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Give Me My Minutes!
Our HOA tends to limit the details of the meetings (whether regular or anything else) when they send the minutes to us homeowners. They are very secretive about most of the transactions that affect the Association. How can we homeowners require them to issue more detailed minutes?
Homeowner associations are a very big deal because they're virtually a layer of government. Battles between HOAs and homeowners are legendary; HOAs can have significant power and authority, and because they involve local real estate, HOAs can greatly impact the value of your home – for better or worse.
It's not clear that you can demand "more detailed" minutes if basic information is reported, but there are certainly things that can be done to assure better HOA transparency.
HOA rules vary by state, and the rules can also vary depending on whether you have a condominium, cooperative or homeowners association.
In general, all meetings should be open to the full membership, but there may be exceptions for such things as sessions with an attorney regarding litigation or meetings to discuss personnel, such as a performance review.
It is required that the HOA notifies members when meetings are held. How much in advance notice must be given varies, but the earlier the better.
Minutes typically include such information as where and when the meeting was held, when notice was sent out, who presided, whether there was a quorum, approval of the old minutes, new business, old business, reports, votes and adjournment. You can, if you like, take your own minutes.
However, we now live in the electronic era and it's perfectly possible for HOAs to offer more than written minutes. For instance, entire meetings can be audio or video recorded and then placed on the Internet.
And maybe that's solution – not only should HOA meetings be open and public, they should be broadcasted.
Perhaps requiring webcasts or podcasts in addition to minutes should be on the next HOA meeting agenda.
Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.View Foreclosure Article Archives
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