RECOMMENDATIONS TO HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS – RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS
Our HOA team wanted to take the opportunity to provide some proactive advice on certain protocols during the current public health emergency. We have received an unprecedented number of calls and emails asking about legal implications of cancelling or postponing meetings or suspension of amenities or community activities. The attorneys in our office have collectively agreed on the following global advice:
First, use your best judgment and keep in mind your fiduciary responsibility to consider all members of the community. We are recommending a move to conference calls or virtual meetings where possible and postponement of annual meetings, budget ratification meetings or other general gatherings for the next 30 days, in line with state and national policy recommendations. From a legal perspective, the current unprecedented situation would justify a decision to postpone meetings, elections, votes on any matter. The decisions to protect the safety and welfare of your membership, and the potential liability to the Association, should be weighed against procedural concerns. Should you have specific questions that would involve critical timing for a vote or other issue, please feel free to reach out to one of our attorneys.
We have also had questions about closing clubhouses, fitness centers or other amenities, cancelling club meetings, social gatherings, Zumba classes in the rec center, etc. Our general advice from a liability standpoint is to take a 30-day pause. Stress to your membership that any cancellation or suspension of activities/services is temporary and in line with the call from state and national leaders to impede the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If you decide to continue operations/activities, it is important from a liability standpoint that you communicate to the membership that each individual should participate at his or her own risk, and the Association is not taking any special measures to disinfect areas after use. You should further communicate that participants are required to follow all of the public safety and health protocols for handwashing and social distancing and not to enter the facilities if someone is symptomatic.
Again, we advise you stress that this situation is temporary, and we are recommending a 30-day pause in the interest of public health and safety. We are all hopeful that this situation will be much improved in the coming weeks and life will return to normal for all of us. Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys if we can answer further questions.