During any meeting of your HOA Board of Directors, it’s critical for the HOA Secretary to record the meeting minutes. Essentially, Board meeting minutes provide an official record of the items discussed and actions taken during the meeting. HOA Boards are required to keep minutes for any type of meeting, as doing so can help avoid disputes or inconsistencies down the road.
For example, let’s say one Board member is about to call a new landscaping company to get a bid. Another Board member stops them, noting that the Board decided at the last meeting to keep the current landscaper. The two individuals cannot agree on what happened at the last meeting, but the dispute is easily remedied by reviewing the minutes from that previous meeting.
So what are the best practices for your Board Secretary? And what exactly should the meeting minutes look like? Consider a few tips from Kuester Management Group, a leading provider of HOA management in Huntersville NC, Charlotte NC, Myrtle Beach SC, and HOA Management in Fort Mill SC.
What to Include in Your Meeting Minutes
There are a few standard elements that should be required in any set of minutes from your HOA Board meeting, as well as other special meetings that might come up in the life of your community.
Basic Facts About the Meeting Date and Time
First and foremost, the meeting minutes should indicate the date and time of the meeting, along with the location. The meeting minutes may also note the specific time the President calls the meeting to order. And, the minutes should note the type of meeting (e.g., annual meeting of the entire HOA, scheduled meeting of the Board, etc).
A Record of Meeting Attendance
The meeting minutes should always list both present and absent Board members, along with their position on the Board. If any guests are present at the meeting, they should be listed, as well.
A Rundown of Any Reports Given
Most HOAs have subcommittees, who may provide reports to the Board at routine intervals. For example, an HOA might have a small committee to study an upcoming construction project, or to give updates on community building within the HOA. The meetings should always note committee reports, including who speaks and at what time they speak. The minutes may also include a very brief summary of the reports.
Pretty much every meeting will include a review of the HOA’s finances, including operating fund, cash reserves, etc. Be sure to include these figures in the meeting minutes.
Any Motions, Votes, or Discussions
The meeting minutes should also include an accurate record of any motions made, votes taken, or discussions held. Be sure the minutes note who makes the motions, who seconds the motions, and whether they are approved. The Secretary will also want to jot down which Board members vote for a particular item, and which vote against it.
The meeting minutes should end with a note about the time the meeting was brought to its conclusion.
What Not to Include in Meeting Minutes
There are a few things that typically aren’t included in meeting minutes. These include:
Any Tangents or Irrelevant Discussions
It’s natural for Board members to get off-topic from time to time, taking discussions into subjects unrelated to the meeting agenda. There’s no need for off-topic discussions or casual conversations to be noted in the record of your meeting.
Editorial Comments or Emotions
The Secretary’s job is to furnish an unbiased, objective record of what transpires at the HOA meeting. There’s no need to record emotions or opinions about the proceedings.
The HOA meeting minutes are intended to provide a summary, not a comprehensive transcript. The Secretary should record the basic thrust of any discussions, but not direct quotations.
Minute meetings should never employ bold, italic, or underlined text to draw attention to certain items, or to convey the Secretary’s feelings about them. (Again, the goal here is for something unbiased.)
HOA Meeting Minutes: A Template
One of the best ways to ensure neat, thorough minutes is to work from a template. Here’s one that your HOA might use to get its meeting minutes in order.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is determined by state law, and can vary from one state to the next. Most states require meeting minutes to be prepared and made available within 30 days.
How long after a board meeting should minutes be distributed?
It depends on local HOA laws, but usually the answer is around 30 days at the most.
Who has access to board meeting minutes?
All homeowners within the HOA have a right to review the minutes from any open meeting. The meetings from an executive session, on the other hand, should be kept confidential. (Executive session is invoked to discuss highly sensitive personal or legal matters.)
Should the minutes of a meeting be signed?
It is customary to have the Secretary of the Board sign off on the meeting minutes. Many Boards have each member sign the minutes upon review, noting their approval, though this is not mandatory. Ask your management company about best practices.
Are HOA meeting minutes public record?
For all meetings other than executive sessions, yes, the meeting minutes should be available to anyone who wishes to review them.
Can minutes be changed after approval?
Once the Board votes on a set of minutes and decides to approve them, it is not permitted to go back and revise those minutes. Approval of meeting minutes “finalizes” them.
Should names be mentioned in minutes?
It is standard to include the names of those present, as well as any Board members who are excused. Additionally, names should be used to denote those who gave reports, made motions, and seconded motions.