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Communicating With HOA/Condo Members In The Age of Coronavirus

Adam Marshall
Adam Marshall

Association Boards are not typically groups that like to
overshare.  They often can take a “need
to know” approach to communicating with association membership.  However in this brave new world we are facing
with Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) sharing what actions the Board is taking, or not
taking, with regard to the virus is going to be of vital importance to
maintaining a well informed and healthy membership.

Typically when associations discuss communication, they are
referring to those notices required to be provided by governing documents or
state statute, such as notices required for annual meetings, collection of
assessments, imposing fines for violations, etc.  However, what about general communications to
the membership regarding community news and updates?  Many associations have websites, Facebook
pages, email-blasts, and/or newsletters. 
During the COVID-19 crisis we are all clamoring for information.  It may be helpful for the Board to begin to
develop some best practices when it comes to keeping their membership updated
as to how they are addressing the crisis.

We recommend keeping the association’s web presence current
and regularly updated.  If your
association doesn’t have a website, they can often be developed at a very low
cost.  Information on the virus is
changing rapidly and therefore Boards are likely changing their approach
quickly as well.  It is important to keep
the association’s web presence current as decisions are made.  For example if the Board decides that they
are going to close
the common area
or some portion thereof, or if the association is going to cancel
or postpone a meeting
, this information should be communicated quickly to
the membership. Keeping the association’s web presence current is likely the
most efficient and effective method for communicating current association
policies and procedures. 

What about signage?  
If the Board has decided to close a portion of the common area, we would
certainly suggest posting appropriate signage in these areas.   This can be particularly important for
places where association members regularly congregate such as a playground,
pool, or community gym.   Newsletters can
also be helpful, although it is unlikely that they can be circulated with
enough frequency to keep up with the fluidity of Board decisions regarding the
virus.  Newsletters serve as a good platform
for highlighting a summary of actions taken to date.  

Social media, such as Facebook may be the quickest way to
communicate policy, however it may not reach every member.  Most social media platforms require you to
“follow” or “like” a page in order to receive information.  Social media communication will be limited to
those members who chose to engage with the association.

Most Board members are not health professionals and are
certainly not giving medical advice, so we would recommend pointing members, in
whatever form of communication the association uses, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
website.  State and Local governments are
also on the front lines in developing COVID-19 response policy and have web
presences that can be referenced and communicated to your members. Lastly, many
of the associations we work with are familiar with North Carolina’s chapter of
the Community
Associations Institute (CAI)
.  They
have compiled several helpful and informative links to assist with handling
this pandemic.

None of this is to say that the Board must keep up with the news cycle or be the primary source of information regarding the virus.   However, as we have been flooded with calls and emails regarding how associations should handle various matters related to the COVID-19 virus, we imagine that Board members have as well.  Taking a proactive approach to communicating with the membership will accomplish a few things. First it will let the membership know that the Board is taking this virus seriously; second, it will give the membership confidence that the Board is looking out for the best interest of the association including the health of its members; and third, it will hopefully address many membership questions prior to those questions being sent to the Board members directly. 


The attorneys at Black Slaughter & Black are available to assist by phone, video-conference or email with any issues related to your community association. Please contact any one of the attorneys in our Charlotte, Greensboro, Triangle or Coastal offices.

Author: Adam Marshall
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from Black, Slaughter, Black.

* These articles and related content on this website are provided without warranty of any kind and in no way constitute or provide legal advice. You are advised to contact an attorney specializing in Association Management for legal advice related to your specific issue and community. Some articles are provided by thrid parties and online services. Display of these articles does in no way endorse the products or services of Community Association Management by the author(s).