BY JOHN KIRITSIS, ESQ., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M
Conducting virtual (online) annual meetings for New York City (NYC) condominiums (condos) can provide a flexible and convenient way to engage with residents while considering logistical challenges and legal requirements. Here are some key points to consider when planning virtual annual meetings for NYC condos:
- Legal Considerations:
Review the condo’s governing documents, including the bylaws and declaration, to understand any requirements or limitations related to holding virtual meetings. Some condos may already have provisions that allow for virtual meetings or electronic participation.
- Emergency Orders and Regulations:
Consider any emergency orders or regulations issued by local or state authorities that impact the ability to hold in-person meetings. During emergencies or health crises, there may be allowances for virtual meetings even if not explicitly mentioned in the governing documents.
- Notice and Agenda:
Follow the condo’s usual procedures for providing notice of the annual meeting and distributing the meeting agenda to residents. Ensure that residents are informed about the virtual format and instructions for participating online.
- Technology Platform:
Choose a reliable and user-friendly virtual meeting platform that supports video conferencing, screen sharing, and interactive features. Common platforms include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and others.
- Access and Security:
Implement access controls to ensure that only authorized residents and stakeholders can join the virtual meeting. Use features such as password protection and waiting rooms to manage attendance.
- Quorum Requirements:
Determine the minimum quorum required for the annual meeting to be valid. Some condos may have specific quorum requirements for virtual meetings.
- Participation and Voting:
Clearly communicate how residents can participate in discussions, ask questions, and cast votes during the virtual meeting. Provide instructions for using the platform’s chat, Q&A, and polling features.
- Proxy Voting:
If proxy voting is allowed, ensure that residents understand how to designate a proxy holder to vote on their behalf. Proxy forms and instructions should be provided in advance.
- Recording and Minutes:
Consider recording the virtual meeting for the purpose of preparing accurate meeting minutes. Keep records of attendance, discussions, and voting results.
Ensure that the virtual meeting platform is accessible to residents with disabilities. Provide accommodations as needed to facilitate equal participation.
- Technical Support:
Offer technical support and assistance to residents who may be unfamiliar with the virtual meeting platform. Provide guidelines for troubleshooting common issues.
- Test Run:
Conduct a test run or rehearsal with board members or staff to familiarize everyone with the virtual meeting platform and to address any potential technical glitches.
- Engaging Agenda:
Create an engaging agenda that includes key updates, financial reports, board elections, and resident Q&A sessions to encourage active participation.
Keep residents informed about the virtual meeting through multiple channels, including email, newsletters, building notices, and the condo’s website.
- Consult Legal Professionals:
Consult with legal professionals who specialize in NYC condo law to ensure that the virtual meeting format and procedures align with legal requirements and are consistent with the condo’s governing documents.
Remember that regulations and guidelines can change, so stay updated with local laws and any emergency orders that may impact virtual meetings. By carefully planning and executing virtual annual meetings, NYC condos can promote transparency, engagement, and efficient decision-making among residents and stakeholders.
Citations, References and Potentially Useful Resources for Further Information:
New York State Constitution
Federal Securities Regulation
New York State Martin Act
New York Condominium Act
New York State Security Regulations
New York Business Corporation Law
New York Limited Liability Company Law
New York Uniform Partnership Act
Federal Internal Revenue Code
New York State Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
New York City Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
Winston Churchill Owners, Inc. v. Regents Real Estate Associates
Board of Managers of the Park Regis Condominium v. Park Regis Owners Corp.
Park Sutton Condominium v. 447 E. 57th St. LLC
28 E. 10th Street Corp. v. Veras
Riverside Syndicate, Inc. v. Munroe
Essex House Condominium v. Marks
The Parc Vendome Condominium v. Atkinson
54-56 Meserole Street Owners Corp. v. Rossi
The Beekman Regent Condominium v. Bottiglieri
Chelsea 19th LLC v. West 19th Street Realty LLC
New York Department of Finance
New York City Department of Buildings
New York City Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
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