The homeowner’s association (HOA) is responsible for making and enforcing rules for the properties within its planned community or condominium. HOA board members are typically volunteers within the planned community or condominium that aim to maintain a standard appearance for the community in an effort to increase property values. HOA board members are also responsible for making collective decisions about topics such as maintenance and landscaping regarding common property areas.
It’s not unusual for extremely delicate situations to be discussed during HOA board meetings, which can cause some friction among board members. Because board members won’t always agree with each other, it can be difficult to get much accomplished in board meetings. If you can relate to these frustrations, here are several tips for how to lead productive board meetings:
- Establish a clear agenda for the meeting in advance.
A common challenge with HOA board meetings is that they turn into a social hour, which makes it difficult to stay on task and accomplish the objectives of the meeting. To keep your HOA board members on topic, establish a clear agenda for the meeting in advance and circulate it to all board members. The agenda will ensure that you address all of the relevant issues during the meeting and will help serve as a guide to re-steer the meeting to when discussions veer off track.
- Be positive and avoid division among board members.
The mood in an HOA board meeting can be comfortable one moment and extremely awkward in the next if an issue comes up that divides board members. When you use a professional property management company, you can have a neutral third-party in the room that is experienced in helping with negotiations between board members that disagree on a topic. A property management professional is able to offer recommendations and expertise without taking sides on an issue.
- Designate someone to serve as a mediator to prevent board members from pointing blame.
Some board members speak up more than others, and at times it seems as though there is a single board member controlling the discussion. To avoid this, dedicate an unbiased person such as a property management professional to serve as the mediator. This unbiased third-party will note that the member’s comments have been recorded and will encourage the discussion to move on to the next topic.
- Create a sense of urgency by outlining action items and establishing deadlines for accomplishing them.
While there can often be disagreements in meetings, it’s important to remind HOA board members that they are all working towards common goals. As a best practice, outline action items and establish agreed upon deadlines for accomplishing these items in every board meeting. This will help to keep the board meetings more about strategy rather than heated discussions.
If you’re currently self-managing your HOA board meetings and feel that you could benefit from the involvement of a property management company, please contact us at Vesta Property Services. We have more than 25 years of experience in serving communities in Florida with all of their property management needs.