sanitizer.  Install hand sanitizer dispensers or make sanitizing wipes available in the common areas.

 And, As Always, Wash Your Hands Early and Often.

 If you or your members are looking for health care advice, check out the CDC’s website.

--
© 2020 Ward and Smith, P.A. For further information regarding the issues described above, please contact Adam M. Beaudoin.

This article is not intended to give, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. No action should be taken in reliance upon the information contained in this article without obtaining the advice of an attorney.

We are your established legal network with offices in Asheville, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington, NC.

Subscribe to Ward and Smith