Dos and Don’ts of HOA Meeting Agendas
Meetings are one of the most critical aspects of a homeowner's association. It is of utmost importance to ensure that whichever agenda you wish to accomplish in the meeting is well planned, thus raising your chances of having a productive meeting that can meet its goals. In this article, you will find tips on making your schedule as efficient and effective as possible while also improving your HOA in the process. Additionally, you will see some examples of what you should not do to risk damaging the productivity of your HOA meetings.
Use a Standardized Template
Not only can using a standardized template make sure that HOA meetings remain consistent, but they can also be a significant help to new members who aren't quite yet well-versed in how HOA meetings work. A standard HOA meeting often follows this format:
- Meeting Name
- Date, Time & Location
- Homeowner's Open Forum
- Call to Order
- Roll Call
- Approval of Last Meeting's Minutes
- Officer Reports
- Action Items
- Committee Reports
- Old Business
- New Business
Mark Start Times for Agenda Items
If you are struggling with attendance during your meetings, then keeping track of the start times for each item on the agenda can help you solve that problem. Marking down the start times helps you figure out how long each agenda item should take. A timed agenda can keep everyone on topic, which will shorten your meeting time. This can benefit your attendance, as frequently meetings that last over an hour lead to poor attendance in subsequent meetings.
Share the Meeting Agenda Beforehand
Make sure you provide the meeting agenda for all of the board members. This will give them ample opportunity to prepare for the subjects touched upon in the meeting. It's also good practice to share the planned schedule with homeowners before the meeting. This can help you boost attendance, and the transparency of the HOA board providing the schedule to the homeowners can boost the homeowners' confidence in the board.
Create an Agenda Policy That Will Address Homeowner Input
Creating a formal process for homeowners to suggest agenda items can help avoid favoritism or even any accusations of it, provided your HOA board stays consistent with its process. In addition, it's good practice to clarify specific criteria needed for a homeowner to submit an item to the plan, like a submission deadline or a petition that needs to be signed by a certain number of homeowners for the item to get added to the plan.
Don't: Expose Confidential Information
Only discuss confidential information in executive HOA meetings that only contain board members. Discussing confidential information during meetings that are open to the public could lead to litigation. Confidential information may include pending lawsuits or details about homeowners, HOA employees, or vendors.
Don't: Forget or Ignore Your Governing Documents and Laws
Ensure that everything listed on your plan follows your HOA's governing documents and any local, state, and federal laws that may apply to your association. Contact an association attorney if you aren't sure whether your plan is compliant with the law and your governing documents. Better safe than sorry!
Don't: Include Every Agenda Item Proposed
You should always carefully review and consider the items that your fellow homeowners propose for the plan, but that doesn't mean you should add every single one that gets recommended. Doing so can cause the meeting to become crowded and long, bringing about those attendance issues mentioned earlier. A policy for adding items suggested by homeowners to the agenda, as mentioned above, is one way to make sure only the most important suggestions are added to the meeting, but adding a homeowner's open forum to your agenda is another way to let homeowners speak their mind without harming the efficiency of the meeting.