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Subject: How businesslike are HOA board meetings
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ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/21/2020 3:06 PM  
I’ve attended a few HOA board meetings lately, as a specialist in one area that the board was seeking help on.

The people are wonderful and truly care. The meetings are pretty informal- there are a few items to discuss (sometimes announced in advance) but it’s a free-for-all, fluid discussion, more like neighbors getting together to catch up and discuss a few topics of interest.

By contrast, the other non-HOA boards I am on are very businesslike and structured, with a structured agenda. We sit in a conference room, giving committee reports and then generally discussing a few items listed on the agenda, following the printed agenda, and even seats are assigned.

Is this how HOA board meetings usually are? Informal and friendly? But not rigidly structured like a corporate board meeting is?
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:38


11/21/2020 5:42 PM  
I have been on my current HOA and a condo association board. In both cases the meetings are very businesslike and conducted according to an agenda. I hope that's typical. It sounds like the board meeting you were at was fast and loose.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/21/2020 5:57 PM  
Chris: I assume the board meetings you're attending are in NY in the building where you haven't owned for very long??

If so, are the board meetings open to owners? Are notices of the meetings posted? As you know, they don't have to be open in NY. If "ope,' how many owners attend?

CA has a lot of statutes about HOA meetings, and that helps shape them to be well-organized. And that's my preference. Only an agenda posted 4 days in advance may be followed, for example. There's one required period when Owners may contribute during a board meeting. We directors may invite owners to contribute from time to time if we wish. Otherwise, they are sorely observers. We directors certainly make motions, seconds, and vote. Minutes, the official record of Associations, are taken by our PM.

Does your NY board do any of those things? Do they post minutes somewhere for owners to review?
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:684


11/21/2020 6:21 PM  
Chris,
As Kerry has mentioned meeting take on the life that the President and the PM allow. As a Board President for 6 years I try and run it as officially as I possible can. As stated we always have 3 minutes per HO for comments and concerns at the start of the meeting. Once the agenda gets started we try and stick to it and avoid allowing HOs to contribute comments. I will occasionally ask people in the audience who may have outside knowledge on specific topics to speak briefly if we need their input. My current board likes to try and keep the meetings as short as possible. I personally thinks the time of the meeting should be dictated by the discussion not the clock. In Ca. when we had a very engaged group of HOs we implemented an additional 3 minute per with a 20 minute max for questions or comments at the end of the meeting. This gave them the option to save questions till the end of the meeting. My Texas board has not bought into this yet but I haven't given up on trying either.

As the President I run our meetings. Many PMs run the meetings in HOAs. Who runs the meetings in the HOA you are mentioning?
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:781


11/21/2020 6:33 PM  
You can run the board meetings any way you want but if you are spending money then you better get more businesslike. That means that there should be motions made, seconded, discussion and then voted on.

Any auditor will look for those motions when they look at the checkbook and see checks written. They will look back into the minutes and find a motion that authorizes that the check be written.

So it’s best to have a business sense financially, but run the board meetings in a friendly way.. The president sets the tone for the meeting. Feel blessed if you have a president that can do both of these things.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9714


11/22/2020 4:39 AM  
How did you expect or want it to be run? It is YOU and your neighbors after all. It's not like people are going into work into a corporate building to do work. Heck some of my meetings have been held in our swimming pool. (I live in Alabama and most members are in the pool behind the clubhouse anyways in evenings).

Not sure what you are expecting from your HOA board meetings. Each HOA is different and each set their own "tone" to meetings. Plus there is usually a list of what has to be covered in a meeting per the Articles of Incorporation or CC&R's. Ours had a list EXAMPLE like: 1. Financials (Distributed). 2. Collections (ONLY for BOD members view) 3. Old business. 4. New business. 5. Open forum. (5 minutes)

As long as we stuck to that agenda list, our meeting were pretty much done in 1 to 2 hours. They were open with the BOD sitting at their own table and the members sitting in chairs outside of the table. I often held my meetings facing the membership with the board sitting beside me. Almost "last dinner" like. The board that replaced me sat around the table. They just let people sit in chairs outside table to observe. I didn't like this myself but I am also not the one holding the meeting either.

Some people here are sticklers about what they think is supposed to happen in a board meeting they lose site of what really IS to be done. Yes, it is a non-profit corporation. Does not mean being friendly or being unformal isn't running things "right". Sometimes this is the culture of the HOA to keep things this way.

Former HOA President
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/22/2020 8:02 AM  
Thanks, everyone. Yes, this is NYC in a condominium.

I had no clue about how it would be. I really like to get to the point and have short meetings with minimal chit-chat, but the people are great.

Owners do not attend and very little info is given out to owners. If they ask I’m sure that the board will tell them, though; people are very well-meaning.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/22/2020 8:49 AM  
Why should Owners have to "ask" directors about the board's secret meetings behind closed doors? Why wouldn't the board post minutes of the meeting on the HOA's website except for (truly) confidential matters. That would be informative for all owners.



JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10130


11/22/2020 9:02 AM  
Our BOD Meetings are very informal. They are not scheduled. We call one when we think we need one which is only about twice a year. We do =most of our business over the phone and via Email. Bod meetings are held sitting around my dining room table. We do not have a published agenda and we allow any BOD Member to raise/discuss anything. We rarely vote on anything other than a new vendor and violation notices to be sent. Only other major vote we have ever had was on an Annual Dues increase.

