If you live in a community that’s part of a homeowner’s association (HOA), then you probably already know how important it is to have good board members directing the business of the association. What you may not know is how that board gets elected and your role in selecting them. Keep reading to learn more about the HOA election process, why it matters, and some frequently asked questions from HOA residents.
What Are HOA Elections
HOA elections occur when it’s time to elect the board of directors for your association according to your governing documents. Typically, HOA elections are held at an annual meeting, and members of the community association (AKA the homeowners) vote for who they think the new HOA board of directors should be, including the president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Your HOA should provide you a list of people who are running, either in person or in some cases, by mail or online.
Why HOA Elections Matter
These elections are an essential event for any HOA because they designate who will be responsible for carrying out the rules and bylaws of the community, among many other vital roles. An elected board of directors has the legal obligation to fulfill a fiduciary responsibility, which means that they should always be acting in the best interest of the community as a whole. As a member of the HOA, you should carefully consider each vote and place your support behind individuals you think will best serve the association in this capacity.
The HOA Election Process
The process for HOA elections can vary from state to state or even community to community. HOA’s are usually set up as a non-profit corporation. As such, your local and state laws will outline the rules of operation for your HOA, including the specific voting process that it must abide by when electing their board. Likewise, further clarification of this process will be outlined in the governing documents of your community. However, most elections will follow a similar process that includes:
- Establishment of the electoral process in the bylaws and governing documents of the community.
- Announcements and other notifications of an upcoming election and open positions will be given to members of the association.
- The election is organized according to the HOA's rules, which usually include ballots, meetings, etc.
- The election is carried out, votes are tallied, and winners are determined. Usually, these steps are done at the annual meeting but could be done through the mail or electronically and may take a few days or several weeks.
- The election is closed, and new directors and officers take on their new roles.
HOA Elections FAQ
If you have questions about the details of your upcoming HOA election, then you aren’t alone. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our communities.
How do I run for an HOA board?
Have you been wondering if you're cut out for the HOA board? If you’re a reliable team player who wants to help your community succeed, then chances are you already have what you need. Before you officially announce your intention to run for the board, get involved with association meetings. You can even review old meeting notes and request your governing documents to read over. These governing documents are also where you’ll find any formal procedures to get your name added to the ballot for your community's next election. Also, chances are your current board members would love to help in your journey. Become an active member of your HOA board and reach out to them for guidance with your HOA's process.
Do board members have term limits?
Some states, like Florida, have enacted term limits for HOAs. Whether or not your HOA has term limits for board members will depend on local and state laws and the rules outlined in your governing documents.
Does a certain percentage of homeowners need to vote?
While specific changes to your HOA will require input from the majority of HOA residents, typically all that is needed to hold a meeting to vote for board members is a quorum. A quorum is the minimum number of people required to conduct businesses for the HOA. This number varies by community and will be outlined in your governing documents.
Do renters have HOA voting rights?
Only association members have voting rights. Typically, if a proxy can be used in a member's place, it would also need to be a homeowner from the community. The same is usually true for attending HOA meetings. However, there could be exceptions depending on where you live. If you’re currently renting, it’s best to ask your landlord about further details and responsibilities with any applicable HOA rules.
Can an HOA board member be removed?
From time to time, there may be a board member who has neglected their duties or otherwise acted in a way that isn’t in accordance with the community's best interest. Your state laws and governing documents should include options for how to proceed in these instances. Boards often have options to vote off certain officers, and in some cases, a special meeting may be called. In less serious cases, you may also want to simply allow the board member's time to expire and vote in better people at your next election.
What makes a good HOA president?
HOA boards are often looking for involved community members to help out. If you care about your community and its residents, then you probably have what it takes to be a good board member, including the president. Before you throw your hat in the ring, make sure you understand the process. Attend meetings, join community events, and get to know the rules of your HOA. Once you get a better understanding of the basics, you’ll have a better understanding of what it’ll take to become an HOA president and whether or not you’ll be well-suited for the role. Often, it’ll take a time commitment, and it's not always for everyone. If being president isn’t your thing, there may be volunteer opportunities on committees that can help give you a better idea of potential responsibilities.
Need Help With HOA Elections & Governance?
After more than 40 years of community management, we've helped countless communities hold successful elections. Our experienced staff provides unsurpassed customer service and will be there for your community every step of the elections process. Visit our Elections & Governance page today to learn more about how we can help your community achieve its vision.