Condominium board meetings 101
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Effective condominium board meetings are an important part of running a successful condo corporation. However, there are a lot of intricacies to running these meetings that a new board member might not know about. Even experienced board members may drop some of the best practices over the years and require a refresher on how to run an effective condominium board meeting.
Types of condominium board meetings
If you're new to your condo board of directors, it's important to know the different types of board meetings that can take place in a year:
Annual general meeting
The annual general meeting, more commonly referred to as the AGM, is held on an annual basis and it must take place within 15 months of the previous one. The AGM allows for owners to come together with the board and discuss major decisions affecting the condo corporation. This is also when the new board is elected. Written notice for the AGM must be given to all owners and mortgagees at least 14 days beforehand.
To hold a successful AGM, you must meet quorum. In other words, you must have a set number of people present at the meeting to conduct business. The specifics of what is required to meet quorum is dependent on your condo’s bylaws.
Special general meeting
Special general meetings are meetings outside of an AGM where owners or the board discuss important issues the condominium corporation is facing. These can be held as needed by the board and owners.
If it’s the condominium board that calls for a special general meeting, written notice must be provided to owners at least 14 days beforehand. If owners are calling for a special general meeting, at least 15% of total unit owners must provide a written request to hold the meeting.
Like the AGM, a special general meeting must meet quorum and those requirements are again dependent on your condo’s bylaws.
To discuss the day-to-day management of the corporation, boards must come together at regularly held board meetings. How often board meetings occur is determined by the condo’s bylaws or the board.
Your bylaws also determine how the meeting is called, with how many days' notice is required. Board meetings are another instance where quorum is required and again you need to look to your bylaws for the specifics.
The importance of meeting minutes
The task of taking minutes at meetings falls to the board secretary. When it comes to meeting minutes, there is a common misconception where the board believes they must be very detailed, and everything said in the meeting needs to be transcribed. This is not the case. The meeting minutes simply need to be a generic overview of the discussions that took place, decisions made, and the outcome of votes. Minutes can also include the date, time, and location of the meeting as well as a list of who was present.
Once drafted and approved, meeting minutes need to be made available to owners, mortgagees and purchasers in certain instances like after an AGM or upon request. Reference your condo bylaws as there may be further guidance regarding meeting minutes within them.
Additional condominium board meetings best practices
Location, location, location
It's important to remember that condominium board meetings are business meetings. While there is certainly a social aspect of joining your condo board, it's important to keep the socialization and board business separate. So, it only makes sense that board meetings should be held in a location that would be considered appropriate for any other kind of business meeting. Not a busy public setting where noise and activities can distract from the task at hand.
Virtual meetings are here to stay
Virtual meetings gained popularity during the pandemic because it was the only option. Since then, their popularity continues because of the sheer convenience. Board members and owners can join from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual meetings are also immensely helpful for your property manager who can also join from home and no longer needs to spend the additional time traveling to your corporation after a full day of work.
The ideal meeting length
It's strongly recommended that condo board meetings last no longer than 90 minutes. Anything longer than that and participants start to lose interest. At FirstService Residential, we recommend keeping meetings to just 60 minutes. It's important to remember these meetings are most often taking place in the evening when some board members have already worked a full day.
If board meetings are held on a regular, monthly basis, it should be easy to keep them to an hour long. If you’re consistently having trouble keeping meetings to 60 minutes you should consider holding board meetings more often.
Stick to the agenda
The meeting agenda is prepared ahead of time by the condo board president and property manager. The topics to be discussed should be included in the meeting notice. This makes sure all board members are prepared ahead of time.
It’s important to stick to the agenda to keep meetings running on time. When discussions go off the rails it can be difficult to get back on track and a meeting can quickly become ineffective. The board president should be prepared to intervene when discussions get off topic or perhaps a bit heated between other board members.
Keep best practices in mind to run effective condominium board meetings
A condo board meeting shouldn't be something board members’ dread. If you keep best practices in mind, have a clear agenda and objectives for each meeting, running effective condo board meetings should become second nature.
For new board members who may not be as well versed in the board meeting process, a training session can go a long way. For more information on the board education sessions we offer our boards, contact us today.