A homeowners association board holds regular meetings to discuss various items on the agenda. During these discussions, it is imperative to write HOA board meeting minutes. But, how exactly do you do that?
In this article:
- Why Write HOA Board Meeting Minutes?
- How to Write Minutes of an HOA Board Meeting
- Tips for Writing HOA Board Meeting Minutes
- Compose Your Meeting Minutes Properly
Why Write HOA Board Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes are an essential part of any HOA board meeting. In fact, most states require HOAs to take minutes of a board meeting. For instance, California Corporations Code 8320 states that corporations — such as an HOA — must keep written minutes of meetings, including board meetings.
The importance of HOA board meeting minutes is clear. It is something board members can refer to in the event of disagreements, confusion, or items past recollection. The minutes of a meeting are written proof that a discussion took place and decisions were made. Board meeting minutes help mitigate disputes and prevent conflicts from escalating.
How to Write Minutes of an HOA Board Meeting
Typically, the HOA board secretary is assigned to write HOA board meeting minutes. If the secretary is absent or busy, someone else can take over the task. You must remember, though, that the meeting’s minutes must still go through the secretary for final approval.
Now that you know who is responsible for the board meeting minutes, it is time to answer the big question. How do you write HOA board meeting minutes? The board meeting minutes must only cover items on the agenda. It is not a transcript nor is it a play-by-play of the meeting.
Here are the things you must include in the minutes of a board meeting:
- The date and time of the meeting, as well as when it was called to order
- Names of attendees and absent members
- Approval of previous meeting minutes
- Evaluation of current HOA finances
- What motions were proposed, who proposed them, and who seconded them
- Any voting that occurred, names of those who voted for and against, and the results
- What actions were taken
- What decisions or resolutions were made
- Unfinished business from the previous meeting
- New business for the current meeting
- Date and time of the next meeting
- The time of adjournment
Here are the things you should not include in the minutes of a board meeting:
- Personal opinions
Tips for Writing HOA Board Meeting Minutes
At this point, anyone who has never taken meeting minutes might feel overwhelmed. When there are so many people talking over each other, it can be hard to keep up. But, writing HOA board meeting minutes does not have to be an uphill battle. Here are a handful of helpful tips that can make your meeting minutes the best they can be.
1. Keep It Short and to the Point
A good HOA board meeting minutes is not a transcript of the entire meeting. It does not contain every single word uttered by every single person. It is also not something you write narratively. When taking down minutes, it is vital to keep it concise.
It does not need to be a long, winding description of how a board member delivered a point. Only include major points, such as decisions or resolutions, voting results, and the outcome of debates.
2. Ask for Clarification
When you are too engrossed in taking down notes, you might miss a few key points every now and then. Apart from listening attentively, a good minute taker is not afraid to ask for clarification, especially if you missed a point or are unsure about it. If your meeting minutes are not accurate, then they are not reliable.
3. Leave Opinions at the Door
It is easy to get wrapped up in a debate or drama, but do not let your minutes reflect them. Refrain from writing down judgments and comments, whether they are yours or someone else’s. Taking these items down is not helpful and will only open up your HOA board to legal issues or personal liability.
4. Type Instead of Write
Let’s face it — keeping up at meetings is not always possible. Some people talk so fast that you easily miss what they are saying. Take advantage of technology. Instead of writing down your meeting minutes with a pen and paper, use a computer or laptop. Typing boosts your speed and is more convenient when it comes to erasures than doing it the old-fashioned way.
5. Use a Recording Device
Although it is not mandatory, if you are really having a hard time keeping up, consider using a recording device. Doing so will ensure you capture all the important details of a meeting. All you need to do is play it back to go over the points you missed. Just make sure to delete the recording after completing your minutes. This way, no record of any personal comments or opinions made during the meeting will exist.
6. Edit Before Submitting
Your meeting minutes might make sense to you, but everybody else may find it confusing. Before submitting your meeting minutes for approval, make sure to edit it down. Summarize where necessary and see that it reads smoothly. People tend to jump from one topic to another during meetings, so make sure to collate and arrange the points appropriately.
7. Keep Community Members in the Loop
Residents of your HOA have a right to stay informed. After approval, distribute your meeting minutes so that community members know what discussions and decisions took place.
You should also do this even if your board meeting was open to everyone, as some homeowners might have been absent. Of course, some closed-door board meetings should remain private, as certain topics might be too sensitive or confidential.
Make board meeting minutes available within a reasonable amount of time. Some states have laws in place concerning this issue. You should also refer to your HOA governing documents for any related provisions. When distributing minutes, post them on your HOA’s website or social media page instead of physically giving out printed copies.
Compose Your Meeting Minutes Properly
Board meeting minutes not only serve as documentation, but they also provide structure. This is why it is important to keep your minutes brief, accurate, and clear. And, above all, objectivity reigns. The next time you write HOA board meeting minutes, keep these things in mind. The act of taking down minutes is essential, but how you do it also matters a lot.
If your homeowners association is having trouble with anything, including board meeting minutes, it might be time to work with an HOA management company. To look for the best one in your area, shoot us an email anytime.