Remote Board Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

In response to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders and overall health concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, many community association boards have temporarily refrained from calling board meetings. While compliance with governmental mandates and application of responsible safety measures remain paramount, associations must continue to conduct business, and open board meeting requirements still apply. Remote board meetings provide associations with an opportunity to fulfill all of these obligations.

Illinois law authorizes most community association boards to meet remotely via video conference or conference call technology. Section 18(a)(9)(B) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act states in relevant part as follows:

[B]oard members may participate in and act at any meeting of the board of managers in person, by telephonic means, or by use of any acceptable technological means whereby all persons participating in the meeting can communicate with each other; that participation constitutes attendance and presence in person at the meeting.

Similarly, Section 108.15(c) of the Illinois General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986 states as follows:

Unless specifically prohibited by the articles of incorporation or bylaws, directors or nondirector committee members may participate in and act at any meeting of such board or committee through the use of a conference telephone or other communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can communicate with each other. Participation in such meeting shall constitute attendance and presence in person at the meeting of the person or persons so participating.

Therefore, all Illinois condominium associations and most other Illinois community associations have the authority to conduct remote board meetings using video conferences or conference calls.

First-time use of remote board meetings does require some limited front-end setup efforts and planning of meeting logistics. For instance, an association may wish to arrange for the audio from homeowners to be muted during the business portion of a board meeting and unmuted during any portion of the meeting reserved for homeowner comments. An additional example would be preparing to limit participants during any part of the meeting held in closed session. Also, at board meetings conducted via conference call, board members should plan to identify themselves while making, seconding, and voting upon motions.

Despite the need for some initial groundwork, a transition to holding at least some – not necessarily all – board meetings remotely may prove to be worthwhile on a lasting basis. Inexpensive yet effective conferencing technology is widely available. The potential benefits of remote board meetings can include shorter, more efficient board meetings, increased meeting attendance by homeowners who enjoy the convenience of remote meetings, and a reduced need for some associations and their community management firms to expend resources associated with securing and traveling to and from offsite meeting locations. The increased use of remote board meetings may promote greater interest in board service amongst homeowners, as many potential board members may be unable to regularly attend in-person meetings but may commit to board service if given the opportunity to attend some of an association’s board meetings remotely.

If your association has questions regarding the implementation of remote board meetings, please feel free to contact our office.