A homeowners association operates in much the same way as a corporation. And, just like a corporation, the HOA board also has a secretary. But, what does an HOA secretary do exactly?
If you are familiar with how homeowners associations work, then you know that a set of board members is usually in charge of running the community. Every person on the HOA board has responsibilities to perform. For instance, the HOA president serves as the association’s spokesperson and leads board meetings.
But, what about the board secretary? Whether you are considering running or are currently holding the position, it is imperative to learn the different duties of an HOA secretary.
Similar to other organizations, homeowners associations must maintain records and documents relevant to the community. These records are essential to the continued operations of the association and should, therefore, remain intact and accurate. The HOA secretary acts as the recordkeeper of the association.
Keeping association records is important and often mandatory. For instance, in states like North Carolina and California, associations must maintain records and make them reasonably available for member inspection. Without a proper recordkeeping system, producing these records would prove difficult for the board.
The secretary is responsible for keeping records and official documents such as meeting minutes, membership lists, voting records, copies of financial reports, and the like. This means organizing these records and storing them in a secure location.
Annual meetings and board meetings take place on a regular basis. And it is the HOA secretary’s job to send out a notice of the meeting to all members within the appropriate timeframe. This timeframe, of course, can vary from one association to another. It really depends on what state laws and your governing documents say.
A notice of the meeting includes details concerning the date, time, and location of the meeting. The meeting agenda also typically comes attached to the notice. This informs members of what the meeting is about and what topics they can expect to discuss.
As the HOA board secretary, you will work directly with the president to prepare the meeting agenda. Since members should receive a copy of the agenda prior to the meeting, it is important to create it well beforehand. As previously stated, the agenda should include the topics to be discussed in the meeting.
But, the secretary’s duties do not stop there. During the meeting proper, it is also your job to take minutes of the meeting. Remember that meeting minutes are critical because they serve as a reference to all members. You should also make sure to write them in an objective and straightforward manner. Leave out the unnecessary opinions and comments.
Sometimes, you may be able to assign the task of recording minutes to someone else. In this case, though, you will still need to review the minutes and give your approval by signing them.
Residents have a right to know what is going on within their community. Perhaps your board intends to raise monthly dues, swap out vendors, or temporarily close down a common area for maintenance. When homeowners remain in the dark about these things, they can quickly grow dissatisfied.
As the homeowners association secretary, it is part of your job description to communicate regularly with members. This can be in the form of email blasts, website announcements, social media posts, newsletters, and more. When your board has an important update to disseminate, you must make sure all members receive it.
In some cases, the HOA secretary may also act as the witness when it comes to official documents. This means you may need to put your signature on things like vendor contracts or management contracts. Certain documents may also require validation, a task that will fall under your responsibility.
Many states recognize homeowners associations as corporations. Therefore, you will also need to file certain forms and documents with state agencies. One example is annually filing official documents with the Secretary of State. There are deadlines for these filings, too, so you need to keep track of them and make sure not to miss any.
Considering the role of an HOA secretary, there are a number of specific qualities and skills you should possess to become effective. First and foremost, it is the secretary’s job to maintain records, so it is imperative to be well-organized. You should have a system for filing, categorizing, storing, and accessing documents.
Additionally, a good secretary values accuracy. As a recordkeeper and minute taker, accuracy is an essential quality. You should also be a responsible person since you are in charge of a lot of things. That means no deferring of tasks or procrastinating as even the smallest of delays can prove detrimental to the association.
As the HOA secretary, you should also have excellent communication skills. After all, a big part of your job is to constantly communicate with both fellow board members and residents. Finally, a good secretary is honest and puts the community’s best interests ahead of their own.
While it is clear that the role of an HOA secretary is an integral one, not many can handle the pressures of the job. Due to a lack of time or skill, a lot of residents feel apprehensive about volunteering to run for the position. And those currently in the position find it difficult to fulfill their duties effectively.
An HOA management company can perform a lot of these tasks, though — from sending out notices to communicating with homeowners. Such a company can also help other board members with their own responsibilities.
If that sounds like the ideal setup to you, then it is time to hire an HOA management company. Start your search today using our comprehensive online directory.