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As a board member for your community, running an efficient annual meeting is critical to fostering community in your community. We want to arm you with the strategies and best practices you need to successfully run your community’s annual meeting. 

What is an HOA Board Meeting?

HOA meetings can dictate how effective your community management is. Knowing how to run a meeting for your community -- and run it well -- can make such a huge impact on your HOA decisions. These meetings are where decisions are made and effectively communicated to members of the HOA community. Board meetings work most effectively when they are based on discussions that have already happened, instead of starting from scratch at every session. 

As a board member, you know that it's important to schedule and attend regular meetings with the board but may struggle to articulate why this is important. Meeting on a consistent basis with your HOA board serves several important purposes, helping to keep your community running smoothly and ensuring that decisions are made in a fair and balanced way. 

By the direction of an HOA board of directors, resident volunteers will gather to help oversee their property or community. Most often, HOAs will hold regular monthly and annual meetings that cover a wide range of topics such as financials, property, residential living, and much more. Being that HOAs are governed by the state law in which they are in, HOA meetings can vary in structure or organization. Most importantly, when conducting a meeting, the HOA must follow their association bylaws provided in the CC&R, covenants, conditions, and restrictions. 

What are 5 Types of HOA Meetings?

people holding hoa meetings

To better explain, listed below are 5 types of HOA meetings that are most common within a homeowners association. Being that all HOAs are structured differently, we encourage you to check with your board of directors and CC&R guidelines when it comes to coordinating an HOA meeting. 

1) Standard Meeting  

Most HOAs consider a board meeting to be the most common. During a board meeting, the HOAs board of directors will host an open monthly or quarterly meeting with all community members. Typically, board meetings require less notice of as little as 7 days to at most 30 days prior.  Depending on the given agenda, topics such as HOA business will usually garner the main discussion. Here is where community members have an opportunity to raise questions or suggestions about topics such as property management projects, resolving disputes, or any progress as it relates to maintenance. A member of the board will be responsible for keeping minutes that are available to HOA members.   

2) Annual Meeting 

Annual meetings are held annually by the current board of directors for all community members to have an opportunity to learn more about the organization itself. As an open meeting with all members, the focal point of the meeting is to discuss larger-scale issues. This is where the board of directors will present their annual budget, committee reports, newly elected board members, and any upcoming projects. On average, annual meetings are given 30 days’ notice before the meeting. Minutes are taken by the board of directors and made available to all members. 

3) Executive Session 

Executive sessions are typically conducted behind closed doors by the direction of the board of directors — HOA community members are usually not invited. Topics of discussion include private matters, ongoing litigations, disciplinary actions, or personal issues. Due to the sensitivity of the information, board members may also initiate voting during an executive session. In this case, minutes are not available to members — only discussions that the minutes took place are mentioned during an open board meeting. For example, “an executive session was held last week and the board of directors discussed issues related to legal property damage.”      

4) Committee Meeting   

Most HOAs will have a set of committees that focus on lower-level projects within the needs of the HOA community. Examples include groups such as a welcome or social committee. Created by a subset board of directors, a committee may include one or more non-director members. Typically, each committee is required to conduct periodic meetings as they feel necessary or according to their given HOA guidelines. Most committee meetings are open to all community members and those that may want to become more involved. The structure of a committee meeting is a lot like an open board meeting — members are given anywhere from 7-30 days notice and a lead committee member will be responsible for taking minutes.   

5) Emergency Meeting 

Also known as a special meeting, emergency meetings are held when an HOA board requires an emergency gathering or special session. Only when an immediate decision or action is necessary will an emergency meeting take place. Note, an emergency meeting is considered rare and is typically not given prior notice. Some examples may include flooding, weather damage, or fires. With the authorization of the president or at least two board members, an emergency meeting is usually held in person, via email, or over the phone. When it comes to taking minutes, a record of all minutes should be taken and made available to members. 

