Property management frequently asked questions

Whether you are a new resident in a homeowner association or a seasoned board member looking for additional information and resources, you can find answers to some of the most common and pressing questions of community management here.

Our team of industry experts has curated educational resources via guides, webinars, infographics, and articles on various topics to help you learn more. You can also read our success stories in communities we’ve partnered with to see how FirstService Residential has simplified community living through its advanced management solutions.

To access additional resources, visit our article archive.

Questions about community associations, HOAs, and condo associations

Your HOA’s specific rules and policies are spelled out in the Governing Documents (Articles of Incorporation, Declaration, Bylaws, etc.), which provide comprehensive information about the association’s operations, as well as the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), which detail its policies and procedures on architectural guidelines, pets, parking, noise, amenity usage, rentals, fee schedules, non-compliance fines and much more.

To access your community’s governing documents, speak with your management team.
Each community association is governed by its own unique rules and policies. These are created by the board and itemized in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws. These clearly define the behavior and actions homeowners can and cannot take regarding their homes and communities. These rules and policies protect property values by keeping the community clean, safe, and beautiful and ensuring a harmonious living environment for all residents. The CC&Rs are enforced by the HOA's board of directors or by a property management company hired by the association to uphold the board’s decisions. Homeowners are required to follow all the community’s rules, even if they disagree, and non-compliance can result in fines or legal action.

To learn more, read our article What You Need to Know about HOA CC&Rs.

A homeowners association (HOA) is a corporation that serves as the governing body of a residential community, such as a condominium, townhome, or single-family development. HOAs are created to protect the community’s property values by developing and upholding its covenants and bylaws, which define the actions homeowners may take with their properties and their behavior within the community. HOAs are often formed by real estate developers during the development and sales stages, during which they assume financial and legal responsibility and retain voting and governance rights. Association ownership and all related responsibility are transferred to homeowners at turnover, which occurs after selling a specified number of units. 

Since most HOAs are incorporated, they are subject to statutes governing homeowner associations and not-for-profit corporations, as mandated by each state or province. All community homeowners are mandatory members of the HOA and must follow the community’s guidelines to ensure a harmonious environment and lifestyle; failure to comply can result in fines or other penalties. 

For more information, read our article What is an HOA? FAQs about Homeowner Associations

Lifestyle communities are built around shared interests. They attract people who are interested in the lifestyle that the community promotes. Generally, the board dedicates some of the residents’ assessment fees toward lifestyle programming, which volunteers, the property management team, or a dedicated lifestyle director may carry out. The community's shared vision determines programming and may include everything from tennis and golf to rock climbing and hiking to wine tastings and gourmet dinners.  A community built around a golf course, with designated golf cart paths and charging stations, and special course access for residents, is an example of a lifestyle community.

Sometimes, active adult communities are also lifestyle communities, but lifestyle communities can exist for all age ranges and living situations.  Lifestyle communities may be high-rises, townhomes, single family homes, or combined communities. Although most people think of large suburban or semi-rural properties when they think about lifestyle communities, more are popping up in urban centers as millennial buyers reshape those centers into mixed-use areas emphasizing a live/work/play environment.
An HOA’s board of directors is comprised of homeowners who have volunteered to stand for election to leadership or member roles. The developer can also appoint individuals to facilitate turnover and management when the community is complete. The board comprises officers, typically including an elected president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary, and non-officer board members. Board leaders and members serve the community by making and enforcing the association’s rules and policies, collecting dues, and ensuring its facilities and common areas are well-managed, maintained, and attractive.
You automatically become a member of the homeowner association and a shareholder as a condition of purchasing a home within a common interest development (CID). Your HOA membership entitles you to voting rights, which gives you a voice in helping to set association rules, policies, and regulations that affect your community. In addition, all association members must share the costs of operating and maintaining your community’s common areas, systems, equipment, and amenities. These services are covered by your HOA fees or dues, which each unit owner must pay. Payments are made to the association monthly, bi-monthly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the community.

