Is your HOA board ready for the association’s annual meeting? Typically, most homeowner’s associations hold their annual meetings at the end or beginning of the year. Not only is it a great way to keep members informed, but it’s also the time for many HOAs to hold board elections – in fact, it’s also the law in many states, such as California.
If your HOA is in California or another state that mandates your election process, you probably don’t need much advice on how to plan for the meeting, says David C. Swedelson, the principal at Swedelson & Gottlieb, a law firm that represents associations in the Los Angeles area.
“In California, the answer to how you prepare for your election at an annual meeting would be easy,” he says. “As of 2006, every association is required to have election rules, and they should spell out the steps and procedures for your HOA’s election process. If your HOA doesn’t have the required election rules, it’s not in compliance with the civil code.”
Be sure you’ve actually got election rules, adds Swedelson. “A lot of associations say they have election rules. They say, ‘We have our bylaws.’ And I say to them: ‘Those aren’t election rules.’”
But annual meetings involve more than elections. That’s why Nathaniel Abbate Jr., a partner at Makower Abbate & Associates PLLC in Farmington Hills, Mich., who represents associations, recommends you start by taking a big-picture view of the meeting.
“The best-run associations usually have a strategic plan that incorporates each annual meeting as a golden opportunity to encourage more involvement on the part of its members to further that plan,” says Abbate. “Keeping that big picture in mind makes planning for an annual meeting relatively easy.”
Did you know that in California, failure to meet is actually against the law?
According to Davis-Stirling.com:
If the board fails or refuses to hold an annual membership meeting within 60 days after the date designated in the governing documents or within 15 months of the association's last regular meeting, any member can file a petition in superior court to have the court order a meeting. (Corp. Code §7510(c); Samii v La Villa Grande.)
It’s never too early for the HOA board to start planning for the annual meeting, especially if board elections will be taking place. There are many pieces and parts involved and it can become an overwhelming venture for any HOA board member.