You’re about to call a new landscaping company to book their services when, suddenly, a fellow board member stops you. He says you collectively decided during the last meeting to keep your current vendor for landscaping services. However, you remember the discussion going differently. Neither of you budges and the argument reaches an impasse because you don’t have a record of what happened during the meeting. This is where the importance of HOA meeting minutes comes in.
HOA Meeting Minutes Done Right
During meetings for your HOA, the minutes are a record of all actions taken during the proceedings between members. This is a requirement with any homeowners association, and it’s important to be sure all pertinent details are included and accounted for. When done properly, HOA meeting minutes are something you can refer back to during times of confusion, resolving disputes along the way.
Here are the necessary details you must include in your homeowners association meeting minutes:
1. Basic Information
To begin writing your HOA meeting minutes, don’t forget to include all the basics. This includes the organization’s legal name as well as the type of meeting.
It could be a regularly scheduled meeting among homeowners or a special one in case of emergencies. In the same way, for HOA board meeting minutes, make sure to indicate it as such.
You must also include the date of the meeting. It is an equally good idea to specify the location of the meeting. Some HOAs have fixed locations for their meetings, while others change from time to time. If the location remains constant for your HOA, it is generally acceptable not to include it in your HOA meeting minutes.
Taking attendance is not just for school, but it is also a significant part of HOA meetings. Your minutes must reflect which homeowners were present and which ones were absent during the meeting. If it is an annual meeting where votes are taken, note down any stand-ins or proxies and who they are appearing on behalf of.
The same HOA minutes rules apply for board meetings where someone else attends the meeting in place of, say, the regular chairman or secretary. You must also indicate which board members arrived late. While it may seem nitpicky at a glance, recording tardiness helps with accountability. If a board member seems to be slacking off by consistently being late or absent, you have proof in the form of HOA meeting minutes.
3. Important Times
Your HOA meeting minutes must also include the time of the meeting. Indicate the time the meeting started as well as the time it adjourned. If you did not begin the meeting on time, specify the time it was supposed to start.
This helps the board better schedule future meetings. If a lot of members are late for a 6 p.m. meeting because of long work hours, it may be a good idea to move it to a later time or date altogether.
More than that, indicate the time when each item on the agenda was discussed. By doing this, you can determine which parts of the agenda are taking longer than others. With this information, you can adjust the agenda accordingly or be more aware of the time when certain items are discussed. After all, meetings can be dragging sometimes and nobody wants to prolong their stay.
4. Discussions, Motions, and Votes
Perhaps most importantly, the HOA minutes must indicate any major discussions, reports, motions, and votes that took place. If a member made a motion that was not later withdrawn, specify it. Include the name of the member who made the motion. If any task force or committee was made, specify the members who were assigned or volunteered. Discussions can go on and on, but your HOA meeting minutes must not reflect that. Be concise and straight to the point.
Who’s In Charge of the HOA Meeting Minutes?
The HOA board secretary usually takes on the responsibility of recording the minutes of the meeting. However, smaller HOAs may not have one. In this case, the board chair shoulders the task.
Keep in mind, however, that the duty may be delegated to someone else. The person appointed takes on the role of assistant secretary. However, the minutes must still go through the board secretary for final inspection and signing.
Are HOA Minutes Required?
The HOA meeting minutes are a requirement of a homeowners association and must always be kept available for property owners to inspect. Minutes are to be kept for any proceedings of the association’s board of directors, shareholders, and committees. It is also normally recommended by attorneys that the minutes be clearly read before each board meeting in order to state board actions accurately.
Legally, some states require the recording of meeting minutes. In North Carolina, NCGS § 47F-3-118(a) dictates that these minutes must be made available for all homeowners to peruse, suggesting that recording of such minutes is mandatory. The same goes for South Carolina. The state law in California, on the other hand, is more direct. According to Corporations Code Section 8320, minutes are required for all corporations, which HOAs fall under.
Here are some additional tips when writing your HOA meeting minutes:
- Be brief and impartial. Do not include any personal opinions in your HOA minutes. Make sure the minutes remain detached from emotions or personal qualities in any way.
- Uniform writing. There should be no use of underlining, bolding, or other types of emphasis used in any type of minutes document. This also goes for quotes or suggestions of statements that could appear as slander or accusations during any meeting debates.
- Leave unnecessary dialogue out. Irrelevant conversations that took place between members are not important. Remember: you are not writing a transcript.
- Use a template. If you are having trouble recording minutes, it may help to refer to a homeowners association meeting minutes template. Sample HOA meeting minutes can greatly ease the task. If you want your own HOA board meeting minutes template, see what it looks like below. There’s also a free downloadable template after this image.
Understanding the Importance of HOA Meeting Minutes
The minutes’ specifics more or less can depend on what type of meeting was being held and if the minutes are meant to be published. Minutes are kept forever, which is different from official records that are tossed out after seven years. This makes it even more important to keep HOA meeting minutes concise, accurate, and to the point. Minutes act as a record of any business decisions made by the association.
Some associations elect to outsource the recording of minutes, turning to HOA management companies for the job. If you wish to do the same, we would be happy to take your call.
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