HOA fees are used to pay the costs of ongoing maintenance and repairs to a community’s common areas, equipment, systems, and shared amenities (see examples below). Payments are made monthly, annually, semi-annually, or quarterly, depending on the community. As an ancillary benefit, homeowners can use and enjoy community amenities that they may not otherwise be able to afford or maintain, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, gym memberships, or valet services.  In addition, depending on what services are included in their HOA fees, homeowners may not have to pay separately for lawn maintenance, snow removal, cable TV, electricity, and other services. 
HOA services can include:  

  • Lawn care and landscaping 

  • Snow removal 

  • Water, plumbing, and sewage systems 

  • A/C and heating systems 

  • Electric system and lighting 

  • Sanitation system 

  • Trash removal 

  • Security system and gates 

  • Elevator system 

  • Cleaning, painting, and upkeep of exteriors and common areas, such as hallway walls, carpeting, clubhouse, etc. 

  • Pest control 

  • Repairs of roofs, interior roads, pipes, elevators, etc., due to age, weather conditions, or other damage 

  • Maintenance of shared amenities, such as pool, fitness equipment, clubhouse, etc.  

  • Front desk and concierge services 

  • Cable TV and internet 

HOA fees are also used to pay for a master insurance policy to protect the community’s building structures, exteriors, and property against damage and other insurance riders and add-ons as required. In addition, fees cover utility payments for all common areas, such as electricity, lighting, water, heating, and air conditioning.  
Fiscally sound HOAs allocate a portion of homeowner dues to a special long-term reserve account to cover planned and budgeted renovations or repairs that do not occur regularly, such as repaving interior roads or replacing elevator machinery. They also set aside monthly contingency funds to cover unforeseen community expenses and emergencies. 
In addition, fees are used to pay for salaries and benefits for internal management, maintenance, and janitorial staff members, as well as the services of a professional community association management company to manage operations and maintenance and enforce the board’s rules and decisions. 

You can find more information in our article What Is An HOA Fee? And What Does Your HOA Fee Cover? 

Your association’s rules and regulations are created to protect your community’s property values, enhance its lifestyle, and promote a friendly, agreeable, and fair environment for residents. While the rules may keep you from taking certain liberties pertaining to your home or community, they also prevent your neighbors from performing nuisance or disruptive behavior. As a homeowner and member of your association, you are obligated to obey its rules, so be sure you fully understand them, ideally before you buy a home in the community. 

You can find more information in our article Navigating HOA bylaws: Can your HOA change its bylaws?

Questions about condominiums, high-rise, and co-ops

A condominium, often called a “condo” for short, can refer to a building or complex comprised of individually owned apartments or houses or a specific real estate component individually owned by a homeowner or investor. In cases of individual ownership, condominiums usually refer to residential units like apartments but can also include other owned properties such as parking garages, parking spaces, or other deeded entities.

All building or property condo owners are legally entitled to shared access to all common facilities, such as elevators, hallways, heating systems, amenities, and exteriors. The condo association controls the right to utilize common areas, which is comprised of all condo owners and represents their interests. The condo association collects dues from homeowners and uses these funds to cover the building’s operations and maintenance activities, including repairs, insurance, reserves, building staff payroll, and upkeep of common areas and amenities.
While both types of residential units may look the same, the difference between them is ownership. A condominium is a unit owned by an individual homeowner or investor legally entitled to share common areas with all other owners, per the homeowners association. An apartment building is usually owned by an individual or corporation, with individual units leased to occupants. Apartment tenants may use shared facilities and amenities according to their rental agreement or lease conditions.

For more information, read our article 5 key differences between condos and apartments .
“High-rise” refers to a building that vertically rises seven or more stories. A high-rise condominium is governed by a condo association, which manages the building’s operations and maintenance activities. These activities are funded by collecting dues from condo owners, which cover upkeep and repairs to common areas and amenities, as well as insurance, staff payroll, and reserves. As a result, condo owners do not have to perform routine upkeep, maintenance, and repairs of common areas, including roofs, equipment, systems, landscaping, and grounds.

