Last year, we talked about how to run a successful homeowners association meeting. Now, we’re revamping our quick tips and tricks to include a few new ideas on planning and executing a productive meeting:
Notify residents: When it comes to notifying residents, each community has different rules and regulations. Your bylaws detail the residents’ preferred method of contact, how far in advance to contact, and more. Usually notifications go out no less than 10 but no more than 90 days in advance.
IKO Tip: If your neighborhood has a social media account, we recommend posting the time, date, and meeting location at least once a week. It’s hard to miss a notice when it’s posted on multiple platforms.
Tell residents what to expect: No one likes going in blind. By telling your residents what to expect in an HOA meeting, they can come prepared with questions, comments, and concerns, which makes for a more productive discussion.
IKO Tip: If you’re emailing residents about what to expect, include a bulleted list of discussion topics. Because a list is easy to skim through, they’re more likely to read the topics and contribute to the conversation when the time comes.
Provide food: Unfortunately, the most reasonable time to get together is between the end of the workday and bedtime, which means your HOA meeting falls during peak dinner hours for most families. While the average meeting shouldn’t be more than an hour, it’s a good idea to provide food. This'll entice people to attend and ease any tension from missing dinner.
IKO Tip: While you may be tempted to order a few large pizzas, meat and cheese platters, or another easy snack, it’s wise to take food allergies into consideration. At the bottom of your RSVP email, ask residents to contact you if they have any food concerns. They’ll greatly appreciate you going to the extra mile.
Assemble packets: The most important meeting that residents are encouraged to attend, based on most community guidelines, is the annual meeting where the proposed budget, elections, individual committee reports, and items of common interest will be discussed. For this meeting, it’s a good idea to assemble a short packet of information, so those who are not as regularly involved with homeowners association matters can easily follow along.
IKO Tip: Another meeting that residents should attend are emergency meetings, which are “necessary when circumstances that could not have been reasonably anticipated and which require immediate attention or possible action by the board,” according to The Highnell Companies, a community management company in Chico, Calif.
Because the agenda of these meetings cannot be anticipated, we suggest creating an email template where your HOA president can plug in the circumstances and distribute the information accordingly.
Introduce everyone. Your homeowners association acts through its board of directors, and your residents may not know who these individuals, whether volunteered or elected, are. Begin each meeting by introducing your president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. This eliminates any confusion, establishes order, and develops respect for position.
IKO Tip: If you want to go one step further, invite the head of each subcommittee. Introduce him or her, and allow them time to explain what their committee does for the community. This also gives residents a direct point of contact for more minor matters, instead of calling the board or their community management company.
With these expert tips, you can create a productive atmosphere for your residents during HOA meetings, whether they’re annual or emergency.