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Ask the HOA Expert: The Meeting Agenda

How does the board choreograph a meeting if not allowed to meet privately in advance? We have always scheduled work sessions every other month prior to the open board meetings. Some members are calling us on it. Some board members have said they will resign if they have to face a room full of homeowners every month.

Answer: The choreography of a meeting is called a “Meeting Agenda”. The board is always allowed to formulated an agenda ahead of the meeting. The board is not permitted to discuss or make decisions concerning the agenda item content outside the meeting venue. An agenda can be discussed and approved by email, phone, face to face or any other means.

Question: What’s the best procedure for filing a rule violation complaint with the HOA? We are getting bombarded with verbal complaints.

Answer: It depends on what the nature of the complaint is. If it is a noise issue, the affected resident should first be required to address the issue in person with the offender (unless there is a threat of violence) keeping a record of the issue, date, time and what the response was. If it happens again within a short period of time, say, one week, an email or letter should be directed to the board/manager with the details for further action.

If the issue involves something like parking, roaming pets, an email or letter should be directed to the board/manager with the specific details.

Do not take complaints verbally either in person or over the phone. They’re too easy to pull off. Require it be put in written form with all the details. It will generally reduce the number of complaints and put the issue in the complainer’s own words to eliminate misunderstanding.

Question: Our HOA sent out notices for our Annual Meeting by both regular mail and email. Our president prepared and sent the email notice and proxy without approval from the board. In the email notice, the president wrote that responding “Yes, a board member” was enough to assign their proxy to a board member. Is that allowed?

Answer: Transacting HOA meeting business by email may or may not be allowed by your governing documents or state statutes. Even if it is, a proxy needs to be in writing and carry the member’s signature to avoid fraud. The board (or president) has no authority to make up new standards for how proxies are handled.

Question: We divide our expenses equally, however, the master insurance policy premium is being allocated according to unit square footage which varies. Is that okay?

Answer: Unless the governing documents specifically permit a square footage allocation of insurance premiums, they should be allocated the same way as other expenses. Another common error occurs where, for example, the annual budget is allocated according to a square footage formula and a special assessment is assessed equally. Regardless of the type of assessment, the same allocation formula should be used. The board has no authority to change how expenses are allocated.

Written by Richard Thompson for Copyright © 2016 Realty Times All Rights Reserved. For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see