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December 01, 2018

Ask Maria - Write this down

Why it is essential for condo boards to take proper minutes

Maria Bartolotti

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Dear Maria; I am new to my condo board and I’ve been asked to take down notes of our meetings. Why is this important? What should I keep on the notes?

As a Board member, have you ever asked yourself, what should go into the minutes and what should be left out of the minutes? Whether it’s questions on proper wording of motions, recording of votes, insertion of reports, financials or subsequent information, it’s important to understand how to draft proper minutes. How about the privacy of unit owner information and minutes?

Meeting minutes are one of the most important documents for a condominium corporation because they contain vital information about the business of the corporation. As such, the accuracy of those minutes is very important.

I get it, minute taking can be overwhelming, challenging and can carry a big responsibility for the secretary or scribe. But, it’s also a very important task, and keeping a fair and unbiased record of what transpired in these meetings is essential, especially if the board was being challenged in a court of law and the minutes are entered as evidence.

I know for a fact that New Concept Management Inc. is requested by some of our clients to be present at their board meetings to take down the minutes specifically. And as a management company you should always be willing to help in this regard.

The condo board minutes should reflect date and time, location of the meeting, quorum, whose in attendance, adjournment, next meeting date and all actions taken by the board of directors, including motions and votes, but not a summary of the discussion. Don’t include unsubstantiated or subjective information or opinions. It serves no one!

I’ve seen minutes where the board has rambled on and on in length about a resident’s dog pooping on the common property. I mean seriously, is it really necessary to write all the details about Silvio and Dexter pooping on the common property? We get it! Or is it more important to know what action the board in that scenario took. In saying that-I do believe in balance and providing additional information to support the boards decision on a motion, but let’s leave the story telling to authors.

It’s also very crucial for a board to carefully consider the tone in which they choose to draft the minutes. Eventually, those minutes will become public information and if you’re not careful can adversely affect the value of the condo units. So be careful when drafting your minutes. If you’re not sure ask your condo manager.

It’s also important for the condo board to keep minutes of its regular and/or special board of directors meetings, as well as, the annual general meeting of the owners. With technology, this can easily be done via a computer, email folder, cloud based programs or the old fashion way of a minute book, and of course the help of your management company. New Concept Management Inc. will always keep a copy of the minutes on file for the condo corporation.

When it comes to privacy, the Condominium Corporation can collect, use, and disclose personal information of participants in a record of the meeting minutes. Generally, individuals who participate in AGM discussions are considered to have consented to the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information in relation to their participation in the meeting.

For a meeting of the Board of Directors, attendees who provide their names and other personal information as part of a recorded meeting should be provided with notification. Any notes or electronic recordings taken at a meeting should only be kept until the minutes are approved, then destroyed.

These suggestions may not cover everything that is involved in minute taking, but it should give you a sense of what to include and not include in your minutes.

Until next time …

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