Fayetteville, GA asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Georgia

Q: Even though our HOA bylaws have an Open Meeting Section, can the board have meetings without being open?

Bylaw: Section 9. Open Meetings. All meetings of the Board shall be open to all Members, but Members other than the Directors may not participate in any discussion or deliberation unless expressly so authorized by the Board.

Some board members want to have meetings without homeowners and call the meeting 'Planning' or 'workshop.' Is this an attempt to bypass the Open Meeting requirement? Is this allowable under Georgia law? We understand that Executive Session is used to keep sensitive topics as private and homeowners are not invited to this session. Thank you.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Randy Bryan Ligh
Randy Bryan Ligh

A: If this is an issue with the property owners of your subdivision, then I recommend that you (and some of the property owners) consult with an attorney to obtain a legal opinion on this. The attorney providing the opinion will hopefully charge a legal fee in allows the interested property owners to split the costs. Alternatively, if you the Board or HOA has an attorney, then perhaps someone on the Board will make the same request. It seems to me that what needs to be done here is that one has to look at Georgia's definiation and application of "open meetings" and what consists of an open meeting. For example, if no formal board action is taken (and/or intended to be taken) at a "planning" or "workshop" meeting, then this might not be a "meeting of the board" which would require the following of Section 9 of the bylaws. Each state's laws as to this are similar but most likely have distinctions which is why you need an attorney in your state to assist you. Good luck.

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