Board meetings are the backbone of any homeowners association (HOA). At a board meeting, members discuss the current state of the association as well as budgets, proposals for new projects and improvements, and changes to the community’s rules. HOA board meetings offer an opportunity for residents to speak up and advocate for their needs as well. In other words, board meetings are vital to the HOA’s governance.
Many HOAs require a minimum number for attendance to hold a board meeting. Ideally, this encourages everyone in the community to attend a meeting, but there are always residents who cannot be present for various reasons. As a result, the association’s secretary or another designated individual needs to be present to take minutes.
If you’re ever called upon to document an association board meeting, it helps to understand what is involved with taking minutes — this makes it easier to stay organized and record the session with accuracy.
HOA meeting minutes are vital for several reasons. As mentioned above, they provide a record for anyone who can’t attend the HOA’s board meeting. But minutes are also valuable for the following reasons:
Minutes record valuable details about the HOA’s business. This information is useful for project planning, operations, budgeting, and more. For example, if the HOA voted to paint a building a specific color, this information will be recorded in the minutes. In case the project manager forgets this smaller detail, he or she can consult the minutes.
Minutes can also provide a guide for future meetings. For example, if the board members ran out of time to resolve specific business, they’ll see this in the minutes and remember to raise the topic again at the next meeting.
Meeting minutes hold residents accountable by creating an official record. For example, if a resident was issued a verbal warning about a rule violation, including this information in the minutes creates an official document trail that will be useful if the resident continues their behavior.
Minutes also serve as a valuable historical record for future HOA leadership. They show how the HOA has changed over time. Board members and managers can consult minutes from the past to see how the HOA’s governance may have changed over time, thereby learning from mistakes or using past successes to affirm current best practices.
For almost all HOAs, board meetings legally require minute taking. The association’s governing bylaws, as well as state regulations, may require the practice. However, minutes are only required to be taken at official meetings with the minimum member attendance or member proxies. This minimum number is known as a “quorum.”
When there is no quorum, the HOA cannot hold a vote, and the meeting is considered unofficial. HOAs are not allowed to discuss official business in these situations, and therefore minutes do not need to be recorded. Instead, the board secretary should record that there was no quorum and that the meeting has been postponed or canceled.
Now that you understand why they matter, it’s time to learn what to include in HOA minutes. You may even wish to create a template with specific sections for each piece of information to record.
Remember to keep minutes clear and concise. HOA minutes don’t need to be a lengthy essay. In most cases, bullet points will be sufficient. If more extended discussions or debates occur during a meeting, the minutes don’t need to include a detailed play-by-play of who argued for which side, but could, instead, summarize the final decision.
When the board secretary begins taking minutes, he or she should record the following:
As a general rule, try to keep minutes under two pages. Only include details pertinent to the proceedings. Members should be able to quickly scan the minutes to understand what occurred during the meeting.
After the meeting has concluded, email the minutes to board members and store a copy in the HOA’s office. Many HOA managers also post association minutes on their website.
CINC Systems offers custom-built, branded websites with personalized email addresses for each association, enabling effective communication between association boards and their communities. Having access to HOA minutes elevates the homeowner experience by increasing transparency and providing community members with instant access to board decisions.
To try CINC Systems association management software for your association management business, click here for a free demo.