Community Board Meeting Protocols & Guidelines

technology in hoa meetings

How to Follow Correct HOA Board Meeting Protocol 


What’s the secret to successful HOA meetings? Is it the venue? Should you spend more time doing meetings? A good venue and enough time to hold the meeting certainly helps. But, the secret to smooth, effective HOA board meetings is following the proper procedures. 

That is, you need to spend time preparing for HOA board meetings. So, you can save time during the meeting itself. Odd how that works, yes? But, when it comes down to it, successful HOA board meetings are not necessarily the ones that go on for hours. Oftentimes, it’s in the shorter HOA board meetings that the decisive votes are cast. 

When you dedicate time to careful board meeting preparation, the benefits can really add up. Your homeowners association board members, who in most cases are volunteers that donate their time to the cause, will certainly appreciate it. By having short, successful HOA board meetings, you’re showing them that you care about their time. 

Being prepared means less time fumbling about finding the information you need. It also gives each member more time to voice out their opinions. That’s how being organized leads to snappier decisions, to the appreciation of everyone who attends. 

Here are some tips on how to run a homeowners association meeting successfully: 

Follow Your Governing Documents 

Perhaps the most important HOA board meeting protocol is to follow your governing documents to the letter. Your bylaws and CC&Rs will tell you how many board meetings you need to hold and how often you need to hold them. Sometimes, state laws will also come into play. Typically, smaller associations don’t need to meet as frequently as larger ones. Boards for small HOAs might get away with only holding meetings on a quarterly basis. In contrast, large HOAs may need to meet on a monthly basis. 

Establish a Quorum 

A quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present at a meeting to conduct association business. It’s an important pre-requisite, the absence of which can render your meeting ineffective and futile. The HOA meeting requirements for a quorum can vary from association to association. Some HOAs need a percentage of the membership, while others require a specific number of members. Make sure to check your governing documents to know your quorum requirements. 

Study Your Agenda, Then Create a System for Organization 

Even if you are not presenting during the meeting, preparation is a normal part of HOA board meeting protocol. A well-organized agenda is a key to having successful HOA board meetings. Having a meeting agenda that’s well put together is right up there with attendance in terms of importance. Without attendance quorum, the group can’t take decisive action. And without an organized agenda, the group wastes time and energy getting to the voting points as well. 

So put together the agenda for the next meeting, and study it. First, make sure it’s complete. The list of items that should go into your agenda should be mentioned in the governing documents for your HOA. Your state laws may have a say on it as well. So, it’s never a bad idea to check them first for any updates that may come up. 

Do you have all the old business to be taken up? How about the new business – preferably listed in order of priority? Committee reports need to be added in as well, and you need to make sure you get every report. It helps to have a review of the action items from the previous meeting as well, just to keep everyone on the same page. 

Then, make sure to cover the important presentations. There’s a report from the treasurer on the financials over the past month or quarter. Any new contracts with vendors? Make sure to go over them as well. Let’s not forget the open forum for homeowners, too. 

Keep It Simple and to the Point 

So now you’ve got an exhaustive list of every issue that can be brought up. You’ve now made sure that you haven’t missed anything. So, now’s the time to prioritize. Keep the agenda brief, and focused on the most urgent items, if possible. A short but relevant list of agenda items will keep the group focused on the important issues. 

It helps to orient your agenda towards the people actually attending the meeting. Is it a board of directors meeting? Then you’ll need to prioritize items that will call for a vote. Check your HOA bylaws if it has a set of guidelines for agenda items. More often than not, some of your agenda items should be handled another time. 

How simple and short should your meeting be? For your typical number of HOA board members, aim for an hour. Larger groups may need a slightly longer running time, so consider ninety (90) minutes for them, with thirty (30) minutes for your executive session. 

Make an Agenda Schedule and Stick to It 

You have studied your agenda items, right? Then you have a good idea of the time budget you need to allocate for each of them. Time management is key to successful HOA board meetings, so don’t hesitate to stick to your guns. If it’s an item with 10 minutes allocated to it, then 10 minutes is what it should get. If you’re involved in the discussion itself, then have someone keep time for you. 