For more information, read our article Is high rise apartment living for you?
High-rise condominium owners can enjoy a wide selection of on-site amenities and services – many of which may not be affordable or accessible in single-family homes. Depending on the building, location, and residents’ needs and lifestyles, high-rise amenities may include swimming pools, fitness centers, front desk services, concierge and valet services, social and lifestyle programs, sauna, and steam rooms, walking and bike trails, libraries, business centers, media and meeting rooms, theaters, wine cellars, clubrooms, and many others.

To learn more about the latest amenities defining high-rise communities, read our article High Expectations: 7 luxury amenities redefining high-rise condos.
High-rise buildings are usually located in desirable settings, such as urban or resort areas, often conveniently close to business, recreational, entertainment, and cultural centers. Many high-rises also offer scenic skylines, beaches, or other dramatic views, especially from some of the higher floors.
Cooperatives, commonly called co-ops, are owned by a corporation and are not considered real property. That means that when you buy a co-op, you do not own the housing unit; instead, you become a shareholder in the corporation that owns the property and receive a proprietary lease that entitles you to the unit’s exclusive use.
Condominiums, or condos, are multi-unit housing properties that consist of individual residences that are privately owned, as well as common areas shared by all homeowners. Condos are considered real property, meaning homeowners own the deeds to their units and a portion of the common areas.

Co-operatives, or co-ops, are not considered real property. A corporation owns co-ops, and co-op buyers own shares in the corporation that entitle them to the exclusive use of their units. Co-ops tend to have fewer amenities than condos and are often located in older buildings. Most co-op associations require that a committee of current co-op owners approve prospective buyers.

Questions about managing your community’s finances

Simply put, a balance sheet is a financial report that summarizes an association’s assets, liabilities, and owner or shareholder equity. Assets are what the property owns, and liabilities are what it owes. It is a snapshot of a community association’s financial position at any moment. The balance sheet, income, and cash flow statements are the core of a community association’s financial statements. The two sides of a balance sheet – assets and liabilities – must balance each other.

To learn more about association finances, read our article Understanding community financials and how to strengthen them.
Assets are the things your community association owns. They can be current assets, which will be converted to cash within one year, including accounts receivable for assessment payments. Fixed assets are longer-term and include property, equipment, buildings, vehicles, and furniture.

Liabilities are the things your community owes, both currently and long term. Current liabilities are things like bills from suppliers or utility companies. Long-term liabilities are loans and mortgages that can take years to pay off.
The most significant influx of revenues comes from the standard charges, dues, maintenance, or regular assessments that pay for the association’s expenses. The most significant expense that associations face depends on the type of property. Usually, these include things like maintenance, payroll, insurance, and utilities.
A fixed asset is a piece of property owned by a community association and used to help produce income. Fixed assets are expected to last more than one year before they are converted into cash or used up. Buildings, equipment that is not leased, furniture, and property are fixed assets. Office supplies are not fixed assets; a golf cart used to get around a community is. Fixed assets will depreciate each year and have their section on balance sheets, which may be called “Property, Plant, and Equipment.”
Your common area elements and physical components, like your community pool or an HVAC system, will eventually need to be replaced or have parts of them replaced. Your association needs to conduct a reserve study to plan and save for those costly replacements. A reserve study is conducted by a firm that sends experts to evaluate the physical components of your property. The most accurate reserve studies are conducted by licensed engineers who understand the industry. The analysis will consider the current state of your reserve funds and recommend appropriate funding levels to ensure you can cover capital expenditures for the next 30 years. Even though a reserve study plans 30 years into the future, your association needs to update it every few years to account for storm damage, capital improvements, new assets, and changes in interest rates and property values.

To learn more reserve funding strategies, read our article HOA reserve study: Ensuring your budget's success.
Without a reserve study that helps your community plan and save for anticipated repairs, your association will likely have to levy special assessments to your homeowners to pay for your needs. Reserve studies help maintain strong property values. By identifying and budgeting for future capital projects, these evaluations can help board members fulfill their fiduciary duty of protecting the association’s assets.

