Attending trustee meetings remotely – Paddocks

“Unprecedented times” – the phrase that keeps showing up on news feeds, social media platforms and in conversations the world over. With our nation, and many others around the world, facing severe restrictions on movement and physical interaction with others, we are being forced to adapt and find new ways of doing things.

While some find doing old things in new ways quite exciting, others (usually the more traditional among us) are not quite so enthused. We were recently forced (due to the nationwide lockdown) to present a workshop for one of our online short courses via the online platform “Zoom”, rather than in person, and I was surprised by the number of students who were so uncomfortable with the idea of attending a workshop online, that they chose to delay completion of their course by four months, just to be able to attend the workshop in person, rather than digitally. This experience made me realise that many trustees may also be uncomfortable with the idea of attending trustee meetings remotely and I thought I would answer some frequently asked questions, to help set those minds at ease and encourage remote attendance during this time.

Q: May we hold trustee meetings without meeting in person?

A: Yes, Prescribed Management Rule 11(5) specifically allows trustees to attend these meetings remotely. Trustees do not have to be in the same room to form a quorum.

Q: What platform should we use to host these meetings?

A: You can use any platform that can be accessed by all trustees, members, registered bondholders, holders of future development rights and the managing agent, which allows those participating in the meeting to communicate with one another. In addition, the platform should enable the chairperson to confirm the identity of the participants with reasonable certainty. Therefore, while it would arguably be preferable to use a platform where the participants can see one another (like Zoom or Skype for example), this is not an absolute requirement and any platform that allows the participants to hear one another clearly (like a conference call) will do.

Q: Should we rather postpone our trustee meetings until after the lockdown period?

A: No. If you have previously drawn a resolution, setting the dates of future meetings, you should abide by the resolution and (at least attempt to) have the scheduled meetings. If you have not prescheduled your trustee meetings, but need to have one, remember to give all trustees the required 7 days written notice (unless of course the meeting is urgent, in which case you could give shorter notice as required). If you are going to try to host the meeting on any particular platform for the first time, try to keep to the 7 day notice period unless absolutely necessary – thereby giving all trustees enough time to download the relevant app and test it out before the meeting.

Should you have any other questions related to remote attendance of meetings or if you are a trustee interested in broadening your knowledge by completing an online short course during this time spent in isolation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 15, Issue 4.

Specialist Community Scheme Attorney (BA (Law) LLB), Ané de Klerk, combines her work experience as a Portfolio Manager with knowledge of conveyancing and community scheme law.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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