Your HOA guidelines should provide you with options on how to table an agenda item if the group cannot wrap it up. Be familiar with those, and use them judiciously. Just make sure that everyone knows the agenda schedule as well. So, that way, everyone is on the same pace as the meeting proceeds. 

If your agenda includes an open forum for HOA homeowners, make sure to carefully limit their speaking time as well. It’s likely that your HOA members have more things to say than you have time for. So, to make sure that you get the opinions from everyone, have them submit their questions before the forum. It will help your HOA board save time by having answers ready, so they can address these questions in a timely manner. 

Keep Reminding Everyone About HOA Board Meeting Rules 

HOA board meetings are all about organized discussion, and HOA meeting rules establish that. So, remember that not everyone may not be as familiar with them as you are. Take the time to go over the rules every now and then. It will help save you trouble later on. Make sure to neatly wrap up the meeting, too, by providing a short overview of the discussion. So, try to make time after the meeting to review action items, especially the ones you have just voted on. A bit of extra effort now to keep everyone on the same page will save your board from possible disagreements later. 

Remember to Take Minutes 

Most state laws and governing documents require board members to take minutes of the meeting. These HOA board meeting minutes are then made available to all homeowners. Though, minutes of the executive session must remain private. 

When should HOA meeting minutes be distributed? It depends on what your governing documents and state laws have to say about it. In California, for one, board meeting minutes must be available to all members within 30 days of the meeting. Some HOA boards choose to record meetings and then transcribe them later on. Of course, this raises the question, “Is it legal to record an HOA meeting?” Board members can decide to record meetings and prohibit other members from doing so. 

If you intend to record a board meeting, though, make sure everyone knows about it. It’s also a good idea to destroy the recording after transcribing the minutes. This way, you can avoid any potential liability as a result of the recording’s existence. 

What should be included in HOA board minutes? Your meeting minutes should include agenda items, discussions, actions, and motions that were taken. Refrain from including personal comments or opinions. The minutes also don’t need to include discussions verbatim. It’s not a script. 

Understanding Open Board Meetings and Executive Sessions 

Can HOA board members meet in private? Board meetings are typically held in open sessions, with members invited to attend. But, board members can also meet in private sessions, called executive sessions, to discuss confidential topics such as legal issues, personnel issues, and disciplinary items. Such sessions take place either before or after the open session. 

Make Successful HOA Board Meetings A Routine 

Successful meetings can be the norm and not the exception provided you follow proper HOA board meeting protocol. A bit of extra work now in preparing and timing your agenda items will save you a lot of effort later on. More importantly, it will make sure that your HOA board can decisively act on action items as a cohesive team. Now that’s the secret for a successful association. Running board meetings is usually the HOA president’s job, but everyone needs a little help sometimes. If you’re having trouble managing meetings and other tasks, perhaps it is time to hire an HOA management company. In that case, start your search using our helpful online directory. 

Can HOA board members meet in private? Board meetings are typically held in open sessions, with members invited to attend. But, board members can also meet in private sessions, called executive sessions, to discuss confidential topics such as legal issues, personnel issues, and disciplinary items. Such sessions take place either before or after the open session.  

How to Prepare for a Successful Meeting

HOA board meetings — are they time well spent for your members? Being on a homeowners association board means volunteering your time and effort for the improvement of your community. For the most part, it’s an incredibly fulfilling role, but it also involves dealing with differences in opinion and finding time to get everyone together. Learning how to run an HOA meeting could just be the best skill you can pick up as part of a community management team. 

How to Run HOA Board Meetings Successfully 

Successful HOA board meetings need not eat up a lot of your time. Often, the shorter you can make them, the better it is for everyone involved. Smooth and effective HOA board meetings are ones your members will actually start looking forward to once they start to see how much they are getting done in a short period of time.   

Most board members are volunteers who care about having a well-run community, and many of them are even passionate about it. It’s just a fact that each member may have different ideas, and association board meetings are important opportunities for them to give voice to their thoughts.   

