A common question asked among residents in a homeowners association is, how many board members should an association have? The answer is that it really depends on what the association's governing documents state. Typically, the number of HOA board members an association should have is found in the bylaws of the association. But in general, you should have a three- or five-member board of directors. Some have more, depending on the size of the association. A good starting place is to consult your bylaws.
Governing Documents: CC&Rs vs. Bylaws
People often get the CC&Rs and Bylaws confused. There are two major distinctions in a homeowners association. The CC&Rs determine how the association is governed and the bylaws determine how the association is run by the board.
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs)
The CC&Rs contain the most comprehensive information about the HOA. They are recorded with the County Recorder when a property is sold, while the Bylaws are not. The CC&Rs is the binding document recorded with the title for the home.
The CC&Rs also detail the duties and power of the Board. For example, generally the Board has the authority to make decisions about whether to increase HOA fees or hire a property management company. The CC&Rs also provide the proper protocol for potential issues like a fire or other natural disaster.
If there’s anything stated in another governing document that conflicts with the CC&Rs, the CC&Rs win. Since they are the “big wig” of an association’s governing documents, they also contain the procedures for amendments – like if you needed to amend the Bylaws, the CC&Rs would tell you how.
Bylaws address the operational aspects in terms of how the HOA is run, procedures for meetings and elections, and oftentimes describe the association’s rights and responsibilities. For example, associations are run by a board of directors elected by and made up of members in the association. The bylaws typically set term limits for board members and how many members sit on the board. If your current bylaws state that a 3-member board is sufficient, but your association has experienced massive growth, it might make sense to amend the bylaws to state that a 5-member board is required to reflect the growth of the association.
Amendments to the Bylaws may, and often do, have different requirements than the CC&Rs and a quorum may or may not be one of these requirements. The particular Bylaws will explain the requirements.
Who Should Be an HOA Board Member
Once you consult the bylaws to determine how many board members your HOA should have, and propose an amendment, if necessary, the rest of that question should ask…"and WHO is an ideal board member?"
A board of directors has its own unique personality, made up of the individual personalities of its members. Sometimes, boards tend to be strict and self-serving, other times they are passive and lenient. The key is to find the right members to be on the board and strike a balance.
A good HOA board member looks something like this:
- Attention to detail and the big picture
- Commitment to consistency
- Sense of fair play
- Good communication skills
- Understands basic HOA principles
- Already attends HOA meetings or events
- Follows HOA rules
- Pays HOA dues
- Understand board authority comes first
- Is a fiduciary
Your community is only as good as you make it and establishing and maintaining a sense of community is part of an HOA board member’s responsibilities. Being an HOA board member may be one of the most rewarding ways you’ll find to volunteer your time.