Good record keeping is mandatory for HOA boards for the sake of transparency and accountability. But not every comment and idea that comes up during a board meeting needs to end up in the HOA meeting minutes. This is good news for the board secretary who would need to have the skills of a court reporter to capture every word! Instead, the minutes should serve as a record of the agenda items covered along with the key decisions that were made.
Note: This is a general overview of common best practices. Please refer to state regulations and your HOA’s governing documents for complete requirements.
As per Roberts Rules of Order, it’s best to start your HOA meeting minutes with an initial paragraph setting the context.
Use the next section of the minutes to document the items on the agenda (with a separate paragraph for each one). These might include:
How much detail do these sections need? A short summary of each one should suffice. If there is important documentation involved, such as financial information in the treasurer’s report, you can attach this to the minutes. However, only include attachments with the board’s approval. Also, keep in mind that the minutes will be available to any and all members of the association on request.
Meetings should be about making decisions and getting things done. That’s why it’s critical to accurately record every motion and the outcome of voting on each motion. If a person or committee is responsible for carrying out an agenda decision, note this down so there is a record of who is accountable for getting it done. Close the minutes with a paragraph stating the time the meeting ended.
Leave out opinions, side conversations, and unnecessary details. The minutes are meant to serve as an overview of decisions and actions, not a blow-by-blow account of the entire meeting. Including too much detail can lead to trouble down the road in terms of liability as well. Each attendee can keep their own personal notes of the meeting. They may even be record the meeting via audio or video. However, these records are not part of the official meeting minutes.
Elizabeth Harrin over at Girl’s Guide to Project Management has some good ideas for making it easier to keep good minutes. But it’s also fine to have your HOA management company do the heavy lifting of record keeping for your HOA, including keeping minutes and facilitating meetings. That way, all the members of the board and the attendees can focus on participating in the meeting instead of documenting what happened.
At Ardent, we have the experience to help your meetings run smoothly. We will also make sure your record keeping is compliant with best practices, your HOA’s internal regulations, and state laws. Contact our team for more tips and advice today.