HOA Meetings: The Types, The Rules, & How to Prepare for One

HOA Meetings: The Types, The Rules, & How to Prepare for One

All homeowners’ associations (HOAs) must host various meetings for their membership to set goals, resolve issues, review statuses, and more. Essential to successful and effective operations, HOA meetings are important and should be well-planned and executed. Read on to learn about the types of HOA meetings, tips for hosting HOA meetings, and more.

What is an HOA meeting?

An HOA meeting is a gathering of board members and/or community members to conduct business, evaluate projects, voice opinions and concerns, make decisions, and more. HOA meetings are typically mandated by law, but how they’re structured and organized, and their frequency, can vary. Always review your governing documents and state and local laws for information and regulations about HOA meetings. If you have questions or need clarification, consult your community manager.

Types of HOA meetings

There are a few types of HOA meetings, and each has a unique purpose and format. Here are five types of HOA meetings:  

HOA Board Meeting

Held monthly or quarterly, board meetings are the most common type of HOA meeting. All board members must attend, and resident and community manager participation are recommended for engagement and transparency. Residents should be notified of a board meeting and the agenda seven to 30 days in advance. And it’s usually required that minutes be taken and distributed afterward. During HOA board meetings, board members do things like:

  • Resolve disputes.
  • Assess vendor performance.
  • Go over maintenance reports and budgets.
  • Listen and respond to attendee questions.

HOA Annual Meeting

Annual meetings are perhaps the most important HOA event. Typically mandated by law, annual meetings occur once a year, and board members, residents, and management representatives should attend. The purpose of an annual meeting is to discuss large-scale issues and educate residents. Similar to an HOA board meeting, at least a 30-day notice should be given, and minutes taken and distributed. An annual meeting is reserved for the board of directors to:

  • Present the annual budget.
  • Elect new board members.
  • Hear committee reports.
  • Announce upcoming projects.
  • Address issues.
  • Celebrate accomplishments.
  • And more.

HOA Executive Session

Executive sessions are meetings with a select group of people to converse about confidential and private matters. These gatherings may happen before or after a regular HOA board meeting and only board members and involved parties may attend. The following topics may be addressed:  

  • Resident appeals.
  • Personnel problems.
  • Ongoing litigations.
  • Disciplinary actions.
  • Personal issues.

While closed to the public, residents still have a right to know that an executive session took place.

Due to the sensitivity of the information, minutes aren’t available to members, but outcomes and actions can be noted.

HOA Committee Meeting

Many HOAs have committees to assist with small-scale projects. Each committee should have periodic meetings as necessary or according to their HOA guidelines. Most committee meetings are open to all community members. The structure of a committee meeting is a lot like an open board meeting—members are given anywhere from a seven- to 30-day notice, and a lead committee member will be responsible for taking minutes.

HOA Emergency Meeting

Also known as a special meeting, emergency meetings are held when an HOA board needs an emergency gathering or an immediate decision or action is needed. Emergency meetings are rare and prior notice isn’t typically given. With the authorization of the president or at least two board members, an emergency meeting can be held in person, via email, or over the phone. When it comes to taking minutes, a record of all minutes should be taken and made available to members.

Tips for running successful HOA meetings

Follow these tips for running a successful HOA meeting:

1. Plan ahead

Every community has different guidelines and rules for HOA meetings. Thoroughly read your HOA’s governing documents so you know what’s expected. Try to plan your HOA meeting calendar one year in advance so residents can prioritize attendance. Oftentimes, a meeting must have a minimum number of attendees to be considered official and high attendance makes for a more connected and involved community.  

2. Communicate

Residents can’t attend meetings if they don’t know about them. Communicate meeting dates, times, and locations through multiple channels, including your community website, newsletter, email, and other avenues to maximize participation. Many HOAs have strict guidelines about meeting notification timelines and mediums, so refer to your governing documents and ask questions if needed.  

3. Set an agenda

A roadmap to your gathering, an HOA meeting agenda will drive organization and focus. Follow a standardized template, list items that need to be discussed, and set timetables to keep conversations productive. You should distribute the agenda before the meeting, so people know what to anticipate. In addition to the meeting name, date, time, and location, your agenda should contain:

  • Call to order
  • Roll call
  • Open forum
  • Previous meeting minutes approval
  • Officer and committee reports
  • Action items
  • Old business
  • New business
  • Adjourn    

4. Take minutes

Taking minutes at your HOA meetings is usually required by law. HOA meeting minutes are an official record of what happens during an HOA meeting and can be prepared by the board secretary or appointed recorder. Minutes should be error-free, succinct, objective, and consistent and properly distributed and stored. People outside of your community may be able to access minutes, and they can be used in a court of law, so the task should be taken very seriously.

5. Follow parliamentary procedure

Parliamentary procedures are a formal set of rules to facilitate meetings in an orderly and expeditious manner. Robert’s Rule of Order (“Robert’s Rules”), is a common parliamentary procedure that most HOAs will often use when conducting an HOA meeting. Review Robert’s Rules and consider implementing them to optimize your meetings.

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