Tip – Dealing with Motions that aren’t on the HOA Meeting Agenda

Imagine the following scenario: You’re having your annual meeting of all the owners in your HOA, and there’s not really very much on the agenda. It’s such a low-key, low-activity meeting, in fact, that many homeowners decide simply not to attend the meeting at all. Then, once the meeting is underway, one owner proposes a new motion—one that, if passed, would have wide-ranging effects on everyone who lives in the community.

On the one hand, there are some obvious problems with this scenario. The motion may affect everyone, but what about the members who aren’t there to voice their opinions or to cast their vote? You might say that it’s their own fault for not attending a meeting, but that’s a bit unfair. The fact of the matter is, homeowners should know—in advance—whether there’s going to be a discussion that might impact their lives, so that they can make the appropriate plans to attend and to cast their ballot.

Then again, the person who proposes the motion might become angry or upset if you refuse to discuss the matter at all—that is, if you have an inconsistent policy about which motions you do and do not accept during an annual meeting.

The best approach, then, is to make it a matter of policy: No new motions are addressed at your meetings unless they are submitted in writing in advance of the meeting, and added to the agenda. Make sure you provide a specific deadline, as well: All proposed amendments or policy changes must be submitted to the board by this date.

This doesn’t necessarily mean members can’t voice their opinions or speak their minds at the meeting. It just means that actual motions and votes need to be tabled until proper notice can be given. Ultimately, this is simply the best policy for ensuring consistency and fairness.

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