1. Not reading (and following) the rules
Your HOA has specific rules on holding meetings, so make sure to read your governing documents and follow everything to the letter. Some bylaws include as far as posting requirements and notifying members.
In some states, you have to post the agenda on a common space on a specific day before the meeting. State laws may also require HOA meetings to have a homeowner forum, either at the beginning or at the end of the meeting. Many boards miss this, so make sure to check and include one if necessary.
2. Not planning effectively
The number one reason why most HOA meetings fail is that the board did not plan thoroughly. A lot of different dates go into the preparations, and there are strict requirements and time limitations.
Planning should start 6–8 months in advance. Make a checklist from your governing documents and state laws and set up a timeline by planning backwards to ensure you hit the correct date.
It’s going to be much easier if you enlist the help of your HOA management company. They can take care of most of the necessary preparations in holding an HOA meeting.
3. Not consulting with your HOA attorney
Statutes change, so legal requirements for HOA meetings may change from year to year, so always seek legal advice when preparing for one.
If you’re organizing an HOA meeting to hold a board election, it’s best to have your HOA attorney prepare the meeting notice package and run the election. If the board is not familiar with the current statutes, you may make mistakes. The election may be contested, and it can lead to litigation.
In other HOA meetings, when dealing with a difficult homeowner, it’s best not to disclose any information or discuss the matter without seeking counsel first. You can get into trouble by saying things you shouldn’t have.
4. Ignoring the plan on the day
Good preparation is half of a good HOA meeting. You have to execute what you have planned on the day.
Follow your agenda and stick to the allotted time. Oftentimes, the discussion goes off on a tangent, hijacking the meeting.
It’s highly recommended that you use Robert’s Rule of Order. It is a manual of parliamentary procedure that’s used by a diverse range of organizations in governing their meetings, including homeowners associations.
If you’re not familiar with Robert’s Rule of Order, do check out the 12 edition, the latest, which was released in 2020.
5. Not taking minutes of the meeting
There should always be minutes for every HOA meeting that met quorum and took place. Not keeping a record of decisions made during the meeting may violate statutes and your governing documents. Also, typically, a copy of the minutes should be distributed to all homeowners.
Assign a person to take the minutes (usually the secretary) and make sure to check what points and details should be included in the minutes.
Photos by Avel Chuklanov and Amy Hirschi on Unsplash