Every HOA board meeting is required by law to keep minutes. Keeping minutes is important because it records all of the board’s decisions and actions. Minutes can also help when there’s a disagreement or misunderstanding about a specific topic.
Meeting minutes also keep track of the different ideas and points of view that were brought up during discussions. Because of this, meeting minutes must be correct. Once the information is written down, the board (and, in many cases, the owners) can use it whenever necessary.
A safe way to store documents online makes it easier for everyone to get to the meeting minutes. You can even set permissions on some platforms, which means you can limit access when you need to. When you store the documents online, they won’t get lost or broken.
Keeping detailed minutes can be a problem for your association. Any meeting of an association or board must have minutes. They are a record of what was done and decided at a meeting, but they are not a transcript of everything said or done. The more useless details written into board meeting minutes, the more likely homeowners will look too closely at what the board does.
What are the HOA meeting minutes?
The HOA meeting minutes are an official record of the board members’ actions at a board meeting. Meeting minutes should be short, factual, and show what was done at the meeting, not a complete record of what was said and what people thought.
Who should take the meeting minutes?
If your HOA doesn’t already have a person in charge of taking notes, the board should first choose someone to do that job. There should also be a backup plan if that person can’t make it to a meeting.
Most of the time, the secretary is the one who writes down the meeting minutes. However, a board may hire or elect a recording secretary so that the general secretary can participate in the meeting. If the association has a property manager, they may be asked to take meeting minutes, write them up, and share them.
Taking notes at board meetings is a skill that can be learned through study and practice. Effective note-taking is not a skill everyone is born with, but most people can learn and master it. In fact, experts recommend that all board members know how to take meeting minutes, even if they aren’t all going to be responsible for it.
When board members go to open sessions, they are encouraged to take their own notes so they can use the information immediately if needed. Depending on their job and how long the meeting was, it can take the person taking notes anywhere from a few days to more than a week to write up the minutes.
How to write meeting minutes
Write down the date and time at the start of each session. Then, write down the goal(s) of the meeting to give some background. You could use the goals to make a title for the notes if that would help you find them later. Next, fill in the names of the people who show up so that you don’t include someone who doesn’t show up.
Now comes the hardest part. The person taking minutes must write down what’s on the agenda and ensure the most important things are written down. Don’t try to write down everything exactly as it was said. This will make it harder for other people to find what they are looking for, and no one wants to read through pages and pages of minutes. Even if you write down more than you need, that’s fine. After the meeting, you can always go back and clean up the notes.
Here are a few more tips on how to write good minutes:
- Take attendance
- Be clear and concise.
- Keep minutes to about two pages
- Be objective
- If you need more information, just ask
- Use a template.
- Make minutes as soon as possible after the meeting.
Why is it important to take good HOA meeting minutes?
It’s important to take good minutes since they are a legal record of the group and can be used in court. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable reading the minutes in court, and make sure they explain why a decision was made.
If it’s an official meeting, it’s essential to take minutes, or else it might as well not have happened. But if there aren’t enough people to make a quorum, the meeting isn’t official, and there’s no need to take minutes. Meetings that are canceled or moved should be written down in the official minute book so that an accurate record can be kept.
What exactly should be included in meeting minutes?
Here are some of the most important things to write in the minutes of an HOA meeting:
- The name of the association
- The type of meeting being held, like special meeting, annual meeting (AGM), monthly meeting, etc.
- The date and location of the meeting
- The time at which the meeting started and adjourned
- A roll call of those who are present and absent with their respective board positions
- Approval of previous minutes
- Committee reports
- New business from open discussions
- All motions, including approved and disapproved motions
- Actions that are taken
- Names of members who voted abstained, or dissented from a motion
- A record of all financial transactions, including bank account opening and closing, reserve expenditure, etc.
These are general things that every HOA board meeting must cover. But the laws in your city or state might have more items and rules about how to take minutes at an HOA board meeting.
Should minutes be taken at all HOA board meetings?
Yes, by law, all official board meetings have to keep minutes. But it’s not official if there aren’t enough people at a meeting, and no minutes should be taken. Make sure to write down any missed or canceled meetings in the minute book. This will help in the future.
How long should the HOA maintain its meeting minutes?
As part of its official records, the HOA board must keep its meeting minute book for as long as it exists. They tell an essential part of the history of the HOA and might be useful in the future. Check your state and local laws to find out how long your HOA must keep meeting minutes.
Benefits of taking board meeting minutes
- Meeting minutes help get everyone’s thoughts out in the open so that the board can look at problems from different points of view and find the best solution.
- During board meetings, the board can put it off until another meeting if a topic goes over the time limit. The board can pick up where they left off based on facts, not guesses, from the meeting minutes.
- Because meeting minutes are accurate records of what was said, they can be used as evidence in court and a good defense in any lawsuit.
How long should the minutes of HOA meetings be kept?
Meeting minutes are the official record of the HOA, so they should be kept for as long as the association exists. But official rules about keeping HOA meeting minutes (both on paper and digitally) vary by association and state.