Are Your Clients Ready for the COVID-19 Long Haul?
You might make yourself your clients’ MVP by helping them focus on the steps they can be taking now to make sure the long-term work in dealing with COVID-19 isn’t as difficult as the initial steps for many community associations.
For some parts of the United States, it seems that the so-called “first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic never ended. And even those areas that have experienced a summer dropoff face the prediction of a second wave in the fall or winter. If nothing else, the spring surge shed some valuable light on the steps community associations should be taking now to avoid some of the stumbles many took the first time around.
Boards of directors, for example, found themselves stymied when they discovered their governing documents prevented them from timely instituting some of the measures they deemed necessary to appropriately respond to the threat. They’re now trying to preempt such problems in the future.
“We’re getting a ton of requests to draft amendments and rules to help boards implement procedures to comply with the laws regarding governance,” says Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with community associations.
In the early stages, for example, associations often simply postponed their meetings, whether board meetings or annual owner meetings. But, as stay-at-home orders and restrictions on group gatherings dragged on, many shifted to virtual meetings. In some areas, such as Washington state, this was permissible for certain associations only because the local government waived laws requiring in-person meetings.
Where allowed by law, associations should amend their documents to provide for virtual meetings and electronic voting in the future, with or without governmental waivers.
To learn some additional steps you can help your clients take to prepare for a resurgence, read our new article What Next: Dealing with the Lingering COVID-19 Crisis.