Your reserve study should also be the core of your preventative maintenance plan. Because the study details the expected life span of major items and when the association will be financially able to replace them, it’s essential that you have a preventative maintenance plan in place that follows the timeline of the reserve study to get the most life out of your equipment and assets.
Budgeting can be complex! It’s essential to think long-term. While working on your next budget, think about 3-year and 5-year budgets too. Start your budgeting process by looking at the previous year’s budget, financial statements, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. Go through your expenses one by one and look for places to save. Do you need to reduce delinquencies to increase cash flow? Are there other areas where you could generate more income, such as getting better interest rates on your reserve fund? Compare what you spend to the money that comes in. An experienced property manager with the resources to negotiate vendor contracts and find the highest-paying savings accounts is an invaluable asset when planning your budget!

For more information, read our article Creating the best HOA budget: A step-by-step guide.
  1. Think strategically about your community’s vision and align your budget to it.
  2. Set your priorities for the year as you start.
  3. Talk to your committees. There may be places you can cut spending and others that need greater investment.
  4. Review your reserve study and reserve funds, and make sure you’re saving appropriately for future needs.
  5. Analyze past data, project what you’ll need in the future, get actual costs from your vendors, assess your income, and put it all together.
  6. Stay on top of your budget – don’t “set it and forget it.” Make sure you review your financial statements every month. Being informed about your current budget makes planning the next one easier.

Questions about community developers

Creating, launching, and sustaining a thriving and desirable community begins with a great vision – and requires a great team to bring it to life. That’s why many home builders and real estate developers choose to partner with professional property management companies, often from the conception phase, to secure their interests and add expert knowledge, guidance, and value at every stage of development.

The best property management firms are committed to fulfilling developers’ visions and enhancing property values and lifestyles for homeowners. At the same time, they understand the challenges and potential roadblocks of each development phase so they can offer insights, share best practices, and tailor innovative plans and solutions. The result? The guidance and support real estate developers need to effectively cut costs, prevent unforeseen expenses, and streamline operations while creating sought-after communities that capture the interest of future homebuyers and residents.

Quality property management companies have extensive resources, such as local market knowledge, neighborhood connections, and hands-on experience managing communities of all types and sizes, from small developments to high-rises to master-planned communities. As a result, they are uniquely qualified to provide information and guidance on association planning, budgeting, funding, financial tools, governance models, and other key data. In addition, they can expertly consult on upcoming amenity trends and desirable lifestyle programs to help create each planned community’s distinctive identity and ambiance and position it for short- and long-term success.
When a property transitions from developer control, it typically means that the developer, who initially owned and managed the property, is transferring ownership or control of the property to another entity or entity, such as a homeowners association (HOA), property management company, or individual property owners. The specific process and outcomes of this transition can vary depending on the type of property, its purpose, and the governing documents in place.

The specifics of this transition will depend on the contractual agreements, local regulations, and the established governance structure of the property. It's essential for all parties involved to work together transparently and legally to ensure a smooth transition and the continued effective management and maintenance of the property. Legal counsel and experienced property management professionals often play key roles in facilitating these transitions and ensuring compliance with all relevant laws and agreements.

To learn more about HOA transition, read our article 11 steps for a successful HOA transition from developer.
Developers should consider partnering with a property management company from the beginning of the real estate development project. A professional firm will be able to provide services and solutions for
  • Early planning and design
  • Marketing and leasing
  • Operational efficiency
  • Legal compliance
  • Financial management
  • Resident relations and conflict resolution

Questions about HOA board member roles and responsibilities

The main board officer positions include president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary.

