A homeowners association (HOA) is a legal entity – often a non-profit corporation – run by a group of volunteer homeowners with common interests in their housing community. The association acts on behalf of homeowners to handle the day-to-day operations required to manage outside and common living spaces in the community through dues collection and hiring contractors to complete work. Typically, a homeowners association is authorized and empowered by the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) document. This document outlines the duties to be handled by the homeowners association, the rules that residents must follow and the permission to collect dues to fund the services. Generally, this document also establishes voting rights for homeowners. To keep the association running properly, the HOA holds regular board meetings and annual member meetings where voting takes place.
What happens at a homeowners association meeting?
The HOA is generally required to meet at least annually, although certain more active associations meet quarterly or even monthly. Various topics arise requiring action by the homeowners association. The focus of HOA meetings can range from budget resolution to voting on new board members to approving a monthly dues increase. Other topics may include a change in service contractors hired to maintain common areas such as walkways, roads, pools, social rooms and playgrounds; development requests; and enforcement of or change in restrictions and community by-laws.
How an effective homeowners association meeting is conducted:
Community members are notified by mail or e-mail that a meeting will take place along with the purpose of the meeting. If a vote will be taken at the meeting, the message will establish the need for a quorum (certain percentage of owners to be present for the vote.)
Meeting attendees should sign in on a sheet.
At the beginning of the meeting, the board president addresses the group with an outline of what is to be accomplished at the meeting. The secretary begins taking meeting notes.
Parliamentary procedure should be used to help manage an orderly discussion and ensure that actions and motions are completed. Have a timekeeper keep the meeting from going over by identifying how much time is allotted for each topic and warning when time is running out.
Invite board members and homeowners to speak but limit their time to three minutes unless it is a special presentation. Presentations should use visual material through hand-outs, a projector or white board to convey the message.
Wrap-up the meeting by going over what was accomplished at the meeting and summarizing issues that came up and will be handled at the next meeting.
Well-run and focused homeowners association meetings are essential to manage the business of the HOA and take care of the communal needs of the neighborhood. A functioning HOA can positively affect the daily lives of property owners and the value of their properties.
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