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Serving on your homeowner association’s (HOA) or condo owner association’s (COA) board comes with its own set of challenges, but holding open meetings doesn't have to be one of them. With a bit of planning and setting some ground rules, you can ensure your meetings are efficient, ethical, and (dare we say) enjoyable. 

We’ve talked about how to have a better board meeting (executive session) in our article, From Board Conflict to Board Alignment: 4 Tips for Texas HOAs, but how can we have better open meetings that involve homeowners?  

Since Texas law requires regular and special board meetings to be open to owners, let’s explore a few guidelines on how to have a structured, productive meeting that builds trust between board members and residents.

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Handle open meetings with ease: 3 tips

1. Designate open forum time on the meeting agenda. 

To keep the meeting organized and orderly, designate a specific time slot on the agenda for residents to provide feedback or ask questions. This might include setting time limits for each speaker (1 to 2 minutes per), asking for advance submission of topics for discussion, and ensuring a moderator is present to facilitate the conversation.  

Your agenda may look something like this: 

  • Call to order / roll call 

  • Approval of agenda 

  • Approval of meeting minutes  

  • Reports 

  • Review old/unfinished business 

  • Review new business 

  • Recess to Open Forum – 15 min. 

  • Reconvene Meeting 

  • Announcements 

  • Adjourn (some boards hold an executive/closed session right after this) 

Send homeowners notice of the open forum well before the meeting (at least 72 hours) so they have time to prepare their feedback or questions. 

By implementing these measures, the board can keep the meeting structured and prevent any conversations from going off track, enabling a focused approach to addressing resident concerns. This also helps efficiently manage time, ensuring that all relevant points are covered without the meeting running overtime. 

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2. Record meeting minutes. 

Typically done by your board’s secretary, recording meeting minutes is required for any HOA and COA. We’re all human, we all remember things differently, and sometimes, this can cause confusion or disagreements. In such cases, the record of the meeting minutes is the fastest way to solve post-meeting disputes. It’s an impartial, detailed account of everything that was said and done at every meeting – a reliable reference. 

For each board meeting, your secretary’s minutes usually include: 

  • The basics (time, date, location, purpose, HOA’s legal name) 

  • Attendees (board members present/absent, property managers, owners/residents) 

  • Time stamps (start time/end time) 

  • Discussions and reports (note: this isn’t a transcript – should be concise) 

  • Motions and votes 

Your board’s secretary should finalize and distribute your meeting minutes to all members within thirty (30) days of the meeting. 

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3. Stick to the meeting protocol established in the beginning. 

Be proactive and set ground rules for the meeting. Put the rules in writing, distribute to attendees, and review them at the beginning.  

A parliamentary approach to meeting protocol is a great way to keep the discussion organized and focused. Robert’s Rules of Order can be used as a trusted guide and are often used by HOAs, COAs, and a variety of other businesses that hold regular meetings.  

Any time voting or feedback is involved, you need to handle it smoothly and fairly. This is where Robert’s Rules of Order come in.  

Robert’s Rules of Order basic guidelines 

  • Members must wait until recognized by a board member to speak. 

  • Only one member at a time can have the floor to make a motion. 

  • Only one motion should be discussed at a time.  

  • A fellow member can second the motion. 

  • Members debate (every member has the right to participate in the discussion) 

  • Members have the right to know what’s being discussed before voting, so some may need motions repeated.  

  • The board always remains impartial. 

  • For each motion, the board member counts the “yea” and “nay” votes. 

  • Majority rules; silence gives consent – those who vote will make the decisions. 

  • Voting results for each motion must be announced by the presiding officer and included in the meeting minutes. 

Check your association’s bylaws for quorum requirements. Some boards also invite their association’s attorney to monitor meetings as well. 

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What are the benefits of holding open meetings for residents? 

While it’s not mandatory for residents to attend open meetings, it should still be encouraged, and notice should be sent to them in advance.  

Open meetings are beneficial for your whole community because: 

  • They’re a place where homeowners can share their feedback directly with the board members themselves in a positive, respectful, organized setting.  

  • They promote transparency. It’s a chance for homeowners to see for themselves how their board works.  

  • Most of all, open meetings reassure homeowners their feedback matters and impacts their board’s decisions.  

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Does the Texas Open Meetings Act apply to HOAs and COAs? 

The Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) is designed to ensure that government meetings are conducted openly and that the public has access to the deliberations of public bodies. However, it's important to clarify that TOMA does not directly apply to Homeowners Associations (HOAs) or Condominium Owners Associations (COAs) in Texas. These entities are considered private organizations; thus, they are not bound by the same requirements that govern public entities under TOMA.  

HOAs and COAs are governed by their respective bylaws and the Texas Property Code, which dictates how meetings should be conducted to ensure transparency and member participation. Despite the absence of TOMA's direct application, HOAs and COAs are encouraged to adopt similar principles of openness and inclusivity to foster trust and engagement within their communities. 

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5 types of association meetings for Texas boards 

1. Standard board meeting:  

  • Normally open to residents (notified in advance).  
  • Members discuss board business and vote on motions. 
  • Agenda is very structured and may include an open forum. 
  • The open meetings we’ve discussed in this article are a great example of this. 

2. Executive meeting: 

  • Closed-door and attended by executive board members only. 
  • Held to discuss confidential issues or sensitive information that HOA members do not need to know. 
  • May also be held right before or right after an open meeting. 

3. Annual meeting:

  • This is held once a year and is usually open to residents. 
  • This discussion covers upcoming projects, annual budget, and board member elections. 
  • Your community manager should also attend your board’s annual meetings. 

4. Emergency meeting: 

  • Held to address urgent issues or an unexpected event. 
  • Board should alert community members on course of action as soon as possible. 
  • Not a desirable type of meeting and we hope you don’t have to hold very many of these. 

5. Committee meeting: 

  • Committees are made up of member volunteers who support an HOA board. 
  • Examples: social, architectural review, special projects, and others. 
  • Held outside of regular board meetings; periodically meets with board of directors to update them on committee activities. 


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Open meetings agenda template - download here.

Download our agenda template for your association's next open meeting. Click here. 

open meetings agenda texas hoa coa

Do you have a trusted community manager supporting your association’s meetings? We’re here to help. Reach out to us here and we’ll be in touch soon. 


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Our FirstService Residential Texas family enjoys peace of mind knowing they’re in good hands. They can count on our 24/7 customer service for tailored solutions that take the balancing act out of property management. And our service-first philosophy means we don’t stop until what’s complicated becomes uncomplicated. To make life, simplified. 

If your association is not currently managed by FirstService Residential Texas, we would love to learn more about your community. Please click below and fill out a short Request for Proposal to set up a no-strings-attached conversation about how we can best support your association. We look forward to meeting you!


Tuesday April 23, 2024