If you’re a homeowner in a condo owner association and serving on the board, it’s important to know who can and should attend the board meetings. For HOA boards, it’s also essential to know who should not attend meetings.
You might think it’s tough enough to get anyone to show up to regular meetings, but sometimes an understanding of who should be there can help improve attendance and create productive and informative meetings. Today our experts talk about attendance at homeowners association board meetings when running an effective HOA!
Who Should Be There?
In most cases, the primary condo owner or homeowner should be at community meetings. However, it’s also nice and usually a good idea for a homeowner’s spouse to join regular meetings with the primary property owner.
While it’s nice to have a good turnout at meetings, homes with multiple residents shouldn’t bring everyone in the household to community gatherings that focus on business, budgets, or other neighborhood management details.
If your community has investment properties or rental homes, the property’s owner or manager should regularly participate in meetings (rather than the tenants). As tenants, they don’t have an ownership stake in the community and shouldn’t vote on covenants, rules, or ordinances that impact the neighborhood or fees. However, the property owner should participate in meetings to stay updated on all details involving the neighborhood surrounding their properties. Through their attendance, they can keep renters up to date.
What’s the Ideal Amount of Community Member Involvement?
It’s important for owners to be involved in meetings for the condominium home owners association to stay current on needs, rule updates, covenant matters, and board member statuses. However, as community managers, we know it’s often challenging to get enough HOA members to attend to achieve a quorum for votes or simply just to gather feedback on important issues.
There are a few reasons why community member attendance is so important, including:
- Giving condo owners an opportunity to learn about the community and what’s happening
- Providing an opportunity for homeowners to ask questions and give feedback on HOA fees and other issues like landscaping
- Building a sense of community in the association
While there are ways to restrict attendance, it’s essential to carefully consider who should be allowed to get the most benefit from meetings. Having meetings with too many people who don’t need to be there can lead to disruptive meetings that get off track of the agenda. Plus, too many unproductive meetings can discourage residents from attending future gatherings.
What’s the Difference Between “Closed” vs. “Open” Sessions?
So, should primary homeowners be at every meeting? It depends on the type of meeting!
“Closed” sessions are often limited to directors on the HOA board. These meetings can be work sessions where committees meet to review budgets, make plans, and review covenants. As a result of the work during these closed meetings, the board presents ideas, reports, and potential changes to the community during at-large HOA member meetings.
“At-large” meetings are “open” sessions that allow attendance from any homeowners association member in good standing with the community. This means members who are up-to-date on dues and don’t have any covenant violations or liens on their properties can attend and participate in votes and discussions.
Hold Productive Meetings to Improve Attendance
If your condo association struggles to get condo owners to attend meetings, it’s time to review your meeting best practices. For example, if residents feel like HOA meetings waste their time, aren’t productive, and tend to be contentious in nature, they’re not likely to attend very often.
To hold productive meetings that experience HOA member attendance:
- Pre-plan the schedule for the year and make sure all residents are aware of meetings dates and times
- Use a closed session meeting to set the agenda for open meetings ahead of time
- Stick to agendas!
- Keep meetings brief and to the point (while allowing time for residents to ask questions and give feedback in a constructive way)
When fights break out during meetings, gatherings run beyond their allotted timeframe, or the schedule falls by the wayside, your association will lose faithful attendees and member participation in critical discussions. You might also experience a loss of that sense of community we mentioned.
Constructive meetings can be enjoyable and encourage good attendance! If you’re not how to get your regular meetings on track to support a thriving community, a condominium association management company can help.
Conduct Better Homeowners Association Board Meetings With Expert Help!
HOA meetings are a vital part of your community’s success! Good attendance, productive conversations, and successful votes on important matters are all essential when building a healthy condo owner association and community. However, if you’re dealing with unproductive meetings and poor participation, it’s time for expert help!
Trestle Community Management helps communities have better homeowner’s association meetings. Our experts can help evaluate your current meeting structure and recommend better strategies to improve participation. We’ll also help you create agendas to keep meetings on track and participate in meetings to facilitate the flow and make excellent use of everyone’s time. Reach out soon to learn more about our community management services!