Virginia common interest community associations will benefit from amendments proposed by Governor Ralph S. Northam and adopted by the General Assembly at the April 22, 2020 veto session. Amendments 28 and 137 to the Budget Bills (House Bills 29 and 30, respectively) overrides requirements in the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and Condominium Act that at least two board members be physically present in the same location in order to convene a meeting properly.
Now, during a Governor-declared state of emergency, boards of common interest community associations may meet virtually without physically assembling, but only if certain requirements concerning notice of meetings, member access to meeting and meeting minutes are met. The amendments to the Budget Bills go into effect when signed by Governor Northam.
In order to convene virtual meetings properly, care must be taken to satisfy requirements concerning notice, member access and meeting minutes. This emergency legislation applies only during a Governor-declared state of emergency – once the state of emergency concludes, boards must comply with physical assembly requirements established in the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and the Condominium Act.
Explanation of the legislation and various client alerts from member law firms can be found on Washington Metropolitan Chapter CAI’s Coronavirus Resources page at https://www.caidc.org/news/coronavirus-alert-how-to-prepare/. Click Virginia Legislative Information for the details.
On behalf of CAI’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee, the effort to obtain relief from the in-person meeting requirements was led by VALAC’s Legislative Liaison, Lucia Anna (Pia) Trigiani at MercerTrigiani, with substantial guidance from VALAC lobbyist, Tripp Perrin. “We received countless calls from our clients concerned about meeting during the on-going coronavirus crisis. In our view, there was nothing to relieve boards from the statutory requirement that members physically assemble,” explained Trigiani. “We understood this was an issue facing all Virginia community associations and believed something had to be done.” VALAC’s Chair, Jerry Wright, added: “It will be a relief to all the association governing boards with whom we work to know that they can continue to conduct business and serve their communities in the face of a pandemic.”
An associate at MercerTrigiani, Tiago Bezerra, drafted the legislation – “I take pride in the legal guidance we provide our clients on a daily basis. But, to have an opportunity to draft legislation benefitting associations throughout the Commonwealth has been a dream of mine since joining the community in 2014.” After exchanging drafts with local legislators and the Governor’s Office, which initially was working on a similar fix for local governments, the final version of the amendment was put into the Budget Bills.
CAI Virginia Legislative Action Committee is a volunteer committee consisting of homeowners and professionals serving community associations. They advocate in Virginia by identifying community associations issues, monitoring pending legislation, and setting legislative priorities. In addition, they build relationships with and educate state legislators, providing invaluable advice when community association issues arise. To learn about the VA LAC, visit their website at www.caionline.org/Advocacy/LAC/VA. To support the LAC with monetary donations, click here.
Links to full legislation can be found below…
Page 36 (Amendment 28), in the following link to HB29:
Page 146, (Amendment 137) in the following link to HB30: