At times, association board members need to call unscheduled meetings for a specific purpose. Special meetings usually address issues that need immediate attention or that need more time and discussion than can be handled in routine board or annual meetings. For example, a special meeting might be held to make decisions about a crisis, such as handling damage from a flash flood, since those decisions can’t wait for the next scheduled meeting.
There are a couple of things that make special meetings … well, special.
First, members must be notified of the exact purpose of the meeting, and the meeting must be limited specifically to achieving this purpose. This is important because people typically decide whether to attend a special meeting based on the issue and how it’s being addressed. Therefore, actions taken on issues not listed in the notice will be invalid. In fact, no action can be taken at all, if it was not included in the notice. For example, if the stated purpose of a meeting is “to discuss” a problem, the board cannot actually vote on a solution—at least not in this meeting.
Second, association members—not just the board—can call for a special meeting, if they get a minimum number of signatures on a petition that states exactly what issue or problem they want to address. Homeowners give the petition, with its stated purpose, to a board member who schedules the special meeting.
Like annual and board meetings, special meetings are open to all association members who wish to attend, and they require a quorum before any business can be conducted. Also, notifying all association members properly is essential; when and how the notice is delivered, what it says, and other requirements must be met. These communication requirements are generally detailed in the association’s documents.