Although the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the ability of condo associations and their boards to hold their usual in-person meetings, the pandemic does not allow boards to ignore meeting and notice requirements under the Illinois Condominium Property Act (“ILCPA”) and the association’s declaration and bylaws. Below are some tips to keep in mind as associations proceed with meetings in 2021:
- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic situation, boards must still hold open board meetings to conduct association business (a minimum of four  per the ILCPA).
- All board meetings (including, without limitation, virtual or telephone conference call meetings) must be open to all unit owners, subject to the closed meeting exceptions enumerated in the ILCPA (for a reminder of when a board can meet in closed or “executive” session, use the ComplianceHOA tool).
- Notice of any virtual or telephonic, or similar board meeting must comply with board meeting notice requirements set forth in the ILCPA and the association’s declaration and bylaws. Such notice must include the necessary access information (e.g., call-in number, Zoom meeting ID and passcode, etc.) to permit unit owners to join, observe/listen to, and record such virtual or telephonic board meetings.
- Pursuant to the Palm II case, boards are not permitted to hold “workshop meetings” unless it involves one (1) of the exceptions detailed in the ILCPA (again, for a reminder of when a board can meet in closed or “executive” session, use the ComplianceHOA tool). If a “workshop meeting” involves a quorum of board members discussing association business that is not an “exception” topic, such meeting is deemed a board meeting under Illinois law and must comply with all notice and open meeting requirements. Otherwise, such a “workshop meeting” is not a proper board meeting and any business conducted at that meeting is subject to challenge.
- Email may be used for communicating with and sending notices to unit owners only if the board has adopted appropriate rules and obtained written authorization from unit owners.
- Email discussions between board members are still limited by the ILCPA (use the ComplianceHOA “Email Advisor” tool link to confirm how board members may use email). Unit owners do not have a right to participate in virtual or telephonic, or similar board meetings for condominium associations (homeowner associations governed by the Common Interest Community Association Act, however, must allot time for an “open forum” during each meeting). Provided that unit owners can hear/observe and record all that takes place during the meeting, the unit owners may be muted to prevent disruption of the board meeting for any time not deemed an “open forum” for owners.