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Subject: Resumption of in person meetings
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HenryS6
(Arizona)

Posts:71


09/26/2021 7:30 AM  
When are your board meetings, budget ratification meetings, and/or annual meetings going back to in person? Are you going to continue offering a Zoom option (hybrid meeting) or are you going to go 100% online? Are you already back to in person meetings?

For our board, I am trying to nudge them back to in person meetings. I have barely met most of the other board members - one I never have seen in person and the remainder I have seen only on rare occasions. I'm ready for us to have our discussions and deliberations in person where we can see each other and talk to each other face to face.

However, COVID is still raging even after all of this time.

Beyond COVID, times have changed in the last two years. I think homeowners will continue to expect that we tap into our meetings with Zoom, so I have been looking into equipment needed for us to run hybrid meetings. It'll take a couple of conference mic/speakers, plus a Zoom account, and a projector. Not sure that the rest of the board will be willing to fund that, they might think that being on 100% Zoom is just fine.

I'm proposing maybe $1000 in equipment and Zoom license fees to develop hybrid meetings. I think allowing homeowners to attend meetings will really increase the transparency of the board, which will make homeowners happy. Few will attend, but at least by having Zoom meetings, it creates the right mental model that our board meetings are open.

I know that some board members will be reluctant to leave their homes because Zoom is just easier, cozier, and they can "multitask" (i.e., not pay attention) easier.

What are you guys doing about in person meetings?

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/26/2021 8:30 AM  
Our recent annual meeting was held in person. My state has pretty much thrown caution to the wind, our covid numbers prove it, and I did not attend the meeting. Vaxxed or not, masked or not, you can still get covid, you can still get seriously ill, and you can still get long covid. People may be done with this disease, but it is not done with us.

I'm a big fan of Zoom meetings, although they do have some issues.

The trouble with in person meetings while you're dealing with something like covid is that these meetings discourage certain groups from attended (eg. older people, those with health problems and physical disabilities, and those who live with them). You could probably make a case for this being a Fair Housing issue, and I'm a bit surprised this hasn't come up before. In person meetings also discourage non-resident owners from attending or serving on the board - people who live in communities with a lot of snowbirds or landlords often complain about how hard it is to get these folks involved and that the community suffers as a result.

Zoom meetings can be open to whoever has the right software, and with proper advance notice everyone can get up to speed. Unless your state absolutely requires in person meetings - and many state legislatures are beginning to see the light on this - I say get the Zoom license.

(Zoom meetings also make it easier for the person in charge to control the meeting by muting those not speaking, limiting the length of time a person can speak, and the like. Businesslike behavior becomes the norm because there are fewer options for bad behavior.)
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/26/2021 8:34 AM  
We started hybrid board meetings a couple of months ago, but all was set up by our Board prez who's an IT whiz. I don't remember the cost. Many owners till prefer to attend via Zoom and maybe that's the best way for you to proceed at this time, Henry.

CA doesn't require that owners ratify the proposed budget. Are you sure AZ requires this step?
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/26/2021 9:39 AM  
California does require that budgets be approved at an Open Meeting.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/26/2021 9:42 AM  
Henry, does AZ require Owners to somehow ratify the upcoming budget? In your open meeting state, the Board, of course, should approve the budget at an open meeting via Zoom or in person.
HenryS6
(Arizona)

Posts:71


09/26/2021 9:54 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/26/2021 9:42 AM
Henry, does AZ require Owners to somehow ratify the upcoming budget? In your open meeting state, the Board, of course, should approve the budget at an open meeting via Zoom or in person.




Kerry,

To be honest, I don't live in Arizona. I don't really want people to look up the laws of the state that I live in, so I put Arizona for privacy reasons, but it's not really Arizona.

In the state that I do reside, we have to have an open meeting open to all homeowners, invited by a mailing sent to all homeowners, to ratify the budget. By ratify, I mean that unless 50% of all homeowners attend the meeting and vote down the budget, the budget is automatically passed. It's never failed in the 9 years that I have been living in my community.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/26/2021 11:48 AM  
So we don't even know if your HOA is in an open meeting state? And some posters even have looked up AZ statutes for you. I promise, no one will guess who you are if you all us your real state. that's the ONLY was to get accurate info!
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:764


09/26/2021 11:56 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/26/2021 11:48 AM
So we don't even know if your HOA is in an open meeting state? And some posters even have looked up AZ statutes for you. I promise, no one will guess who you are if you all us your real state. that's the ONLY was to get accurate info!