For more information on the roles of board members, read our article How to become an HOA board member.
The president leads the Board and oversees and handles many of its procedural duties. To succeed in this role, the Board president must know the community’s CC&Rs and governing documents and understand how to run an effective meeting. They are the authority on all association rules and governing documents and appoint committees if dictated by the bylaws. The president also leads community and association meetings, handling such responsibilities as calling the meeting to order, announcing the agenda and ensuring adherence, maintaining attendee order and decorum, proposing questions, calling for votes and announcing the results, and recognizing others to speak on the floor.

For more information, read our article Duties of an HOA president: Everything you need to know.
The Board vice president shares many leadership and procedural duties with the president, including assuming the leadership role when the president cannot. The vice president’s responsibilities include ensuring order is maintained during meetings and parliamentary procedures, ensuring a smooth flow of business, and serving as an informed source about association rules, bylaws, and governing documents.
The Board treasurer is responsible for the association’s funds, securities, and financial records. They oversee billing, collections, and disbursement of funds and coordinate the development of the association’s proposed annual operating budget and reserve allocations. In addition, the treasurer is responsible for monitoring the budget, reporting on the association’s financial status throughout the year, and overseeing year-end reporting and any required audits. In self-managed communities, in which many of the day-to-day financial responsibilities are handled by a property management company, the treasurer is responsible for ensuring that all association funds are collected, disbursed, invested, and reported accurately and always remain in compliance with the association’s by-laws and governing documents.

For more information, read our article What makes a great board treasurer? 6 things you need to know .
The HOA secretary maintains the association’s meeting minutes and official records, reviewing and updating documents as required and ensuring they are stored safely and accessible to association members. They are responsible for providing proper notice of meetings and distributing documents, such as official records, agendas, and meeting minutes, on a timely basis to association members and their authorized representatives. In addition, as the custodian of the association’s official records and documents, the secretary ensures the association meets all legal documentation requirements, such as annual filing deadlines.

For more information, read our article What does a community association secretary of the board do?
Corporations, community associations, and HOAs need strong leadership to make decisions and direct their operations. These leadership roles are fulfilled by board members and officers. To ensure the community’s ongoing success, it’s important to bring in new leadership continually, and most associations hold board elections every few years, usually during the annual meeting. While the procedures and rules governing board elections vary by both state laws and the association’s by-laws, nearly all include providing all eligible homeowners who wish to stand for election an equal opportunity to run, properly notifying all homeowners in advance about the time, date, and location of the upcoming election, and ensuring the voting process remains anonymous and private. Homeowners may vote for board members in three ways – by attending and casting their votes at the meeting, by mailing their votes before the election is held, or by voting by proxy, which involves allowing another member to attend the meeting and vote on their behalf.

Questions about property management careers

Many homeowner associations (HOAs), community associations, and condo associations hire property management companies to enforce directives and handle their building or community's day-to-day operations and management. The property manager, an associate of the property management company, works closely with the association, Board members, and developer to oversee the management, maintenance, upkeep, and repairs of the common areas, working either on-site or from an office location. The property manager’s duties include a combination of business and property-related responsibilities, including managing the budget, hiring and managing vendors and staff, scheduling and overseeing maintenance and repairs, managing renovations and large-scale projects, inspecting the property, attending association meetings, working with homeowners to handle requests and resolve issues, and more.

To learn more about the role and characteristics of a good property manager, read our article 12 characteristics of a good property manager and management company.
Property management is a regulated profession with high standards for practitioners. In most states and provinces, a valid license is needed to practice, with requirements varying by state. Property management professionals can also advance their careers by earning a series of tiered certifications through reputable industry organizations like the CAI (Community Associations Institute). The basic level of certification is the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), progresses to Association Management Specialist (AMS), and advances to the highest certificate, Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). Once a property manager fulfills the PCAM requirements, they can earn specialty certification as a large-scale Manager (LSM), a designation granted to experienced, credentialed managers who oversee a portfolio of large communities and projects.

Additionally, while a property management degree is not required to practice in the field, education and training are available through many colleges, property management seminars, and online course providers. Some property management companies also provide their associates with skills training and professional development courses to help them perform their duties effectively and achieve their career goals.

