In homeowners associations, residents are encouraged to attend and observe HOA board meetings. Does your Association have many residents attend the board meetings? Some Associations have many residents that participate and attend meetings and other communities may never have a resident attend a meeting. This entirely depends on the Association.
If a resident would like to bring an issue to the Board’s attention during a board meeting, they should be welcomed to speak during the homeowner forum—a time set aside just for homeowners so that everyone who attends has an opportunity for a meaningful exchange with the HOA board.
Here are some guidelines to observe:
- Although homeowners within the community are all neighbors, a board meeting is a corporate business meeting. Attendees should behave accordingly.
- If a member would like to address the board, please have them sign in when they arrive. They will be called in the order in which they signed up. This allows the HOA board to contact the member should they need to gather further information on an issue and to report back to the member with an answer.
- The homeowner forum is an exchange of ideas, not a gripe session. If a member is bringing a problem to the Board's attention, it is productive to hear ideas for a solution too.
- To keep the meeting businesslike, it may be best for a member to refrain from speaking if they are particularly upset about an issue. Have them consider speaking later, speaking privately with a board member, or putting their concerns in writing and emailing them to the Board.
- Only one person may speak at a time. Meeting attendees need to respect the opinion of others by remaining silent and still when someone else has the floor.
- Each member will be allowed to speak for no more than five minutes. Meeting attendees need to respect the volunteers’ time by limiting their remarks.
- If a member needs more than five minutes for the homeowner forum, the Board can have them put their comments in writing. Ask them to include background information, causes, circumstances, desired solutions and other considerations that they believe are important. The board may make the member's written summary an agenda item at the next meeting.
The Board of Directors in a homeowners association may not be able to resolve all member concerns on the spot, and they may choose not to argue or debate an issue with a member during the homeowner forum.
The HOA board usually needs to discuss and vote on the issue first. But, at the very least, having guidelines to follow for the homeowner forum will help the board meeting run smoother and the exchange with members easier to manage.