Clearly with the statement, "I don't really want people to look up the laws of the state that I live in..." Henry's approach is to plead ignorance if caught in any shenanigans.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/26/2021 11:57 AM  
I believe many misunderstand how Budget Ratification works. I had plenty disagreeing with me until I got our attorney to talk to them. In our SC Covenants:

1. The BOD can raise the Dues as much as they want once a year. What we have to do is on or before 12/01 send out (US Mail) the upcoming Yearly Budget showing the dues increase effective 01/01.

2. Owners can call a Special Meeting prior to 01/01 and if 51% OF ALL OWNERS DISAPPROVE the new budget, the present years budget says in effect with a 5% dues increase. Do reread: 51% OF ALL OWNERS.

For some reason (I actually know why/how) many of our owners and some Members of the BOD misunderstood how it works. They believed the BOD could increase dues by 5% only and if any more, owners had to approve. Wrongo.

Bottom line is our owners do not have to approve any dues increase.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/26/2021 12:47 PM  
My BOD has once again decided against an in person Annual Meeting. The vote was 3 to 1 me being the one. This will be the 2nd year we missed, but we have only had one or two owners ask about it and no one has complained.

We will be drafting a letter to be mailed to each owner explaining that many are still concerned about Covid-19 and for that reason we will not have an Annual Meeting. The letter will also inform people we have a BOD opening as one of our five BOD Members has sold and moved away so anyone interested in being on the BOD is asked to submit their name and the reason(s) they would like to be on the BOD to the BOD and the BOD will select one to be on the BOD. I think this come join us attitude will stop any potential ankle biters.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4221


09/26/2021 2:15 PM  
Our last annual meeting was in February. It was live but there was social distancing, everyone had to wear a mask, and I think someone was going to check temperatures at the door. As I recall, the weather was nasty, so I didn't go. I haven't seen anything on the website indicating it was held. That wouldn't surprise me because getting quorum has been an off and on again saga.

Personally, I think you should let the COVID numbers in your area be your guide. If a fair number of people are vaccinated and/or are willing to wear a mask, try to have it live. I would also make it a hybrid session, so those in high risk groups can attend via Zoom or call in If they don't have internet access.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:275


09/27/2021 5:21 AM  
We will be continue to do zoom Board meetings as we have found them to be beneficial and it has increased the number of people who listen to the meetings. Our Annual Meeting is an in-person affair.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/27/2021 5:53 AM  
I was just thinking about Fair Housing laws in conjunction with in-person meetings.

What happens if you have a house-bound individual who requests a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in meetings? I think the law says you have to provide one, which pretty much means something like Zoom. If the person needed a wheelchair but otherwise could get around, then you could scout around for accessible meeting sites - which may be in short supply depending on where you live and may involve an expense. In this case, online meetings would still probably be an easier option.

And once you've got it set up for that one person, why not roll it out for others who just want the convenience? This could also help with quorum issues.

Sheila brought up bad weather, which is also a thing for us since our annual meeting has to be held during the first quarter of the year per our bylaws. Many things have to be cancelled at the last minute because of snow and ice storms, and without any amenities in our community that could handle the meeting crowd, we always have to drive somewhere (and it's often after dark - we have a few owners with restricted driver licenses who can't drive after dark - they have to catch a ride with someone who is attending, or not go at all).

HenryS6
(Arizona)

Posts:71


09/27/2021 6:11 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/27/2021 5:53 AM
I was just thinking about Fair Housing laws in conjunction with in-person meetings.

What happens if you have a house-bound individual who requests a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in meetings? I think the law says you have to provide one, which pretty much means something like Zoom. If the person needed a wheelchair but otherwise could get around, then you could scout around for accessible meeting sites - which may be in short supply depending on where you live and may involve an expense. In this case, online meetings would still probably be an easier option.

And once you've got it set up for that one person, why not roll it out for others who just want the convenience? This could also help with quorum issues.

Sheila brought up bad weather, which is also a thing for us since our annual meeting has to be held during the first quarter of the year per our bylaws. Many things have to be cancelled at the last minute because of snow and ice storms, and without any amenities in our community that could handle the meeting crowd, we always have to drive somewhere (and it's often after dark - we have a few owners with restricted driver licenses who can't drive after dark - they have to catch a ride with someone who is attending, or not go at all).





Cathy,

I generally agree. I think our homeowners will expect us to provide a Zoom option. I would like to see us going back to in person eventually when it's safe to do so and we can once again get meeting rooms. The hybrid model, where we present on Zoom at the same time as presenting in person and allowing two way audio for the Q&A session, makes a lot of sense to me.

Thus, I think the expenditure of $1000 for AV equipment necessary to enable hybrid meetings is a worthwhile investment for our association.

