We would like to help you create effective meeting minutes that include relevant information and format. Properly written meeting minutes allow members to understand at a high level what occurred at a meeting and what decisions are made. No one’s memory is perfect, and meeting minutes create an overview of a meeting and all the important decisions and discussions that occurred.
This week, we’re going to go over useful guidelines for creating HOA meeting minutes. We’ll go over the purpose of meeting minutes, what is included in meeting minutes, and tips for creating meeting minutes effectively.
See below to the answers for the most frequently asked questions regarding how to write great meeting minutes:
Why Does My Association Even Need Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes are the official notes of what took place at an HOA meeting of the board, members, or a committee. Meeting minutes are legally required because they provide evidence that a meeting occurred, that quorum was met, and that matters were discussed and voted on according to state law and the governing documents.
If a homeowner challenges the legality of an action that your board or other association members took, meeting minutes help provide proof that the action was taken appropriately. So, you can see why accurate meeting minutes are important!
So, What Should Be in My Association’s Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes should include the location, time, and date of the meeting, as well as who attended the meeting and whether quorum was met. To ensure accuracy, the time should be given an a.m. or p.m. designation, and the names of the board members should be listed, as well as the names of any special speakers or other guests such as a police officer or vendor who attends to communicate important information to the members. The one exception are the homeowners’ names: generally, it is considered best practice to leave off homeowners’ names and simply say, for example, “5 homeowners were in attendance.”
Next, the meeting minutes will provide a list of items, and their respective subtopics and votes, in the order they were discussed. Typically, board meeting minutes will follow this general outline:
- Call to order
- Approval of minutes
- Open forum (here or just before executive session)
- Financial report
- Old business
- New business
- Next board meeting
- Executive session (In some states, like Arizona, minutes for executive session are completely separate – in other words, they are not listed in the regular minutes.)
Annual meetings will typically follow this general outline:
- Call to Order
- Approval of Minutes for Last Annual Meeting
- Financial Report
- Election of Board Member(s)
- Committee Reports and New Business
- Question & Answer Period
Can I See Some Examples of What Fully Written Meeting Minute Topics Look Like?
The specific topics discussed and voted on will be listed under each numbered item. For instance, an old business section might look like this:
- Old Business
- The board reviewed three invoices for new landscaping services and voted and approved contracting Lion Trash Removal to be the community’s new service provider beginning August 1.
- The board received the requested event calendar from the Social Committee and voted and approved the calendar with the addition of a winter social on December 12.
And, a homeowner forum section might look like this:
- Open Forum: The board opened the floor for homeowners to voice questions and concerns.
- A homeowner asked if more police patrols could be conducted in the neighborhood. Ms. Jane Smith replied that if enough homeowners contact the police department and request additional patrols, Officer Day will set them up.
- A homeowner asked when the HOA pool will open for the season. Mr. Delightful said that the gate has already been replaced, so the pool will still open as scheduled on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
When drafting or reviewing meeting minutes, it is important to record any votes that took place as well as the resulting actions. The advice of any guest speakers, and answers to any homeowner questions, will provide useful references to homeowners.
Do You Have Any Other Meeting Minutes Tips and Best Practices?
To create the most useful meeting minutes documents, you will need to ensure they are concise, well organized, and complete. To this end, work to keep meeting minutes documents to one page, and never more than two pages, in length.
To easily achieve strong organization, structure the meeting agenda to follow the meeting minutes outline listed above, then simply fill out the information on the agenda as it is discussed at the meeting to create the meeting minutes from the agenda. The information will be in the correct order, and it will be easily to follow the meeting and draft the minutes—the outline is already there for you!
Lastly, and very importantly, ensure the minutes include all the necessary information explaining the votes and actions taken. To achieve this, pay close attention to your wording. When discussing votes, use phrasing such as “Mr. Smith motioned, Ms. Rivers seconded, and with all in favor, the motion was passed.” or “The board voted and approved purchasing the new playground.” or “The board voted and denied granting the Social Committee extra funding for the winter social.”
Always make it crystal clear that a vote took place and what its results were.
What Should I Achieve with Successful Meeting Minutes?
Successful meeting minutes should allow an individual to understand what occurred in the meeting and what decisions were made just by reading the minutes.
We hope these tips will help make drafting and reviewing meeting minutes a breeze! For additional board member training, check out our online certification courses and sign up for a free trial today.