It can be difficult at times to maintain short HOA board meetings and come to quick decisions. Keep the following tips in mind on how to run an HOA meeting, and everyone can leave the table with a clear idea of which direction the group is going next. 

1. Have a Well-Organized Agenda 

Two main things are crucial for running successful HOA board meetings. The first is the attendance — association board meetings need everyone to be aware of the decisions that the group makes. The second is having a well-organized agenda for your meeting. This includes old business, new business, committee reports, a review of action items, the treasury report of the previous month’s finances, and an open owner forum. 

What goes into your agenda depends on the requirements set forth in your governing documents and your state laws. That said, keep in mind to include only the necessary items in your meeting agenda. 

Effective HOA meetings need not cover every little issue. In fact, it may be counter-productive to start a meeting with a huge list of items. To keep the group engaged and focused, try to keep the association board meetings centered on just the most urgent item at the time, if possible. 

2. Keep It Concise   

hands holding card sign keep it simple message | successful hoa board meetingsThe purpose of meetings should be appointed actions, on-topic discussion, and motions that move the association’s goals forward. Otherwise, HOA board meetings tend to get sidetracked, and that’s not a thing you want if you still have important matters to discuss.   

It’s really important to set up guidelines for your agenda items. Anything outside of these should be handled at another time. Discussions can end up going in circles, but that’s normal when concerned people are involved. 

In these cases, those running the meeting should know when and how to table it in a way that respects everyone’s opinions so that the meeting may move on. 

Successful HOA board meetings are ones that cater to those present. For meetings among board members, you should also only discuss items that are high-level topics or in need of a vote from those involved. Also, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need committee members to be present at each and every meeting. They should, however, be there for the regular board of directors meetings.   

Just what makes HOA board meetings short and concise? Sixty (60) to ninety (90) minutes is generally a good running time to aim for the majority of your association board meetings. 

3. Assign Times for Agenda Items 

Always have someone monitoring discussion time on items addressed. Each agenda item should have a time budget to them – that’s one of the important things to understand about effective HOA board meetings. It’s easy for something meant to take 10 minutes to turn into an hour-long discussion if someone does not put their foot down. For a typical agenda item, if it goes 10 minutes over, wrap it up and move on. 

It’s a good thing to remember that it’s also all too common for board meetings to turn into social hour. Make sure to designate specific times to start and end your HOA board meetings. That way, you can give everyone time to socialize later or attend to other things as they need to. 

4. Limit Homeowner Speaking Time 

The opinion of homeowners is invaluable for planning future improvements for the community. Of course, it’s great to invite owners to meetings, but you do have to manage their numbers. It’s also best to provide a venue for homeowners to express themselves, but you also don’t want comments from everyone basically taking over the entire meeting. 

Allot time for them a few minutes before or after meetings. Better yet, have them submit questions and comments before the meeting so the board can know what to expect and better address them in a timely manner. 

Keep in mind that not all homeowners will be familiar in detail with the HOA governing rules. It’s always a good idea to remind owners and members about meeting rules and the procedures to follow. This will establish a behavior boundary for everyone in the venue, and this can save you from having to deal with disruptions later on.   

5. Be Clear When Wrapping Up 

Effective HOA board meetings bring everyone on the same page, so it’s always a good idea to spend a few minutes to confirm everyone’s understanding of what was discussed. Before you end each meeting, if time permits, try to review action items and make sure each board member understands their responsibilities and role for each of them. It’s better to confirm from everyone while you’re still together so that there will be fewer disagreements afterward.   

Make Effective HOA Board Meetings a Habit 

Successful HOA meetings get everyone involved, and you can say that they’re the secret for strong, effective associations.  

Connect With Us

Whether it is a question, a problem, or a new business opportunity, you will want to partner with a company like FirstService Residential( that has a proven history of support and knows best practices for your industry. 

Our team has been managing HOAs, condominiums, high-rise buildings and more for years! Our experienced team can help you establish a plan of action when it comes to staying ahead of important property management trends. 

Friday July 15, 2022