Condominiums, Like Cooperatives, May Now Conduct Annual Meeting Electronically
During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, cooperatives and condominiums were required to move their annual shareholder and unit owner meetings, including the election of board members, from their traditional in-person format to online. Many buildings found that holding their meetings virtually was more convenient for many owners and increased participation. In 2021, the Business Corporation Law was amended to authorize cooperatives to conduct their annual and special shareholder meetings virtually on a permanent basis. This legislation did not apply to condominiums. It was arguable that similar authorization for condos was at least implied, and many condos continued to conduct their meetings in this fashion, but condo advocates urged that a similar law be passed to cover condos so as to eliminate any uncertainty.
On July 1, 2022, Governor Hochul signed new legislation confirming that condominiums may hold their annual and special unit owner meetings virtually. The new law took effect immediately. Electronic meetings should be conducted on a virtual platform that gives all unit owners the ability to participate. Another option is a “hybrid” meeting, with some owners present in-person at a meeting location while others participate remotely. The decision whether to conduct an annual meeting remotely or in-person is up to the board. If the board wishes to convene the annual meeting in-person, it retains that option.
Two years ago, conducting an annual meeting remotely was a challenging task, especially in larger buildings and in the case of contested elections. Over the past two years, managing agents and election service providers have developed the ability to assist with virtual annual meetings more routinely. Boards seeking information on the procedures for virtual meetings should consult with their legal counsel.