Homeowners associations (HOA) are legal entities, often corporations, and they can't run themselves. Typically, HOAs hold regular meetings of their members to keep things running smoothly. Because these associations govern the rules, regulations, and maintenance of housing developments and complexes, these meetings are necessary and important.
Meetings Are Usually Required
Although all homeowners are members of their HOAs, associations usually include board members as well. Board members might be other homeowners elected by the majority. They might be individuals appointed by the developer of the property. The bylaws of most HOAs require that board members must gather for periodic meetings.
All associations usually meet at least once a year to deal with major issues, but other meetings may take place quarterly, monthly, or even in response to a specific problem.
Homeowners Should Try to Attend
Some HOA meetings are closed to homeowner members, such as those where issues of the development's employees are discussed. Most meetings are open, and homeowners should attend. Often, rules are decided that will determine what they can and can't do with their homes. These rules must be followed, even if an uninformed homeowner wasn't present when they were decided.
Several Issues May Be Discussed
Annual HOA meetings usually address the association's budget. The budget directly affects association dues or fees, which all homeowners are required to pay. Homeowners who don't want their dues to go up will want to attend the annual meeting and make their voices heard before a decision is made.
Other meetings might deal with homeowner complaints and suggestions for improvements to the development. Complaints may result in rule changes, which are typically made by a vote of the majority of members present.
Quorums Are Usually Required
The bylaws of HOAs usually require that votes be passed by a quorum of members. A quorum is a certain percentage or number of homeowners who must be present at the meeting. Without a quorum, two unhappy members could get together and make decisions that would affect the entire community.
Most associations allow members to vote by proxy. In other words, a member can tell another member how he or she wants to vote. That member will attend the meeting and vote the proxy in addition to the member's own vote. Proxy votes typically count toward quorums.
A Real Estate Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding HOA annual and other meetings is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a real estate lawyer.