HOA 101: Understanding the Role of the Board Secretary

A homeowners' association (HOA) must have a board of directors authorized to act on a community's behalf, create and enforce guidelines, and maintain shared spaces. Generally, the board has four officer positions: president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Each officer has specific duties and responsibilities related to the operation of the association. Read on to learn more about the role of the HOA secretary.

What does the HOA secretary do?

While specific tasks vary by governing documents and community, the following are some of the most common duties of an HOA secretary.

1. Record Management & Maintenance

Secretaries are the custodians for most of the association's official documents, including minutes, voting records, and membership lists. He or she must securely store, maintain, and organize all records and ensure they're accessible to the appropriate members and authorized representatives. 

2. Agenda Development

Often, secretaries will work closely with the board president to develop the meeting agenda. Agendas should be created and distributed well in advance of the meeting and are essential to keeping the board on track and productive.

3. Meeting Correspondence

The secretary should provide adequate notice of meetings in compliance with governing documents and state requirements. Typically, the secretary will present Proof of Notice to confirm members received proper notification and information, including meeting purpose, date, time, and place.

4. Meeting Minutes

Taking meeting minutes is an essential duty of the secretary. HOA meeting minutes are an official record of the actions taken by board members at a board meeting. Meeting minutes should be brief, objective, and reflect the actions taken at a meeting—not a complete transcript of what was said and opinions that got expressed. If the board secretary isn’t taking minutes, he or she must appoint a recorder or assistant secretary to do so. 

5. Document Validation

The secretary may also serve as the witness when official documents need signatures, or validate association documents when necessary. For example, after approval, the secretary must sign the meeting minutes to make them official.

6. Form Filing

Because HOAs are corporations, specific forms must get filed with state agencies. Secretaries may be responsible for ensuring annual filings and other required paperwork meet all legal requirements set forth by the state.

Why is the HOA secretary important?

The HOA secretary is responsible for keeping the official records of the board and association. But it’s much more than just clerical work. Community records are extremely valuable, and the person in charge of them holds critical information in their hands. If your association doesn’t have the right secretary on board, it can lead to legal problems, financial risks, confusion, and more.

What makes a good board secretary?

The role of an HOA secretary shouldn’t get taken lightly, and finding the correct person for the job can be tough. To ensure the success of your board—and community—you should look for someone who obtains the following qualities to serve as the secretary:

  • Well-organized
  • Responsible
  • Detailed
  • Timely
  • Communicative

Understanding Other Board Roles

Each officer plays a vital role in the operation of the association, and understanding each key player is essential to the success of the community. To learn more about the HOA board president, read our previous post, “HOA 101: Understanding the Role of the Board President.”  

 

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