How Can I Participate Remotely In My Condo Association Meetings?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many community associations made changes to their meeting rules to permit owners to participate in board meetings remotely, so as to ensure safety for all. In 2021, the Florida legislature codified many of those rules, allowing some remote options to remain an option for associations moving forward. There are many different ways that a unit owner may still make their presence known at a board meeting, even if they are far away.
Several Potential Advantages
The laws passed in 2021 explicitly state that an owner may participate remotely via “telephone, real-time video conferencing, or similar real-time … communication,” and that their participation counts toward a quorum (a minimum number of present members required for a meeting to be considered official). In addition, notice to attend a board meeting may also be served electronically, though other types of notices to unit owners must still be served via mail even if the owner would prefer otherwise.
There are several reasons for a condo board to continue allowing remote participation in board meetings. One of the most often cited is an improved sense of transparency between board and owners – with meetings being more accessible, those who might otherwise struggle to appear may be able to have more of a voice. For example, there are associations that list a higher proportion of disabled owners, or owners that only live in Florida for a handful of months out of the year.
An “Enabling Resolution” Is Required
The most important thing an owner can do when present at a board meeting is vote. It is possible for owners to vote ‘absentee’ when they are not present at the meeting, using a limited proxy form, but this does not count toward a quorum, nor does the owner count as ‘present in person.’ Still, to vote absentee is an owner’s right; in order to “e-vote” or participate remotely in discussion, an ‘enabling resolution’ must be passed by the condo board.
In addition, an owner must be given the opportunity to opt out of electronic voting if a board decides to adopt it. The 2021 laws grant community associations the option to use electronic voting; they do not permit an association to require its use. If an owner declares their intent to opt out of electronic voting, they must be provided with paper ballots if they request them.
Contact A Tampa Community Association Attorney
While many unit owners prefer to attend meetings in person whenever possible, it is generally seen as a positive that remote participation is an option for those in different circumstances. If you are having trouble getting permission for remote participation, or have questions about your rights, calling a Tampa community association attorney from the Seward Law Office may be a good first step to get those questions answered. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.