A Guide to Meeting Remotely After COVID-19 State of Emergencies Are Lifted
By Lindsay J. Anderson, Esq.
In 2021, Senate Bill 391 added Civil Code section 5450 which allowed board or membership meetings of California common interest developments (“CIDs”) to be conducted entirely remotely if:
- gathering in person is unsafe or impossible because the CID is in an area affected by a local, state or emergency federal order; and
- the association meets all of the notice and instruction requirements of Civil Code section 5450.
Since it became effective in September, 2021, many CIDs have used Civil Code section 5450 to meet entirely remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late 2022, Governor Newsom announced his intention to rescind the California COVID-19 state of emergency on or about February 28, 2023. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors and San Diego City Council have also announced they plan to end the local emergency and local health emergency declarations for San Diego County and the City of San Diego on February 28, 2023. Other counties and cities in California have announced similar plans to follow suit. On January 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced its intention to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 11, 2023.
So how will these impending changes affect a CID’s ability to meet remotely?
While a local, state or federal emergency order is still in place, CID boards will continue to have authority under Civil Code section 5450 to make their own determinations about whether or not it is unsafe or impossible for their community to gather in person. When the COVID-19 states of emergency are rescinded at the federal, state, and local levels, CIDs may no longer be able to invoke Civil Code section 5450 and hold meetings entirely remotely unless some other state of emergency exists, e.g. wildfire, where the association is located and that state of emergency makes gathering in person unsafe or impossible.
Does this mean associations can no longer meet remotely?
No. Civil Code section 5450 allowed CIDs to meet entirely remotely during a state of emergency. However, even if no state of emergency exists, or an existing state of emergency, e.g. drought, does not make it unsafe or impossible to meet in person, associations will still be able to largely meet remotely under Civil Code section 4090 which provides:
- A teleconference, where a sufficient number of directors to establish quorum of the board, in different locations, are connected by electronic means, through audio or video, or both (including meetings through Zoom or similar videoconferencing software);
- The teleconference is conducted in a manner that protects the rights of members or the association and otherwise complies with the law;
- Notice of the teleconference meeting must identify at least one physical location so that members of the association may attend in person, and at least one director or a person designated by the board shall be present at that location; and
- All directors participating must be able to hear one another, as well as members of the association speaking on matters before the board.
Notably, boards may still meet entirely remotely without a physical location for meetings that will be held solely in executive session.
While it will initially be an adjustment for CIDs to go back to Civil Code section 4090’s remote meeting requirements, some CIDs may opt to do so in order to maintain the increased homeowner participation in meetings many CIDs experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your board of directors should contact your association’s legal counsel for advice if the board has any questions about conducting remote meetings under Civil Code sections 4090 or 5450.