Co-op and condo boards are navigating uncharted waters during the coronavirus lockdown. Here are tips for dealing with three common challenges:
Annual meetings. “If an annual meeting is going to be put off beyond the date stated in the by-laws, the board should explain that it will be held as soon as the pandemic has reached a point where there is no longer a danger and there is no longer an emergency in the state of New York,” Steve Wagner, a partner in the law firm Wagner, Berkow & Brandt, tells Brick Underground.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an Executive Order on March 20th suspending provisions of the Business Corporation Law to the extent they require meetings of shareholders to be noticed and held at a physical location. As a result, many boards are planning to postpone their annual meeting while others are moving ahead with plans to conduct the meeting via teleconference.
Publicize precautionary measures. “Residents need to be informed that entrance ways are being wiped down with disinfectant; elevator buttons are being similarly cleaned; and staff have gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer, so they can maintain themselves in a healthy condition and not transmit the virus,” Wagner says.
Notification of illness and quarantine. “Boards must be careful to balance an individual’s right to privacy over his or her health information with its duty to keep residents and employees in the building safe,” says Niki Khindri, an associate attorney with the firm. “Boards should refrain from asking individuals outright if they are sick, and they should avoid identifying any individual who comes forward with a Covid-19 diagnosis. However, they should still alert other residents and staff in the building of a diagnosis so that proper measures may be taken. Caution should be taken to limit disclosure of identifying information but still alerting others in the building of the risks of exposure.”
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