One of the most basic duties of the HOA Board member is to attend regular meetings. During regular Board meetings, the members of the Board will discuss important business related to the Association, and make key decisions about the community’s life, finances, shared spaces, insurance, vendors, governance, and beyond.
If you’re new to serving on the Board, it’s only normal to have some questions about what these meetings are like. Consider just a few basic points about Board meeting protocol. By keeping these points in mind, you can be well on your way to productive, effective, perhaps even enjoyable Board meetings.
Important Points About Board Meeting Protocol
1) Your association bylaws will stipulate how often to meet.
How often should you hold regular Board meetings? That’s not up to you; it’s something that should be clearly spelled out in the governing documents of your Association. If it isn’t spelled out, you can seek to make a wise, judicious decision based on the size and complexity of the HOA. (You may also wish to consult someone from your management team.)
Note: In addition to stated meetings, you may also have occasional emergency meetings, to discuss time-sensitive business.
2) There are guidelines in place for participation.
Who can participate in Board meetings… and how? A few quick notes:
- To conduct HOA business, you’ll need a quorum. That means you need a certain number of Board members in attendance. The specific number for quorum should be outlined in your bylaws.
- For the annual meeting, at which homeowners are asked to attend, you may be required to send written notice, a certain number of days in advance. Again, check the bylaws for specifics!
- Your bylaws will likely denote that any homeowner may attend or speak at a meeting. However, it is reasonable that homeowners submit their request to speak in advance, simply so that you can include them in the meeting agenda. Also note that you may go into an executive session to discuss confidential matters. Executive session is open only to Board members, and is usually invoked to discuss sensitive legal subjects involving homeowners.
3) You should always have an agenda.
To make certain Board meetings are run as expediently as possible, create an agenda in advance, including all of the business you need to discuss and decisions that need to be made. Whenever possible, stick to that agenda closely.
4) Someone should record meeting minutes.
Your bylaws will almost surely require someone to record the minutes of each meeting, and to read aloud the minutes from the previous meeting. This is so that there is always a record of what goes on at each meeting. Keep in mind that, in most states, homeowners have a legal right to see and review those minutes.
The minutes don’t need to be a complete transcript of the entire meeting. Instead, they should provide a full summary of motions put forward, votes taken, and actions decided upon.
5) Parliamentary procedure is your friend.
At any Board meeting, it’s important to follow parliamentary procedure. This ensures that everyone is following the same rules and methods for conducting Board business. One of the most popular options for parliamentary procedure is Robert’s Rules of Order. Be sure you know which procedures are favored on your Board before you show up for your first meeting.
6) You should aim for formality.
A final consideration as you get ready for your first meeting with the Board: Try to keep things as crisp, formal, and business-oriented as possible. Ideally, your meetings should last no more than an hour to 90 minutes, and the entire session should be spent covering the crucial action items on your agenda. Socializing with your fellow Board members is great, but save that for after business has concluded.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you run an effective HOA meeting?
The best tip is to have a carefully-planned agenda, and to stick to that agenda as closely as possible.
Can board members meet informally?
To conduct any official business, you’ll need to ensure the right procedures are followed, including meeting the threshold for a quorum and recording meeting minutes.
What should be on an HOA agenda?
Any votes, discussion items, or actions that are under consideration. Also be sure to note any homeowners who have asked to speak at the meeting.
How do you hold an Association meeting?
Always hold the annual meeting in accordance with your Association bylaws.
Can board members talk to each other outside of meetings?
Of course, though any official business must be saved for the formal meeting.
Should board meetings be confidential?
No, though you may need to go into an Executive Session to discuss confidential legal matters.
Who sets the agenda for HOA meetings?
Usually, it’s the President who sets the agenda.