Keeping accurate and thorough meetings of your HOA board meetings is very important. Keeping these minutes can protect your homeowners association from lawsuits, and can keep up open communication between the board and homeowners. In addition, minutes are a great way to keep everyone informed about current and future decisions, projects, and events, without going into detail.
It is not a good idea to have minutes that are too cluttered and too detailed. Neither is it good to have minutes that barely contain any information. Here is a guide on what you should be including in your HOA board meeting minutes, and what to leave out.
Items to Include
One key item to include as part of the meetings is a record of the board members who were in attendance at the meeting. You can also include the time that the board members arrived, especially if they arrived late, both for accountability purposes and as helpful information to the board.
The individual taking the meetings should jot down the times that each item on the agenda took place. This will help the board to determine which sections of the agenda are taking too long as helpful information for changing the agenda in the future.
Motions, Votes, and Topics Discussed
Each time a major topic is discussed, a vote is cast, or a motion is made, this should be noted in the minutes. The references should be brief and to the point.
Items to Leave Out
Specific References to Owners
Although legal in some states, it is usually not recommended that specific references to owners be put in the minutes. For example, if a homeowner is being disciplined for a breach of the community rules and regulations, it is best to not put them in by name. Instead, a separate log should be taken which notates the owners as well as their address, and their specific violation. The minutes can then reference the log number without naming the individual.
A detailed dialogue between board members is something you should always leave out of the minutes. Putting down exactly what a board member is saying can lead to potentially harmful accusations of defamation. Rather than treating the minutes like a transcript, the individual taking minutes should just put brief references to topics discussed.
Opinions, whether those of a member of the board, or those of the person taking notes, should be left out of the minutes. Comments such as “we should fix the stairs” is not helpful, and could lead to trouble down the road. Instead, stick to the facts of the meeting.
The minutes should be a brief record of the meeting as it took place that is easy to read, concise in both meaning and wording, and free of personal attacks, opinions, or any wording that could lead to an unwanted day in court. Keep in mind these principles as you construct the minutes for the next meeting, and homeowners and the board will thank you!