Community associations are run by elected board members, but it may feel like meetings run the association. Because most community associations are required to conduct business and make decisions at properly noticed board and membership meetings that have met quorum, board members and community managers alike should be familiar with the basic types of meetings, what business may be completed at each meeting, and the state and governing document requirements for holding these meetings. While these meetings are important, we always recommend efficient meetings.
In this article, we’ll cover association meeting basics, so you can feel confident when completing association business.
Regular Board Meetings
Most community association business is conducted at regular board meetings. Depending on the association’s size and needs, regular meetings are held either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually according to a set schedule that can be determined at the beginning of each year. An association’s governing documents may also place requirements on when, where, and how often regular board meetings are held.
State law and an association’s governing documents may place restrictions on what is permitted to be decided at board meetings and create requirements for what must be decided at board meetings. However, typically, a regular board meeting is where the board will vote to hire new vendors, approve the annual budget, adopt policies, vote to hold community events, and the like.
Board meetings are generally required to be open, meaning that the association’s homeowners must receive notice of the meeting, be allowed to attend, and perhaps be allowed to speak on business items during the meeting, even though they cannot vote.
Executive Board Meetings
Executive board meetings, or executive sessions, are usually held either during or just after a regular board meeting. An executive board meeting is closed to homeowners, but the board is also often restricted in what they may discuss and vote on during an executive meeting by state law. Typically, executive session is used to handle confidential business items, such as homeowner violations, the aging report and delinquent accounts, and homeowner appeals.
Additionally, the community association still may be required to provide homeowners notice of an executive meeting and what will be discussed or determined during the meeting, even though they cannot attend.
Special Board Meetings
If the community association board does not complete all of its necessary business at a regular board meeting, or if something important comes up between regular meetings that can’t wait until the next regular board meeting, a special meeting can be called. For instance, if the board ran out of time during the regular board meeting and didn’t vote on which vendor to hire to install holiday lights, they could hold a special meeting to complete this item instead of waiting for the next quarterly regular meeting in January.
For another example, if the association’s landscaping vendor suddenly quits because of an over-filled work schedule, the board could hold a special board meeting to hire a new one.
Special board meetings, like regular board meetings, are typically required to be open and noticed to homeowners according to state law and the governing documents. Board members are also commonly limited to discussing only the item or items the meeting was called to resolve.
Emergency Board Meetings
If an emergency occurs between regular board meetings that the board must address immediately, the board is typically allowed to hold an emergency board meeting. For example, if a pipe bursts in the association’s amenity bathroom and the building is flooding, the board could hold an emergency meeting to hire a plumber to fix the issue right away.
Emergency board meetings typically have looser notice requirements and may have lower quorum requirements as well. However, like regular board meetings and special board meetings, minutes are still generally required to be taken at emergency board meetings.
Annual Membership Meetings
The annual membership meeting is where the community association’s homeowners complete necessary association business that only they can vote on. This typically includes board elections and certain high-stakes association decisions, such as amending a governing document or approving a high special assessment. State law and an association’s governing documents will generally explain which items homeowners must vote on to approve.
Annual membership meetings are also commonly used to share important or helpful information with homeowners, either through guest speaker presentations or board member and committee member reports. For instance, if the association will be completing several road resurfacing projects in the coming year, the board could explain the timelines for these projects and the resulting road closures.
State law and an association’s governing documents generally have specific requirements for noticing annual meetings.
Special Membership Meetings
Like a special board meeting, a special membership meeting is called if the membership must complete an item of business before the next annual meeting. For instance, if a board member resigns before their term is complete, and the association’s governing documents require members to elect the replacement, a special membership meeting could be called to elect the new board member.
Also similar to an annual membership meeting, special membership meetings generally have specific notice requirements. They are also typically limited to the one or two items they are called to address.
Town Hall Meetings
Townhall meetings are different from other types of community association meetings in that no business is typically conducted at a town hall meeting. So, no voting or elections take place at a town hall. Instead, town halls are used for the association to share information with the membership and hear member concerns.
For instance, the board could host a town hall to explain the association’s new collections policy or to introduce the association’s new architectural guidelines.
Because no official association business occurs at town hall meetings, they typically don’t have notice or quorum requirements, unless state law or the association’s governing documents provide otherwise. However, it’s a best practice to give members at least two weeks’ notice if you would like high homeowner attendance at your town hall. Additionally, because no decisions are made at town halls, meeting minutes are typically not required.
We hope this overview of the basic community association meeting types has been helpful. For more information on effective association meetings, check out our HOA Basics course and Conducting Association Meetings course.