There really is a lot to know when it comes to e-mails. Here’s a brief outline:
Can Directors Communicate and Vote By e-mail?
Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail.
Example: Friday night is a board meeting. On the agenda is whether or not to hire Joe’s Landscaping Service. Between now and Monday the Board members can send e-mails to each other suggesting whether or not to hire Joe’s. Even if all decide to hire Joe’s, that vote must still take place Friday night at the properly noticed Board meeting.
Are these e-mails official records of the association, accessible to the unit owners?
E-mails on the personal computers of individual directors are not official records of the condominium association. The property of an individual director does not become the property of the association because of his office on the board. Even if directors communicate among themselves by e-mail strings or chains, about the operation of the association, the status of the electronic communication on their personal computer would not change.
Similarly, an e-mail to an individual director or to all directors as a group, addressed only to their personal computers, is not written communication to the association. This must be so because there is no obligation for a director to turn on the personal computer with any regularity, or to open and read e-mails before deleting them. The conclusion may be different if the association owns a computer on which the management conducts business including e-mails (analogous to government public records); or if e-mails are printed up and passed around for discussion at a board meeting.
Does that Mean A Director’s E-mail can Never Be Seen By Anyone?
Just because the e-mail may not be an ‘official record’ of the association does not mean that nobody can ever get to see it. Trust me, if the association is involved in litigation, and I serve a subpoena on a director for their e-mails which may have relevant information, the court will require production of those e-mails. So board members be warned, before you hit the SEND button think about whether or not you would be comfortable with a judge, jury or opposing counsel reviewing it as well.
Are the E-mail Addresses of the Unit Owner’s an Official Record obtainable by an Owner?
E-mail addresses are not accessible to the unit owners, unless the reason why the association is in possession of that e-mail address is because the unit owner signed a form consenting to receive notices by e-mail.
Have any additional questions? Send me an e-mail.