How to Take Minutes During Your HOA Board Meeting
HOA board meetings are necessary to have transparency. The reason for this is that there are several aspects related to management and finances that need to be discussed. HOAs are required to keep a record of their board meeting minutes; however, it is important to ensure the minutes are complete yet not too long by being filled with unnecessary information. Below, we discussed how to see what information and strategies can be utilized to keep HOA board meeting minutes effective and short for future readers:
Important Factors to Consider When Taking Minutes During Your HOA Board Meeting
Minutes are something that is often debated with HOA board meetings given how long they last and what information should or should not be included. Consider the following when deciding which information you should include in your minutes:
Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes
Before the meeting starts or at the beginning of it, it is important to approve the prior meeting’s minutes. This is something that will help the current meeting focus on issues that need to be followed upon to ensure their successful resolution. Be sure to have the prior minutes ready for approval and present them to the board members.
Follow the Agenda
When trying to figure out which things are necessary to write down, following the meeting agenda is a great basic strategy. Look at the main points and make sure to at least write down notes about how those issues were discussed and addressed.
Format Your Minutes in a Template
To keep your meeting organized, it is important to follow the agenda, but it is also important to keep the notes taken precisely. One way to achieve this is to create a template standard for all minutes. One popular way is to have an initial paragraph, middle paragraphs, final paragraph, and attachments if they are required. The initial paragraphs should have basic information about attendance and the date or time of the meeting. The middle paragraphs should cover an item discussed on the agenda and what was decided.
The middle paragraphs will vary greatly depending on the length of the agenda for each particular board meeting. The final paragraph covers what was decided and what is remaining for the next meeting along with the time it was concluded. Attachments may be placed at the back of the minutes if they are relevant to any of the decisions made in the HOA board meeting.
Collect a List of Attendees
It is important to collect a list of attendees. Don’t forget to indicate which board members, guests, or attorneys by proxy are present in each meeting so it is clear who voted on items when issues are discussed and decided.
Type Your Notes
Even though many minutes are written by hand, it is much faster to type them and then save them to the appropriate place. Typing also enables individuals writing minutes to create easy-to-read and organized minutes that can be referenced in the future.
Avoid Taking Notes on Expert Research
At times, expert research is presented during HOA board meetings. This information is not necessarily required to include in the minutes and should ideally be excluded to avoid writing more minutes content than necessary.
Do Not Take Notes on Owner’s Comments
The owner’s comments are not necessary for the minutes if they have raised unique issues that were not on the agenda. Try to limit notes on these subjects unless you are aware that these issues may have future liabilities for the HOA. If you feel something is worth including, do so, but do not write down every single issue that is mentioned if they are not relevant.
Include the Duration of the Meeting
Including the duration is important to have an idea of how long conversations were taking place and whether the HOA board was able to cover the relevant issues on the agenda at a specified time.
Think of Your HOA Like a Business
There will be times that upcoming fun events will be mentioned in passing by residents or HOA board member products. The only minutes that need to be taken are items relevant to the HOA as a business rather than social events. Keep this mindset in mind when deciding which items are important to write down and which items can be left off of the minutes.
Leave Emotions Out of Your Notes
If issues are heated in the meeting, it is best to stick to a simple formula. Write down the discussed item, whether objections were raised, and what the resolution was. Keeping this simple format is easy to keep in a bullet point list and is effective for future readers to understand the nature of events.
A Review of Current Association Finances
Mentioning the current finances of the HOA is a wise decision in HOA Board Meetings. If this information is presented, it should be included in the minutes.
Resolution of Items from Previous Meetings
If there were items that were decided upon in previous meetings, it is useful to write down what occurred since the last meeting and whether the issues were resolved, or the solutions were implemented effectively.
Key Points of Open Discussion
At times, the open discussion does occur during HOA board meetings. The key is to separate what is relevant and what is not. If you hear something that may become relevant for the HOA, it is important to take note of what conversation took place in the “Open Discussion” section of your minutes.
Consider Recording the Meeting
Meetings can happen quickly, and it can be difficult to fully write down everything important that occurred. By having a copy of the meeting agenda along with a recorder, it can be helpful to replay any sections that were not clear while they were occurring. Then, when the transcriber ends up reviewing their notes, they can clarify any potential missing details that were not included in the original version of the minutes.
Format Your Notes After the Meeting Is Complete
It is wise to take five or ten minutes to quickly clean up your notes after the meeting while the events are still fresh in your head. At this time, you can also divide events with headings and utilize bullet-point lists to make your notes more organized. If you have used a recording, play it for parts that you are still unsure about. These efforts are worthwhile because they will leave no misunderstandings about what occurred in the meeting. It can also be useful in case you need to explain certain issues that were discussed.
Why Working with a Community Association Management Company Is Beneficial for Streamlining Your HOA Board Meetings
Many administrative tasks are required for HOAs to complete. For this reason, HOAs can save a great deal of time by working with a community association management company that specializes in streamlining the processes of HOAs. One example of a process that is time-consuming for HOAs is the issue related to who will transcribe the HOA board meeting minutes.
By working with a community association management company, HOA board members can delegate the task of taking minutes to their community association management company. This will help efficiency in terms of ensuring an expert is taking appropriate and effective minutes that meet industry standards along with ensuring that those meeting minutes are well organized in a database that is accessible when the time comes to review them.
How Clark Simson Miller Can Help You Manage You HOA Board Meetings
Make sure you carefully consider how your Community Association is taking its board meeting minutes. If you do not manage your community’s practices efficiently, you are bound to run into major issues in the future. Documenting HOA board meeting minutes is important for accurate HOA records should a dispute arise later on. Clark Simson Miller can efficiently assist your Community Association in this matter.