I don't want to stay 100% Zoom when we no longer need to. As a board, we need to interact in person, not just with a computer screen. We need a brief opportunitity for idle social interaction, to ask about kids, dogs, families, etc. Time is limited, but we need to be able to know each other as in person human beings for us to work effectively as a team.

Thus, the hybrid model makes sense to me.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/27/2021 1:30 PM  
Again, I'm glad for your HOA and you that owners will be able to attend Board meetings. But they are just that--business meetings of the Board. I personally don't think it's good idea at all to have a little social time to talk about kids & dogs. Since not even you, you'e written, have met all other board members, as presider of the meeting, introductions seem useful. If only 2-3 owners are in attendance, you might ask them to introduce themselves as well.

Otherwise, welcome owners. Make it again clear to them that they are present as observers. Let them know upfront if/when there will be an open forum for their questions & comments.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/27/2021 3:20 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/27/2021 5:53 AM
I was just thinking about Fair Housing laws in conjunction with in-person meetings.

What happens if you have a house-bound individual who requests a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in meetings? I think the law says you have to provide one, which pretty much means something like Zoom. If the person needed a wheelchair but otherwise could get around, then you could scout around for accessible meeting sites - which may be in short supply depending on where you live and may involve an expense. In this case, online meetings would still probably be an easier option.

And once you've got it set up for that one person, why not roll it out for others who just want the convenience? This could also help with quorum issues.

Sheila brought up bad weather, which is also a thing for us since our annual meeting has to be held during the first quarter of the year per our bylaws. Many things have to be cancelled at the last minute because of snow and ice storms, and without any amenities in our community that could handle the meeting crowd, we always have to drive somewhere (and it's often after dark - we have a few owners with restricted driver licenses who can't drive after dark - they have to catch a ride with someone who is attending, or not go at all).



I have only one dissent to this theory Cathy, If the person is able to go to the grocery store and doctors appointments with or without assistance. why would they need a special accommodation from the HOA
to need a zoom meeting?
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/27/2021 3:24 PM  
Posted By HenryS6 on 09/27/2021 6:11 AM
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/27/2021 5:53 AM
I was just thinking about Fair Housing laws in conjunction with in-person meetings.

What happens if you have a house-bound individual who requests a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in meetings? I think the law says you have to provide one, which pretty much means something like Zoom. If the person needed a wheelchair but otherwise could get around, then you could scout around for accessible meeting sites - which may be in short supply depending on where you live and may involve an expense. In this case, online meetings would still probably be an easier option.

And once you've got it set up for that one person, why not roll it out for others who just want the convenience? This could also help with quorum issues.

Sheila brought up bad weather, which is also a thing for us since our annual meeting has to be held during the first quarter of the year per our bylaws. Many things have to be cancelled at the last minute because of snow and ice storms, and without any amenities in our community that could handle the meeting crowd, we always have to drive somewhere (and it's often after dark - we have a few owners with restricted driver licenses who can't drive after dark - they have to catch a ride with someone who is attending, or not go at all).





Cathy,

Thus, I think the expenditure of $1000 for AV equipment necessary to enable hybrid meetings is a worthwhile investment for our association.





Shouldn't that $1000 expense be placed on the PMC not the individual HOA? Where is the equipment going to be stored etc. ?
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/27/2021 3:32 PM  
LetA

Exactly, why is that a PMC expense? It's the association's responsibility to determine where their inventory is to be stored.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/27/2021 5:11 PM  
Being an IT geek myself, Zoom for example is relatively free except for any fees paid to host the meetings. I think Kerry should chime in here. Lets say the HOA wants the PM to hold the equipment because the HOA office has the infrastructure and data speed to host the meeting. Kerry, as a PM yourself, would you want to hold onto a multitude of HOA equipment on just one piece that is hosted by the PMC?
For me really Max it comes down to logistics.

MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/27/2021 5:44 PM  
LetA

First, Kerry is not a PM. I pay $240.00 annually for my Zoom account which I share with 15 accounts that I have full service management. The other 35 accounts, which are financial only, have to get their own individual accounts.

The equipment would be/should be owned by the association. I wouldn't purchase the equipment for someone's else use. If the board president is an "IT whiz", it might be their equipment they are lending out. Then you need internet, which in a high rise could be located in a conference/clubhouse and paid for my the HOA. There will be logistics difficulty if hosting a hybrid meeting in someones garage or home, getting access to their internet.

Again, in a case like Kerry's, being they have multiple committees that might meeti virtually, the association should have their own Zoom account that they can control and use when needed.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/27/2021 5:57 PM  
Here is a link to the equipment you may need.

