Because homeowners associations function similar to corporations, they are required to hold regular meetings with relevant stakeholders. These board meetings are critical to ensuring that the HOA is managed properly and remains in compliance. To get the most out of HOA board meetings and optimize everyone’s time, here are a few tips to make the process as effective and efficient as possible.
Create an agenda and stick to it.
Having an outline of key points to be made and topics to be discussed during the meeting can help keep everything on track and ensure that nothing important gets overlooked. Generally speaking, an HOA meeting agenda will include a list of what’s to be covered and by whom. It should also allow adequate time for discussions, questions, motions and votes. Always stick to the agenda and table any non-urgent topics that come up to be discussed in the next meeting.
Take meeting minutes.
Someone should be designated to take notes and document what’s covered in each meeting. These notes, also referred to as minutes, provide an official record that can be reviewed and referred to in the future if need be. HOA meeting minutes typically include a summary of any motions or actions taken by members at each meeting. Minutes from previous meetings may be read and referred to at the opening of each subsequent meeting if desired.
Keep it professional.
Board members may share friendly relationships outside of the HOA, but in meetings, all communication should remain professional. Again, an HOA is like a corporation, so stick to the business at hand. Hold meetings in a formal setting, such as an office conference room. Set a time limit (ideally no longer than 90 minutes) and stick to that time frame. Save any socialization for once the meeting has officially been concluded. This will prevent distractions and keep the meeting on track in respect of everyone’s time.
Maintain maximum transparency.
Successful HOA board meetings require a commitment to full transparency. All board meetings should be announced publicly, well in advance of the scheduled day and time. Meeting minutes should be made accessible to any home owner or shareholder who wishes to review them. Board members should refrain from discussing any association-related business outside of scheduled meetings. This ensures that all interested parties have access and are privy to relevant information about the HOA.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and normalized the concept of virtual meetings. This is something your HOA may also wish to take advantage of. If it’s safer and more convenient for members to connect remotely, be flexible enough to accommodate. And don’t forget to leverage technology to your advantage as well. If an announcement can be made via an online portal vs. having to gather for a formal meeting, doing so will make the busy lives of everyone much easier.