To stay compliant with federal, state, and local statutes regarding what business items must be discussed and approved in an open meeting, board members should know their state’s laws regarding open meetings.
The requirements for what items must be approved in an open meeting are going to vary by state, but, generally, state legislature falls into two broad categories:
- States whose legislature requires boards to address specific line items in an open meeting.
- States with very broad open meeting requirements.
Why It Matters
If you’re in a state with broad open meeting requirements, then you must be careful of what HOA business you discuss outside of a properly noticed meeting.
If you’re in a state where board members address specific line items in an open meeting, then you have more freedom to discuss HOA business outside of a properly noticed meeting.
We will use Texas and Arizona as examples to illustrate the difference between these legislative philosophies.
Items that Have to Be Approved in an Open Meeting in Texas
Texas is an example of a state whose legislature requires boards address specific line items in an open meeting.
Texas requires boards discuss and approve 15 business items in an open meeting:
- Damage assessments
- Initiation of foreclosure actions
- Initiation of enforcement actions, excluding temporary restraining orders or violations involving a threat to health or safety
- Increases in assessments
- Levying of special assessments
- Appeals from a denial of architectural control approval
- A suspension of a right of a particular owner before the owner has an opportunity to attend a board meeting to present the owner’s position, including any defense, on the issue
- Lending or borrowing money
- The adoption or amendment of a dedicatory instrument
- The approval of an annual budget or the approval of an amendment of an annual budget that increases the budget by more than 10 percent
- The sale or purchase of real property
- The filling of a vacancy on the board
- The construction of capital improvements other than the repair, replacement, or enhancement of existing capital improvements
- The election of an officer
Open Meeting Requirements in Arizona
Arizona is an example of a state whose legislature has very broad open meeting notice requirements.
In Arizona, any time a quorum of the board meets and HOA business is discussed, it is a board meeting. This is true whether they are meeting formally or are all in a car together driving to an event and HOA business just happens to come up.
If HOA business is being discussed and a quorum of the board is together, the open meeting and notice requirements apply, and homeowners are legally required to be properly noticed.