Board Meetings might not be the most fun way to spend an evening, but they’re a necessary part of running a homeowners association. Knowing the best tips to making sure your meetings are efficient and legally above board can make the process much less stressful and time-consuming.
#1 – Be Prepared & Informed
Every meeting should have a set agenda and follow a consistent structure. Time set aside for members to speak should be the same with each meeting, whether it be at the beginning, end, or somewhere in the middle. Your meeting doesn’t have to be extremely formal, but you should stick to your process to cut down on unnecessary interruptions and save time and energy.
If your meeting includes discussion on a capital improvement proposal, or new or changing rules or fees, provide handouts for everyone in attendance. Having all of the information and costs associated summed up for members will eliminate excess or repeated questions. All Board Members should read any material being presented, so they are able to appropriately answer questions. Showing an informed and united front increases your residents’ trust in the board’s decisions and diminishes the chances of pushback.
#2 – Document Everything Appropriately
Proper and thorough documentation is crucial to successful HOA board meetings. This helps streamline future discussions and reassure the community that the board is being honest and open. Transparency and communication are key to showing residents the board has their best interests at heart.
Having proof can also help if issues arise later on. Whether due to a misunderstanding or a possible legal situation, having all the bases covered and documented prevents things from getting messy.
#3 – Involve Your Community
Participation by community members helps you understand where they’re coming from and helps foster a sense of transparency. Your meetings should always include an allotted amount of time for residents to bring issues up for discussion. There are several ways you can structure their speaking time—by allowing them to line up, having them “sign up” to speak beforehand, or (in some smaller communities) simply calling on members who indicate they would like to speak. Whichever process you choose, be clear and firm on the amount of time each resident gets to speak.
#4 – Know Your Rights (and Your Residents’ Rights Too)
One important aspect of running effective meetings is to make sure you’re legally compliant at all times. Board members should be knowledgeable in their rights and responsibilities, as well those of their residents . Common questions like whether it’s legal to record HOA meetings, or how to properly establish rules or change bylaws. Everyone on the board should be aware of what the legal processes are for updating HOA rules, raising dues or collecting special assessments, and handling a resident in violation of the bylaws.
#5 – Lean On Your Association Manager
If you work with an HOA management company, you have an association manager who can help you with all the ins and outs of effective board meetings. Use them for support and as an information resource, especially when it comes to legal, financial, or insurance issues. Your manager should be well-versed in what works best and what you can and can’t do.