Homeowners' associations, often called HOAs, manage the fees that homeowners pay to maintain the common areas of their communities. In the state of Florida, homeowners' association boards, which consist of members elected by the homeowners, must follow many of the same rules as government boards relating to meetings. These rules ensure that homeowners are given proper notice of meetings and that the board discusses business openly during the meetings.
Notice of general board meetings must be posted at least 48 hours prior to the meeting and must include the date, time and place as well as an agenda of the items that will be covered during the meeting. The notice must be posted in a designated area. Emergency board meetings, which include those relating to floods and fires, can be held with less than 48 hours notice. Board meetings that include agenda items on rules affecting the use of property within the homeowners' association or special assessments, which are additional fees charged to homeowners, require at least 14 days advance notice that must be posted in a designated area and mailed to all the property owners.
Quorum and Improper Meetings
Board meetings must reach a quorum for members to conduct business. Although a quorum can differ depending on the size of the board, for boards with five members, at least three members must be present. HOA business cannot be discussed when at least three board members are present without proper notice, whether they are in person, during a conference call or in chat rooms on the Internet. Likewise, two board members cannot discuss HOA business and then one of them confer separately about association business with a third member prior to a meeting.
Members of the homeowners' association are allowed to attend all meetings except those during which ongoing litigation or personnel matters are discussed. Homeowners are not entitled to comment during meetings, however, unless it relates to an item placed on the agenda by a signed petition of at least 20 percent of the homeowners or if the board grants them the opportunity to do so. If the board does allow homeowners to speak during meetings it can also establish rules regarding a designated time for public comment and a time limit for each speaker.
Detailed notes, called minutes, must be kept of all homeowners' association board meetings. The minutes must document how each board member votes for every agenda item. Board members cannot vote by secret ballot except when voting on officers. Committee meetings that do not make final decisions relating to HOA funds are exempt from the minute-keeping rule.