“Gone Fishing” – Operating the HOA during the Summer

Gone FishingBefore triple-digit summer heat is in full swing in Arizona, many of the state’s “snowbird” residents have taken flight to higher latitudes. Whether you live in a place like Arizona, with many seasonal residents, or somewhere with a steadier year-round population, summer vacations and activities might force a creative approach to meeting your obligations as a Board Member or Manager of a community association. The Arizona Non-Profit Corporations Act requires boards of directors to meet at least once each year. Most HOA Bylaws require periodic board meetings; most states have similar requirements, but vacation time doesn’t mean the association’s operations also go on hold. Here are a few things to consider while juggling vacations and your HOA duties.

Suspend Meetings
Some boards decide to forego having any meetings during the summer. If an association does not have a community manager, the Association President or Treasurer might be authorized to approve unbudgeted expenses within a specified spending limit. In larger associations, an executive committee of the officers is authorized to act on behalf of the board during the hiatus. If an expenditure arises that exceeds the authorized limit of these interim decision makers, a special meeting needs to be called or an action without a meeting needs to be organized. My association typically suspends meetings during the month of July when summer schedules tend to be the most full.

Take Action Without a Meeting
The Non-Profit Corporations Act (and most bylaws) authorizes a board to take any action that could be taken at a board meeting to be taken without a meeting. All of the directors need to give their written consent, and the consents need to be included in the minutes filed in the corporate records reflecting the action(s) taken. A Board Member’s consent to the action can be submitted via email, fax, or U.S. Mail.

Include Absentee Board Members in Meetings
Condominium and planned community board meetings can include absentee directors via speaker phone or videophone attendance. A quorum of the board of directors of an association is permitted to meet by conference call if a speakerphone is available in the meeting room that allows board members and owners to hear all parties who are speaking during the meeting.

Conduct Virtual Meetings
The prevalence of virtual meetings accelerated greatly during the first year of the COVID pandemic, and many associations continue to meet in a virtual environment. It might be difficult to convince a Board Member on vacation to join a virtual meeting, but it is still an option. Aside from online meeting platforms, use of web-based software for association operations, such as those provided by eUnify make it easy to collaborate and share information, including board packets, critical for conducting an effective meeting.

Use of Proxies
If you aren’t able to meet quorum for a regular meeting, even in a virtual environment, you might consider the use of proxies. One board member can give his/her voting proxy to another board member if authorized in the Association’s articles of incorporation or bylaws. A board member needs to realize, however, that voting via a proxy at a meeting brings the same responsibility for a decision of the board as when the director is present at the meeting.

Comply with Open Meeting Law
Arizona’s open meeting law for condominiums and planned communities requires at least 48 hours prior notice to members of a board meeting, but notice to members is not required if emergency circumstances require action by the board before notice can be given. This law authorizes an emergency meeting of the board to discuss business or take action that cannot be delayed until the next regularly scheduled board meeting. The minutes of the emergency meeting must state the reason necessitating the emergency meeting and must be read and approved at the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the board of directors.

Enforce against Absentee Owners
Usually a “snowbird” resident will leave someone in charge of maintaining their lot. If the maintenance is neglected under a third party’s watch, most CC&Rs have a “self-help” provision that allows an association’s board to hire a contractor to do any needed cleanup on a lot after proper notice to the owner. Self-help to clean up an untended lot is usually the most economical and expedient enforcement option. Generally, the provision states that any money expended by the association becomes part of the assessment lien and can be collected like an assessment.

As always, we invite you to explore the incredible list of features available in eUnify’s web-based software. Our products have helped countless associations navigate the virtual frontier of HOA management for twenty years! Our customers were not caught flat-footed with restrictions thrust upon the world with the pandemic because we designed our systems from the start with anytime/anywhere access in mind. We are experts in cloud-based systems that can help you work remotely when needed. Regarding any legal questions related to the content above, please be sure to reference your local statutes and ordinances and consult the association’s attorney to make sure you are complying with local rules.

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