For more information, read our article Why your property manager’s certifications matter.
Lifestyle directors play a crucial role in active adult and other lifestyle communities and common-interest communities by creating a vibrant and socially thriving atmosphere that meets the association’s goals and enhances residents’ lifestyles. The lifestyle director typically develops a wide range of lifestyle, fitness, wellness, recreational, educational, and entertainment programs and activities that appeal to residents’ needs and interests. In addition, they will plan and oversee parties, clubs, events, and other activities designed to welcome new residents, create strong bonds between residents and staff, and enhance homeowners’ engagement, loyalty, and quality of life. Additional duties may include scheduling on-site classes and seminars, coordinating volunteers, helping residents plan trips, vacations, or getaways, and writing and managing the community’s website and newsletter.
A building engineer helps design, monitor, and supervise the ongoing operations and upkeep of a building’s services and equipment. This may include overseeing the operations, maintenance, and repair of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC (heat, ventilation, and air conditioning), water, elevator and security systems and equipment, gas lines, and ongoing landscaping and grounds maintenance.
A portfolio manager manages several communities or properties, usually from an off-site office location. A sited manager oversees one property or community and works on site. Both are responsible for leading and managing the day-to-day operations, maintenance, repairs, and upkeep of the properties they serve under the direction of the association and in compliance with governances and regulations.

Questions about insuring your community

Insurance is complex, and there are several areas that many homeowners and boards don’t completely understand when it comes to making sure they are adequately covered. Here are a few of the most common:
  • “All-risk” doesn’t mean the policy covers everything; there are always exclusions.
  • Property insured under a master association policy typically only includes the common areas and property owned by the condominium corporation. Boards should routinely remind unit owners to purchase their own unit coverage.
  • Policy premiums and deductibles affect the insurance cost – and your board’s budget! Make sure you budget for deductibles as well as for premium payments.
  • Not all policies are the same. Insurance is viewed as a commodity, but carriers and the policies they issue can vary widely. Having a trustworthy broker or agent on your side is essential to help you compare policies and get the proper coverage.
  • The association can be penalized and even sued by residents for being underinsured, so it’s critical to have the right valuation on the property before insuring it.

To learn more about HOA insurance, read our article Navigating the basics of community association insurance.
Different natural disasters come with different deductibles. A hurricane or flood policy may have a different deductible than other perils such as fire. Most catastrophic coverage has high deductibles. Your association’s policy can have a percentage deductible or a dollar deductible. The larger the policy deductible, the lower the premiums will be. Still, you must ensure the association has budgeted appropriately for the deductible in a disaster. Be aware of the financial resources your board will have access to in an emergency and plan accordingly. This includes the coverage in the unit owners’ homeowner policies (HO-6 policies), which may pay special assessments.
There is a “named storm” coverage for hurricanes and tropical storms, and if your association is in an area where these storms hit, your board needs to have that separate coverage. In most places, “wind” and “hail” are included. But in Virginia, for example, your board may have to buy separate “wind” and “hail” policies. On the other hand, snowstorms are covered in most general policies because they are covered under “wind” and possibly “collapse” if the weight of accumulated snow causes a roof to cave in.

Flood insurance is a separate policy, and its essential coverage as we are all at risk of losses because of flooding. For example, during a hurricane, damages caused by water that comes in from a broken window will be covered by the association’s hurricane policy; water that comes in under the clubhouse door because the canal or river overflowed will be covered by the flood policy, even though the storm caused it.

Each market has different types of catastrophic losses that may be insured on separate policies. Ensure your broker or agent is experienced with insuring your type of community and is aware of the special needs of your location.
First of all, pay the premiums on time. Missed or past due payments can cause problems if your association has a claim or results in the cancellation of your coverage. Each insurance company is different, but most conduct building inspections to ensure adequate coverage. The information on all insurance applications must be accurate, or claims may be denied. Your association must abide by all safety recommendations, regulations, and local laws. For example, sprinkler system valves cannot be turned off, and smoke alarms must work. There may also be other market-specific requirements; in Florida, for example, you cannot get an insurance policy after a named storm has been announced.
We all want to save on insurance when we can! Anything that will help increase the safety of your community and reduce the likelihood of a loss may help reduce the premiums your association will pay. These can include properly installed security alarms, using a certain type of attachment for the roof, storm shutters or impact-resistant windows, and other safety protocols.

