There is often some confusion about what the law requires from Associations when it comes to meetings of the Members of the Association (opposed to open Board meetings or executive session meetings). Below are some tips and answers to common questions when it comes to managing Member Meetings.
What does the law say about how frequently the Members must meet?
Arizona statute requires a meeting of the members to be held at least once each year. (A.R.S. 33-1804 (for planned communities) and A.R.S. 33-1248 (for condominiums)). The law also requires all meetings (including special meetings, Member meetings, and Board meetings) to be held in Arizona.
Does an association have to send notice to the Members?
Notice of member meetings must be mailed to the Members at least ten days before the meeting (but no more than 50 days before the meeting), and should state the date, time and place of the meeting and the purpose for which the meeting is called.
Note that this is different from regular open Board meetings, which only require forty-eight hours advance notice to the Members, which can be by newsletter, posting, or “any other reasonable means as determined by the Board.” (A.R.S. 33-1804 (for planned communities) and A.R.S. 33-1248 (for condominiums)).,/p>
Can tenants attend the Member Meetings?
The general answer to this question is no. More specifically, Arizona law says that Member Meetings should be open to “all members of the Association or any person designated by a member in writing as the member’s representative.” (A.R.S. 33-1804 (for planned communities) and A.R.S. 33-1248 (for condominiums)). This means that generally, in order to attend the meeting, you have to be an Owner/Member of the Association. An easy way to manage this is to see who is on the deed for each Lot in the community. Those are the people who are entitled to attend Member Meetings – not tenants, spouses, etc.
Note also that if a Member designates a third-party in writing to act as his or her representative for the meeting, that designated person should also be allowed to attend the meeting (which could include a tenant, spouse, or attorney). The way the statute is worded, it states that the member OR a designated representative may attend the meeting – not both. So, if a Member designates a representative, the Member should not be allowed to attend as well. The law also states that if a representative is designated in writing, he or she is entitled to not only attend but may speak at appropriate times during the meeting.
Whether a particular meeting attendee is an Owner/Member can be challenging to identify practical, especially if your community is larger and not everyone knows everyone. One practical consideration to help determine whether an attendee is a Member is during the check-in or sign in a portion of the meeting. Some associations even require a photo ID to determine the identity of the person in attendance. It is a good idea to give notice if an association will be requiring ID for the meeting on the written notice for the meeting.
Can the Board place restrictions on Member Meeting conduct?
Yes, state law allows the Board to place reasonable time restrictions on anyone speaking during the meeting but must allow members (or their representatives) to speak once after the Board has discussed a specific agenda item but before the Board takes formal action. The Board should allow for a “reasonable number” of people to speak on each side of an issue. The Board can also remind people in attendance to adhere to common-sense principals, such as no interrupting when another person is talking, and be respectful when speaking.
Can Members record or videotape the Meetings?
In short, the answer to this is yes (as long as the meeting is an open meeting). The only scenario where the Board can prohibit a Member from recording or taping the meeting is if the Board tapes or records the meeting AND makes the unedited recordings or tapes available to members. Note that the recordings or tapes must be unedited and made available without restrictions on its use as potential evidence in any dispute resolution process. Members are not entitled to record or tape closed or executive sessions of the Board.
If the Association is not recording or taping the meeting, it must allow members to do so. An association cannot require advance notice of the taping or records, but it may adopt other reasonable rules to govern the recording or taping of open portions of meetings.
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