A good number of Board members understand that being a leader within their homeowners association can be a very rewarding yet sometimes thankless job. If they have been on the Board for any length of time, they also know that change is inevitable. Rules and regulations governing homeowners associations are consistently being reviewed and evaluated, and keeping up on the changes is just one responsibility of the Association board.
A piece of legislation that went into effect January 1, 2012 is directly related to how HOA boards make decisions and hold meetings. The changes are part of the Open Meeting Act, embodied in Senate Bill 563, and part of the larger Davis-Stirling Act.
Consider the following changes so you can adjust your practices if necessary
- Boards can no longer make unanimous decisions without a meeting. All Board decisions and actions must take place at a meeting.
- The definition of a 'meeting' has been tightened. If a majority of directors are together in person or electronically (audio or video), "to hear, discuss, or deliberate upon any item of business that is within the authority of the Board," this is a 'meeting' which needs to be properly noticed.
- No email meetings, or decisions can be made via email unless it is a true emergency and all directors consent to the emergency email meeting. This written consent must be filed in the minutes of the meeting.
- Executive sessions must now be noticed to homeowners association members, with agenda (very general to keep privacy), at least two days prior to the meeting.
Accept these changes as law and plan how your homeowners association board will operate accordingly.
Consider the following in response to these changes
- Plan ahead for meetings with a strategy to foresee and delegate some decision-making to the president, the property manager, or to a committee with less than a majority of the Board
- Include an executive session notice and agenda on the regular meeting agenda as a practice.
- Discuss particular detailed issues and strategies with your property manager, and when necessary, legal counsel.
It's the responsibility of HOA board members to protect, maintain, and enhance the homeowners association. There are always changes taking place with regards to laws, and it can be difficult to stay on top of it all while also trying to govern the Association.
If your Board is feeling overwhelmed consider hiring a property management company to help.