HOA and board meetings aren’t the most exciting things in the world, and board members may assume residents want nothing to do with them. However, many residents are interested in understanding how the HOA runs. Unfortunately, however, allowing residents to attend may make it difficult to actually conduct the meeting, which is why many HOAs prohibit residents from attending certain meetings.
The annual meeting is the big one. It’s held once a year, and it’s when many major decisions take place. For example, this is when the new officers are elected. This is also when the board discusses the current state of the community, the goals for the current year and the budget. This is important for residents to hear because they have a right see the big picture of their neighborhood. It’s also important for them to attend because they can discuss their suggestions, comments and concerns.
Routine Board Meetings
Throughout the year, the board meets a lot to discuss how the community is doing and what else needs to be done to improve it. In many states, the law allows members of the community to attend these meetings. For example, in California, the open meeting act allows members to attend these routine meetings. However, the law doesn’t detail who is a member. That is defined in the HOA’s governing documents. In most cases, members are the homeowners, so the board probably can’t stop homeowners from coming. However, if a resident is renting a property, and the governing documents state members are the property owners, the HOA can prohibit renters from attending.
Although the board typically can’t prohibit members from attending, they can usually limit how many can come, which is a good idea. The more residents who attend, the more people will talk, and it may be impossible to finish the meeting on schedule.
Executive sessions discuss private and privileged information, such as legal issues, formation of contracts, disciplinary hearings, personal issues, payment plans and foreclosures. This is information that not all community members should be privy to, so members don’t usually have the right to attend, and the HOA shouldn’t allow them to. In some cases, this information is private, such as a foreclosure. In other cases, it can just lead to confusion and anger among residents who don’t really understand what’s going on.
Whatever you choose, just make sure to be consistent, and explain why residents can or cannot attend certain meetings. Make meeting notes, announcements and times available online on the community website. Just don’t forget to mention who can and cannot attend the meeting.