By Will Van Vactor, J.D.
Can't think of any good reason to attend your HOA meeting? Think again.
Homeowners’ associations (HOA) are legal entities, often nonprofit corporations, that rely largely on volunteer help from the homeowners within the community they oversee. To keep things running smoothly, HOAs usually hold regular board meetings, as well as annual member meetings.
Important decisions, including about the maintenance of the development, hiring and retaining HOA managers, and allowable development, are all made at these meetings. Because these decisions impact members’ property values, these meetings are necessary and important.
Remember, whether a decision is made at a board meeting or annual meeting, these rules must be followed, even if you weren’t present.
Different Types of HOA Meetings
Most HOAs have an annual meeting for all members. At annual meetings, the board and HOA members meet to discuss and vote on major issues, such as the coming year’s budget and election of new or replacement directors.
Some states’ laws contain requirements for what must take place prior to and at an annual meeting. For example, in California, if an HOA’s bylaws are silent on the issue, the HOA must hold an annual meeting at the HOA’s principal office in order to elect directors to the HOA board.
The typical HOA will have a board of directors that meets regularly. Directors are ordinarily other homeowners who were elected by the majority of community members. They might also be individuals appointed by the developer of the property, as is especially common in newer developments.
The bylaws of most HOAs require that directors must gather for periodic meetings. The regularity of these meetings varies by HOA. Larger HOAs with many members and many issues to deal with might meet frequently. Smaller HOAs, with few issues to address, will likely meet much less frequently.
A third, less common type of meeting also exists. In some cases, the board of an HOA, or even a just a group of homeowners, may decide it is necessary to call a “special meeting.” Such meetings might address emergency matters that require participation of the entire membership, such as recalling a board member. Typically, either state law or the HOA bylaws will provide the manner in which notice of a special meeting must be provided. (Secret meetings are frowned upon!)