Condo board meetings 101
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Check out our piece on how to run effective board meetings for additional tips.
Effective condo 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 seasoned board members may drop some of the condo board meeting best practices over the years and require a refresher on how to run an effective meeting.
Types of condo board meetings
If you've recently become a member of 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
In accordance with the Ontario Condominium Act, the annual general meeting, more commonly referred to as the AGM, must be held within six months of the end of each fiscal year. All residents are invited to attend this meeting and its typically where new directors are elected, financial statements and auditor reports are presented and approved, and upcoming repairs or community events are discussed.
The preliminary notice of the meeting must be sent to owners at least 20 days ahead of the notice of meeting and provide the purpose and projected date. The notice of the meeting must be sent at least 15 days before the AGM and include the date, time and place of the meeting along with other important information that relates to the meeting’s agenda.
To successfully hold an AGM, a quorum is required. That means a minimum number of owners must be present either in person or by proxy for corporation business to be conducted. For the AGM a standard quorum is when owners who own at least 25% of the condo units are present.
To manage corporation business, the board of directors must meet regularly to discuss condo matters and make decisions. These meetings are typically held monthly but can be held more often should a board see fit. Condo business can’t be conducted outside of board meetings which is why it's imperative consistent meetings are held.
Unless a condo corporation’s bylaws state otherwise, notice for board meetings must be sent to all directors containing the time, place and topics of the meeting at least 10 days beforehand. Like AGMs, to properly conduct business, a quorum must be reached. For board meetings, that means a majority of the total number of positions on the board are in attendance.
Through the Condominium Act, the owners of a condo corporation can request that the board call a meeting to discuss or vote on a particular topic. Called an owner-requisition meeting, these are open to all owners within the corporation. Typically, these meetings are called to discuss the removal and replacement of a director before the expiry of their term, to vote on a proposed rule or to examine an emerging issue within the corporation.
The importance of meeting minutes
The board secretary is tasked with scribing all meetings and acting as custodian of all official records. There is a common misconception regarding meeting minutes where the board believes they have to 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 at the meeting 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 are considered condo records that unit owners, mortgagees and purchasers can access. Condo corporations are required to keep minutes about confidential matters, however that portion of the minutes is prohibited from being shared with owners. This means that corporations must withhold or redact confidential portions of the minutes before sharing them within the community.
How meeting minutes are shared with the community depends on the corporation and you should confirm with your property management company if they have specific protocols. Typically meeting minutes are shared on the community’s web portal, but they can also be sent to residents via e-blast.
Additional condo board meetings best practices
Location, location, location
It's important to remember, condo 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. 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. Because of this, temporary legislation framework was put in place to allow for virtual meetings. Since then, their popularity continues due to the sheer convenience. To continue to accommodate for virtual meetings, the temporary measures have been put in place permanently as of October 1, 2023.
The amendments to the Condominium Act allow board to hold virtual or hybrid meetings, conducting voting virtually or in hybrid form, and allows facilitating the sending of notices by email without an owner’s agreement/consent (as long as the corporation has the owner’s email address).
When it comes to voting virtually, it’s important to keep in mind that properly administrating proxies need to take place. Proxies need to be delivered well ahead of the meeting, so setting a specifying a proxy submission deadline in the meeting notice is essential.
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.
Stick to the agenda
The meeting agenda is prepared ahead of time by the condo board president and property manager. As the topics to be discussed are included in the meeting notice, no board member should be caught off guard or not prepared to discuss the matters set for the meeting.
To keep meetings running on time, it's important to stick to the agenda and not let discussions go off the rails. 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 condo 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.