The more homeowners in your association who buy their own insurance coverage, the better off the association will be. It all comes down to loss experience – the frequency of claims and the dollar amounts paid out for the claims. The lower your frequency and dollar amount, the lower the association’s premiums will be.
Many condo owners think the association’s policy covers their units, but that’s false. The association’s insurance policies typically only cover the exterior of the building, common areas, and landscaping. HO-6 policies cover the unit owner's personal belongings, personal liability, and any additions or improvements made to the unit (upgrading finishes and fixtures, for example). Suppose an owner’s unit is unlivable due to a disaster or other reason out of their control. In that case, HO-6 insurance will help cover those living expenses, including the rental of another residence while the insured unit is being repaired.
Your condo association benefits from unit owners having HO-6 coverage in two primary ways:
  • If a disaster strikes your association building, and your insurance has a high deductible, the HO-6 policies of your unit owners can help cover that deductible. The association levies a special assessment on the owners to cover the deductible, which is then paid through the owners’ HO-6 policies.
  • The percentage of your association’s residents who have that coverage can affect your association’s insurance premiums.

Questions on community association meetings

Community associations are required by law to hold one meeting of their members each year. The major purpose of annual meetings is to inform homeowners about relevant business conducted by the association’s board of directors and other important association matters. These meetings also provide an opportunity for homeowners to be heard, ask questions and discuss issues. Annual meetings are often scheduled to coincide with board member elections. In addition, homeowners generally vote on their annual budget at these meetings.

The board of directors is required to notify homeowners of the annual meeting within a set time period before the meeting. The notice must either be mailed to homeowners or conspicuously displayed on the property, including the meeting date, time, and location. The specific requirements for conducting annual meetings and providing notice will vary based on your association’s governing documents and state/provincial statutes.

To learn more, read our article FAQs for annual meetings and HOA special meeting notice.
Every community association is governed by a board of directors elected by the association's members. The board is required to meet regularly, as outlined in the association’s governing documents. All association members may attend board meetings depending on state/provincial laws and the association’s governing documents. At these meetings, the board discusses the association budget, any new policies or rules being considered, progress reports on capital improvements, committee reports, and other association business. This is also an opportunity for members to raise any concerns with a rule or policy or suggest new items for the board to consider.

For more information, read our article 6 Best practices for your HOA board meeting.
In between regularly scheduled board meetings, the board may call a special meeting if specific problems, concerns, or suggestions come up or if something happens, that isn’t usually addressed in your regular meetings. Regardless of why a special meeting is called, it can only address the issue specified in the meeting notice. If another issue arises during the meeting, it must be tabled until later.

Your association’s governing documents will determine who is allowed to call a special meeting when appropriate and the procedures for notifying your membership and running the meeting. Usually, a homeowner must create a petition stating the reason for the meeting, obtain a required number of signatures and then present that petition to the board. If the meeting request is approved, a special meeting will be held. As with all meetings, advance notice to homeowners is required, but the time frame may be shorter than other scheduled meetings. As always, follow the rules specified in your governing documents and local laws, and consult your association attorney if you have any questions.
If the board needs to discuss a confidential matter, it will hold an executive meeting by closing part of its regular board meeting. Only board members are allowed to attend this closed portion. Topics that may be reserved for an executive meeting include litigation, financial issues concerning an individual homeowner, criminal misconduct investigations, and disciplinary matters. The board may not take any action during an executive meeting. This must occur during the open portion of its board meeting.
Emergency meetings are held when unforeseen circumstances require immediate attention and possible board action. Although emergency meetings do not require notice, state/provincial laws and association bylaws generally dictate notice requirements.