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Community associations are required by law to hold one meeting of their members each year. The major purpose of annual meetings is to let homeowners know about relevant business conducted by the association’s board of directors, as well as about other important association matters. These meetings also provide an opportunity for homeowners to be heard, ask questions and discuss issues. Annual meetings are often scheduled to coincide with board member elections. In addition, homeowners generally vote on their annual budget at these meetings.
The board of directors is required to notify homeowners of the annual meeting within a set time period prior to the meeting. The notice must either be mailed to homeowners or conspicuously displayed on the property, and it must include the date, time, and location of the meeting. The specific requirements for conducting annual meetings and providing notice will vary based on your association’s governing documents and state statutes.
Every community association is governed by a board of directors elected by the members of the association. The board is required to meet on a regular basis, as outlined in the association’s governing documents. Depending on state laws and the association’s governing documents, all association members may attend board meetings. At these meetings, the board discusses items such as the association budget, any new policies or rules being considered, progress reports on capital improvements, committee reports, and other association business. This is also an opportunity for members to raise any concerns they may have with a rule or policy or suggest new items for the board to consider in the future.
In between regularly scheduled board meetings, the board may call a special meeting if there are specific problems, concerns or suggestions that come up, or if something happens that isn’t usually addressed in your regular meetings. Regardless of the reason a special meeting is called, it can only address the issue that is specified in the meeting notice. If another issue arises during the meeting, it must be tabled until a later time.
Your association’s governing documents will determine who is allowed to call a special meeting, when it is appropriate and procedures for notifying your membership and running the meeting. Usually, a homeowner must create a petition stating the reason for the meeting, obtain a required number of signatures and then present that petition to the board. If the meeting request is approved, a special meeting will be held. As with all meetings, advance notice to homeowners is required, but the time frame may be shorter than for other scheduled meetings. As always, follow the rules specified in your governing documents, as well as local laws, and consult your association attorney if you have any questions.
Executive (closed) Meetings
If the board needs to discuss a confidential matter, it will hold an executive meeting by closing part of its regular board meeting. Only board members are allowed to attend this closed portion. Topics that may be reserved for an executive meeting include litigation, financial issues concerning an individual homeowner, criminal misconduct investigations and disciplinary matters. The board may not take any action during an executive meeting. This must occur during the open portion of its board meeting.
Emergency meetings are held when unforeseen circumstances require immediate attention and possible board action. Although emergency meetings do not require notice, state laws and association bylaws generally dictate notice requirements.