The Difference Between Closed and Open HOA Meetings and Why it Matters

HOA Meetings can be a tricky thing for Homeowners Association Boards to manage. Members may become dissatisfied if they feel cut out of closed meetings, and addressing some issues in the wrong type of meeting can get you into legal trouble.

When Should You Have an Open Meeting?
Open meetings can be attended by all members, including homeowners association board members, HOA community management experts, and members of the association (or a single representative).

Open meetings are a great way to provide transparency about major HOA decisions, allowing members to put their opinions forward before an issue is formally resolved. Members must be notified at least 48 hours in advance through informative postings or newsletters that include the purpose of the meeting as well as the time, date and location.

Open or regular meetings can be held on a monthly, quarterly or as needed basis to resolve issues of general community business. These may include landscaping reports, new budgets, water usage summaries, and comparisons between current finances and the original budget, among other operational concerns.

When Should You Have a Closed Meeting?
Closed meetings, also known as executive meetings, are the only HOA meetings that are closed to homeowners and association members. Usually the only attendees include the board of directors or appointed members and community managers. The board can also choose to invite attorneys or homeowners who require individual attention.

The board will generally call closed sessions before or after an open meeting, but they’re usually allowed to call them at any time during a meeting as well.

These sessions may involve sensitive issues like receiving legal advice from an attorney, considering litigation, discussing sensitive information about members, employees or contractors, as well as complaints, and discussing member appeals of violations or penalties. Violation appeals can also be held in open sessions if the member requests it.

Issues like annual budgets, contract negotiations, rule changes, financial decisions, property changes, and other topics that affect members should never be discussed in closed meetings. The closed meeting is designed to protect the privacy of HOA members, not to secretly overrule concerned homeowners.

How Your Homeowner Association Management Company Can Help
HOA community management experts are well-versed in the nuances of the open vs. closed meeting, and they can help you decide which one is best for a given situation. HOA community management companies can also help you stay in compliance with the many complex laws governing HOA meetings.

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Bryan Kuester

Bryan Kuester

Bryan is the CEO of Kuester Management Group. He has over 15 years of managing community associations throughout North and South Carolina.

His specialties include Community Association Management - maintenance, budgeting for operational and reserve funding, long-range planning, covenant enforcement, amenity management, onsite management, large scale management.