Sometimes it's confusing for volunteers to know and understand their place on the HOA board. Each board member must hold an officer position, but if you have a Board of Directors comprised of more than five individuals, you may have a position called “member at large.” The duties and position of the member at large can often be confusing, and while it may look different for each association, there is general agreement of what the position consists of.
The actual duties of the governing board will vary from development to development depending on the governing documents. However, there are certain duties of each board that are common:
- The financial well-being of the association
- The operations in the association
Both are guided by standards established by state and national laws, local ordinances and codes, and the rules of the association itself.
It’s in your bylaws that you’re going to find the detailed duties of each of the board member's positions. This usually includes the offices of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Sometimes a secretary-treasurer position can be combined into one, especially if you have a smaller board of only three members. If you have a five-person or more board, you might have one or more members at large.
Typical duties of each officer position are as follows:
- Acts as the leader of the HOA
- Presides over HOA board meetings
- Serves as general manager overseeing day-to-day matters (unless you’ve hired an HOA manager)
- Serves as the liaison between the board and an HOA manager
- Communicates regularly with the HOA manager or other expert if a problem or issue comes up
- Co-signs checks
- Supports the president if called upon by the president
- Performs the duties of the president in the president’s absence
- Steps up if the president has to resign
- Reviews and understands the association’s financials
- Reports financial status of the association at meetings
- Oversees the operating and reserve accounts
- Keeps and maintains the association’s financial documents
- Oversees deposits, investments, and the preparation of the budgets
- Ensures bills are paid
- Is involved in preparation of the reserve study
- Co-signs with president or secretary
Member at Large (also referred to as Director at Large)
- Fifth voting member of the HOA Board
- Performs duties as assigned
According to Davis-Stirling.com:
“Many in the HOA industry use the term to describe a director who is not an officer. A director at large has the same voting rights as all other directors but without the extra duties associated with being an officer.”
In other words, a member at large has the same obligations as a member of the board; but your governing documents will give specific duties to your officers, and the member at large wouldn't have specific duties assigned to them in those documents.
It’s important to note that all board members, whether you're an officer or a member at large, have equal voting power when you vote on items on the agenda. A member at large is not considered a lesser position in that sense.
The most important roles of a homeowner’s association are to protect, maintain and enhance the asset - or property values - by enforcing neighborhood covenants and maintenance of common areas. For this to happen the association must have a strong board of directors, and each person who sits on the board must perform their job. This will help the association run smoothly and provide added value to homeowners.