We are small, private patio homes with 112 owners and no amenities. Our largest budget expense and matter of discussion is landscaping as the HOA does all landscaping except we all have a fenced in backyard the owner is responsible for. Our HOA runs very smooth.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3577


11/22/2020 9:11 AM  
Unfortunately, you can't always dictate how others should react to HOA issues in their community - its up to them to take an interest on how their community is run. For me I always said make the information available whether people ask for it or not. If they have questions, answer them completely and accurately. How they feel about the board's decisions is up to them, but nothing the board does should ever be a surprise.

Its ok if the meeting is run in an formal or informal manner - I'm more interested in not wasting time and that pertinent issues are addressed. I'm also more concerned with board members coming prepared to discuss the issues and casting votes (this doesn't mean you must go along with everyone).

I hope this means you will begin to attend more meetings. You don't have to attend them all, but keep your mouth shut and eyes and ears open and listen carefully to the proceedings. If you have questions suggestions or concerns, speak up. Perhaps offer to help - that's where you can find out much more about community issues!
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/22/2020 10:37 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/22/2020 8:49 AM
Why should Owners have to "ask" directors about the board's secret meetings behind closed doors? Why wouldn't the board post minutes of the meeting on the HOA's website except for (truly) confidential matters. That would be informative for all owners.







No clue. This board is truly well-meaning and wants to make things better for everyone, and ensure that all owners are heard. I can see not giving out too much information, but this board is just trying to balance what it has to do for owners (almost nothing) and what it wants to do for owners (make their homes better and improve their property values). At least I can see that a board cares, even if it doesn't do what I would suggest it do.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/22/2020 10:54 AM  
Thing is, Sheila, NY is a closed meeting state, so Chris' Board can do everything behind closed doors. He only attended because the Board specifically invited him.

I don't know how it make sure "all Owners are heard" when they can't attend board meetings.

So far as what the Board SHOULD do, Chris, that is in your CC&Rs (covenants, declaration, deed restrictions) and I'm thinking you won't find that the Board's duty is to make " owners" homes better." More likely you'll see that the Board needs to protect and maintain he common areas. What does this governing document say?

JohnC's HOA doesn't have to inform Owerns when board e meetings occur, so they generally do't attend from what John's written in the past. Not surprising then, that their board meetings are very informal. Unlike SC, many states require business be conducted at duly noticed meeting and not via email.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/22/2020 11:02 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/22/2020 10:54 AM
Thing is, Sheila, NY is a closed meeting state, so Chris' Board can do everything behind closed doors. He only attended because the Board specifically invited him.

I don't know how it make sure "all Owners are heard" when they can't attend board meetings.

So far as what the Board SHOULD do, Chris, that is in your CC&Rs (covenants, declaration, deed restrictions) and I'm thinking you won't find that the Board's duty is to make " owners" homes better." More likely you'll see that the Board needs to protect and maintain he common areas. What does this governing document say?

JohnC's HOA doesn't have to inform Owerns when board e meetings occur, so they generally do't attend from what John's written in the past. Not surprising then, that their board meetings are very informal. Unlike SC, many states require business be conducted at duly noticed meeting and not via email.




Thanks. This HOA is an LLC, and the LLC agreement doesn't give the board many obligations at all, and owners don't really have any rights at all. If people were investing the same amount of money into a company as they invest in their homes, they wouldn't tolerate having no rights, but I guess people don't care. In any event, the board is truly trying, so I give the board a lot of credit.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:441


11/22/2020 2:54 PM  
Posted By ChrisE8 on 11/21/2020 3:06 PM
I’ve attended a few HOA board meetings lately, as a specialist in one area that the board was seeking help on.

The people are wonderful and truly care. The meetings are pretty informal- there are a few items to discuss (sometimes announced in advance) but it’s a free-for-all, fluid discussion, more like neighbors getting together to catch up and discuss a few topics of interest.

By contrast, the other non-HOA boards I am on are very businesslike and structured, with a structured agenda. We sit in a conference room, giving committee reports and then generally discussing a few items listed on the agenda, following the printed agenda, and even seats are assigned.

Is this how HOA board meetings usually are? Informal and friendly? But not rigidly structured like a corporate board meeting is?





HOA Board meetings should be rigid and structured so as to convey professionalism.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10130


11/22/2020 4:26 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/22/2020 10:54 AM
Thing is, Sheila, NY is a closed meeting state, so Chris' Board can do everything behind closed doors. He only attended because the Board specifically invited him.

I don't know how it make sure "all Owners are heard" when they can't attend board meetings.

So far as what the Board SHOULD do, Chris, that is in your CC&Rs (covenants, declaration, deed restrictions) and I'm thinking you won't find that the Board's duty is to make " owners" homes better." More likely you'll see that the Board needs to protect and maintain he common areas. What does this governing document say?

JohnC's HOA doesn't have to inform Owerns when board e meetings occur, so they generally do't attend from what John's written in the past. Not surprising then, that their board meetings are very informal. Unlike SC, many states require business be conducted at duly noticed meeting and not via email.




Kerry

To clarify we do not take votes via phone or Email but we do discuss the issues so we are prepared. In SC we can take action without a meeting as long as all BOD Members agree to the action and then at the next BOD Meeting we record such in the Minutes. In my last two years on the BOD we have never had a split vote. All our votes have been unanimous primarily as all details were hashed out via phone/Email before we voted.

You notice in a lot of my posts I post our situation. 112 owners, individua, small patio homes. No amenities. I do this for positioning purposes. You are in CA with more controls. You have multi high rise buildings. You have a paid staff. Overall probably complex enough I would not even want to be on your BOD.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/22/2020 4:34 PM  
So, Chris, you're saying that your HOA has no covenants that protect Owners and/or the common areas? Is this HOA a co-op?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/22/2020 5:18 PM  
It’s a condo. Fortunately.
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