Every homeowners’ association (HOA) is required to hold critical meetings throughout the year, including board meetings, annual meetings, executive sessions, committee meetings, and more. These gatherings are key to the success of the community, so it’s crucial to ensure they’re productive, well-run, and appropriately attended. To get the most value out of any official gathering, read on to learn what to do—and what not to do—during board meetings.
DO: Follow governing documents.
Every HOA is governed by a distinct set of documents that define its authority. Within these documents, you’ll find pertinent information and protocols about meetings, including the type, structure, frequency, and timing. Because these documents are legally binding, your board must ensure compliance. By not following governing documents and state statutes, you risk invalidating the decisions, votes, and minutes obtained from the meeting.
Don’t: Delay giving notice.
Most residents care about their community and want to attend meetings. But, like you, they have full schedules, so the more notice they receive about an upcoming meeting, the better their chances of putting it on their calendar. If the meeting is an official homeowner meeting, check your bylaws or declaration to comply with legal notice requirements. If it’s an informational meeting, provide a 10- to 14-day notice to allow owners time to arrange to attend.
Do: Create & distribute an agenda.
A well-planned and executed agenda can make or break a meeting. It’s what guides the board in conducting a timely and productive meeting, all while keeping homeowners informed. Create your agenda far in advance and share it with all attendees so they know what to expect. Meeting agendas typically follow this format:
- Meeting Name
- Date, Time, Location
- Homeowner’s Open Forum
- Call to Order
- Roll Call
- Approval of Last Meeting’s Minutes
- Officer Reports
- Action Items
- Committee Reports
- Old Business
- New Business
Don’t: Get off track.
Try to keep meetings under an hour and stick to your agenda to help you avoid going over the allotted time. Getting off-topic or dwelling on a specific subject can not only lead to board member burnout, poor decision-making, and decreased engagement and attendance, but you may also miss the chance to address more important matters for the association.
Do: Come prepared.
Because boards don’t meet often, members must come prepared and ready to make the most of their time together. Before the meeting, all board members should review the agenda, financials, contracts, proposals, and any other key documents. Showing up prepared to intelligently discuss and act on the agenda establishes trust and shows homeowners that you’re ready to make informed decisions for the community.
Don’t: Forget to take minutes.
An essential HOA document, meeting minutes are an official, legally binding record of the actions taken by board members at a board meeting. Because they can be used in court and play a key role in financial business, preparing and maintaining minutes is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While it varies by association, most HOAs must have the following in their minutes:
- Association name and meeting type (monthly, annual, special, etc.)
- Meeting location and date
- Time the meeting was called to order and adjourned
- Present and absent board members and their office positions
- Approval of prior minutes
- Officer and committee member reports
- New business that was discussed and open discussions
- All motions (whether or not they were approved) and actions that were taken
- Names of those who voted for a motion, dissented, and abstained
- All financial transactions (reserve expenses, opening or closing of a bank account, etc.)
How to Run Better Meetings
Our FREE ebook, “A Board Member’s Guide to Running Better Meetings,” was written to help board members like you prepare, plan, and run better board meetings for your community. In the ebook, our community association experts share tips for increasing attendance, creating agendas, working with different personality types, and more.