Within any homeowners association, there needs to be a qualified, duly elected Board of Directors. The HOA Board of Directors makes most of the key decisions about the community’s governance, its financial affairs, and more. In short, the HOA Board members play a significant role in shaping community life, and in keeping the community association financially solvent.
So what are some of the specific duties held by Board members? And, how is the HOA Board of Directors actually chosen? Let’s take a closer look at some of the major roles and responsibilities that the HOA Board fulfills within your homeowners association.
How are Board Members Elected?
While the specifics may vary slightly from one homeowners association to the next, the general thrust of HOA elections is like this: Each year, there is an annual meeting of the HOA. At this meeting, elections are held to choose new Board members for any vacant positions. New Board members are selected by and from the community’s residents; in other words, only members of the HOA can serve on the Board of Directors, and only HOA members can vote in the election.
Each HOA’s specific governing documents will supply members with detailed information about how elections are held (for example, if the election is held by ballot, by proxy, or both).
Once the association members vote on the new HOA Board members, the HOA Board of Directors will have an internal vote to assign each Board member a position (e.g., to choose the President, Vice President, and so forth). This vote usually takes place at the first Board of Directors meeting following the HOA election.
How Many Members are Needed for the Board of Directors?
The specific number of HOA Board members can vary from one community to the next. Again, you can consult the governing documents for specifics, but the stated number usually falls somewhere between three and seven. In some HOAs, the governing documents may state that there must be no fewer than three and no more than five Board members, or something similar. As you might imagine, the specific number of Board members required will depend largely on the size and scope of the association.
How Long Does Each Board Member Stay in Office?
HOA governing documents will outline specific term limits. It is not uncommon for homeowners associations to elect Board members for two-year terms, but to specify that officers only stay in power for a single year. For example, one person may serve on the Board of Directors for two years, but is only allowed to serve as the Vice President for one year.
Note that, in some homeowners associations, there may be more members of the board than there are officer positions. In these cases, some people will serve in a general, voting role on the Board of Directors, but will not hold an office like Treasurer or Vice President.
Can a Board Member Choose to Resign?
In most HOA communities, a Board member may resign at any time, though it is always preferred that they provide as much advance notice as possible. By the same token, the HOA Board of Directors may vote to remove a member, though it’s always best to ensure there is sound reasoning and that the process is handled in accordance with the governing documents. Remember that association members elect their Board members, and generally won’t want to see their wishes overturned without good reason.
Following the departure of a Board member, the remainder of the HOA Board may select a replacement by simple majority vote.
What are the Primary Roles on the HOA Board?
A Board member may be elected to serve in any of the following positions; and again, on some boards, it is possible that some members will not be placed into officer positions, simply because there are more members than there are officer roles.
HOA Board President
The best Presidents spend the bulk of their time facilitating dialogue between the other members, and also between the Board and the community at large. The President does not make decisions unilaterally, but will usually preside over meetings, maintain order, and ensure that all members are given a chance to speak and to voice their thoughts or concerns. Additionally, the President may work with the community manager to ensure that all Board member responsibilities are well-understood.
The President may also be called upon to sign legal documents or checks on behalf of the community.
The responsibilities of the Vice President, on the other hand, are pretty much just to support the President in whatever ways are needed. The Vice President may also fill in on days when the President is unavailable. Also note that the Board President can assign the VP to a particular task or place them in charge of a specific project on behalf of the HOA community.
Most HOAs will also have a Secretary, who plays a crucial role in maintaining HOA records. The responsibilities of the Secretary may also include sending out notice for upcoming meetings, meticulously recording meeting minutes, and more. Much of the time, the Secretary will work closely with the President to create a meeting agenda, mapping out the basic flow of conversation for each gathering of the Board. Finally, the Secretary may have additional responsibilities for HOA communications, such as sending out newsletters to association members.
The Treasurer’s job is to handle all financial transactions on behalf of the community. These may include both incoming and outgoing transactions. For example, the Treasurer may collect dues and assessments from homeowners. (These payments are put to use maintaining common areas, like swimming pools or tennis courts.) The Treasurer may also be tasked with paying vendors (like lawncare professionals, or the folks who build the tennis courts). The Treasurer also creates financial reports, and will typically be asked to provide a financial update at each meeting. These Board member duties are crucial, as any lapse in financial management can create a rift in the community. In extreme situations, it may even invite legal trouble.
Additional Responsibilities of the HOA
Whether you have an officer-level position or simply serve as a voting member of the HOA, there are several other important duties to be aware of.
- Budgeting and financial planning. Under the guidance of the Treasurer, members of the Board will work together to make decisions about how best to use the HOA’s funds. All Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the association members.
- Rules enforcement. The typical HOA may have rules in place regarding parking, pets, noise, the use of common areas, home renovations, and more. Those who serve on the Board need to know these rules inside and out, and be prepared to enforce them consistently.
- Creating a sense of community. The Board may also play a significant role in ensuring community cohesion, both through regular communication and through planning fun events, like block parties or barbecues.
- Maintaining governance. Those who serve on the Board should also be well-acquainted with the bylaws and governing documents, and ensure that meetings and elections are all held in accordance with stated policy.
Working with a Community Manager
Clearly, there are a number of responsibilities that the folks who serve on the Board must be aware of. It may seem like a daunting undertaking, but remember that many HOAs hire community managers to provide expertise and assistance.
Community managers can assist your association in a number of ways. Some examples include:
- Procuring and overseeing vendors
- Planning and running meetings
- Providing legal guidance as needed
- Providing maintenance services for swimming pools, tennis courts, and other common areas
- Assisting with record-keeping and document upkeep
- Providing basic financial planning and accounting services
Indeed, the ultimate role of the manager is to make life easier for the Board, as well as to ensure that the entire HOA community functions smoothly, fairly, and efficiently.
Choose Kuester Management Group
Are you looking for community association management in Charlotte, NC, or for the best HOA management company in Myrtle Beach? Kuester Management Group has a proven track record working with community and condo associations across the Carolinas. We love getting to know Boards, and making their tenure as smooth as can be. To learn more about the HOA management services we provide, reach out to Kuester Management Group at any time.