Hybrid meeting setup: What equipment do you really need? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlnAdnFN25U
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:14


09/27/2021 6:09 PM  
Posted By LetA on 09/27/2021 5:11 PM
Being an IT geek myself, Zoom for example is relatively free except for any fees paid to host the meetings. I think Kerry should chime in here. Lets say the HOA wants the PM to hold the equipment because the HOA office has the infrastructure and data speed to host the meeting. Kerry, as a PM yourself, would you want to hold onto a multitude of HOA equipment on just one piece that is hosted by the PMC?
For me really Max it comes down to logistics.





I'm not sure the scenario that you are envisioning, but our HOA consists of single family homes with no clubhouse. The PMC office is about 30 minutes away. They do not store anything for us, and everything that we use we buy for ourselves. The PMC is 100% offsite expect for 6 site visits a year and 6 onsite meeting attendance (if requested) each year.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/28/2021 8:19 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/27/2021 3:20 PM
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/27/2021 5:53 AM
I was just thinking about Fair Housing laws in conjunction with in-person meetings.

What happens if you have a house-bound individual who requests a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in meetings? I think the law says you have to provide one, which pretty much means something like Zoom. If the person needed a wheelchair but otherwise could get around, then you could scout around for accessible meeting sites - which may be in short supply depending on where you live and may involve an expense. In this case, online meetings would still probably be an easier option.

And once you've got it set up for that one person, why not roll it out for others who just want the convenience? This could also help with quorum issues.

Sheila brought up bad weather, which is also a thing for us since our annual meeting has to be held during the first quarter of the year per our bylaws. Many things have to be cancelled at the last minute because of snow and ice storms, and without any amenities in our community that could handle the meeting crowd, we always have to drive somewhere (and it's often after dark - we have a few owners with restricted driver licenses who can't drive after dark - they have to catch a ride with someone who is attending, or not go at all).



I have only one dissent to this theory Cathy, If the person is able to go to the grocery store and doctors appointments with or without assistance. why would they need a special accommodation from the HOA
to need a zoom meeting?



I was assuming that the person goes out only with physical assistance and possibly a bunch of equipment.

I suppose you could make the case that if they can manage life stuff in some fashion, they don't need an accommodation.

But I'm pretty sure our lawyers would come down on the side of making the accommodation since Fair Housing decisions aren't as black-and-white as you're suggesting. A court may say that the HOA is forcing the person to go to extraordinary and difficult lengths to have something that they're entitled to and that this creates an unreasonable hardship - especially since providing online meetings benefits many homeowners and is not an unreasonable thing to ask for.

Fair Housing laws are meant to level the playing field to some extent, so "reasonable" comes into it. We granted an accommodation for someone with a physical disability at our lawyer's recommendation. The person could walk, but not for long distances - so we had to modify the parking rules. It's not "can this person walk, and if so they don't need an accommodation". It's "do the parking rules create an unreasonable hardship for that person, and if so then he/she needs the accommodation".

Anyway, these laws can be so unforgiving that it's best to err on the side of caution, especially in the case of online meetings since they provide a benefit to many others as well. I view them as a no-brainer, and it sounds like hybrid meetings are the best of both worlds.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/28/2021 11:37 AM  
OK Cathy, what if the person requesting an accommodation asks that the HOA pays for their internet connection for said meeting?? How do you think that would come down? Personally, I would tell the person making the request to go pound sand, I dunno if the FHA would agree.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/28/2021 11:41 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/28/2021 11:37 AM
OK Cathy, what if the person requesting an accommodation asks that the HOA pays for their internet connection for said meeting?? How do you think that would come down? Personally, I would tell the person making the request to go pound sand, I dunno if the FHA would agree.



I would ask if they had a phone, case solved and closed. FYI, it's HUD, not FHA.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/28/2021 11:45 AM  
Thank You Max, I have these on hand already, when the price tag of $1000.00 came up, I was thinking of some sort of video editing, mixer or overlay so titling, closed captioning or visual aids can be added during the meeting.

That's another issue here, closed captioning or ASL interpreter for those with hearing impairments, that's going to be another issue. Who should bear the cost of that?
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/28/2021 11:52 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/28/2021 11:45 AM
Thank You Max, I have these on hand already, when the price tag of $1000.00 came up, I was thinking of some sort of video editing, mixer or overlay so titling, closed captioning or visual aids can be added during the meeting.

That's another issue here, closed captioning or ASL interpreter for those with hearing impairments, that's going to be another issue. Who should bear the cost of that?



Zoom has closed captioning capibilities. As far as ASL, this is a private corporation, not the public domain.

Quite frankly, I can't see the average HOA even attempting to do hybrid meetings.
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