A homeowner’s association (HOA) is a private organization that oversees the management of the neighborhood and ensures that the residents, including property owners and tenants, abide by the bylaws and covenants. HOAs usually exist in multi-family properties (such as condominiums) and communities of single-family homes.
When an individual purchases or rents a home that is located in an HOA-regulated community, they are automatically considered members and must abide by the rules and regulations, such as paying dues, following parking guidelines, and so on.
What Does the Homeowner’s Association Do?
The primary responsibility of an HOA is to improve the quality of life that is enjoyed by the community’s residents. It includes several tasks, such as overseeing the maintenance of amenities (e.g. parks, playgrounds, sidewalks) and making sure that everyone follows the rules set forth by the HOA.
Who is Part of the Homeowner’s Association?
A board of directors governs the HOA. They are nominated and elected by the residents. The number of members varies from three to seven, however, some bylaws require that the board consist of not more than five members. An HOA typically has a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
It’s worth mentioning that not everyone can become a board member. For instance, those who are considered delinquent members are not eligible for any position in the HOA. This includes residents who have violated the association’s bylaws, failed to pay their dues, and the like.
What is the Role of an HOA Secretary?
Each member of the HOA has an important role to play in running the organization. The president takes the helm and leads the association. The vice president assists the president and assumes his position in the event that the latter is incapable. The treasurer records the financial transactions of the association, including operational costs, fee collections, and more.
So, what does a homeowner’s association (HOA) secretary do?
#1 Keep Records of the Association
The primary role of an HOA secretary is to maintain the association’s records and documents. He is, first and foremost, the record-keeper of the association. His task is to ensure the accuracy of the records and to store them in a safe location.
In many states such as California and North Carolina, HOAs must make their records available to their members upon request. This means that any homeowner can demand to see his records at any time. The secretary’s duty is to ensure that the records are well-organized so that the board can produce the documents when needed.
HOA records include official documents such as financial reports, membership lists, voting records, meeting minutes, and the like.
#2 Give Notice of Board Meetings
Another duty of an HOA secretary is to send out notices of board meetings and member meetings. Board members hold regular meetings to discuss matters that are relevant to the homeowners. Member meetings, or those which involve the homeowners themselves, provide residents an opportunity to voice out their concerns and contribute to the improvement of the community.
An HOA secretary should follow the community’s governing documents when it comes to when the notice should be sent. For instance, some associations require written notices to be given at least one month before the meeting.
Keep in mind that the failure to notify the members can land an HOA secretary in hot water. If you own an HOA-regulated building, it’s best to ask a property manager about the federal and state laws on sending out proper notice.
#3 Take the Minutes of the Meeting
Secretaries are often associated with the act of taking minutes. One of the most common jobs of an HOA secretary is to take the minutes of the meeting. It is critical to ensure that the meeting minutes are accurate, as they contain decisions and discussions.
The minutes of the meeting should capture relevant details, such as the attendees, agenda, arguments, and the like. It should be written objectively, leaving out the HOA secretary’s comments.
#4 Update the Community
Members of the HOA (or simply put, its homeowners) should be updated on the happenings within the community. Many HOAs release monthly newsletters to ensure that residents are regularly informed of financial reports, rule amendments, and the like. Other HOAs use a website to communicate with their members.
Whatever mode of communication you use, what’s important is that you choose one that keeps your members up-to-date. When residents are regularly informed of community developments (e.g. improvements, repairs, etc.) they will be assured that the board is doing its job. It’s important to be as transparent as possible — otherwise, homeowners may think that the board members are pocketing their money!
Here are communication tools that you may want to explore:
- Email blasts
- Social media
- Newsletter or e-newsletter
- Group chats (Telegram, Viber, etc.)
- Property management portals
#5 File Forms with the Secretary of State
Perhaps the most crucial part of the job of an HOA secretary is filing official forms with the Secretary of State. HOAs are considered non-profit corporations, hence, they are legally required to report to the Secretary of State annually.
The annual report should include information such as the names of the association’s officers, taxes paid, fees collected, and so on. While the HOA secretary is accountable for making sure that the report is submitted, the rest of the board members share the responsibility. Failing to file the annual report can result in tax liens, penalties, and other consequences.
From keeping the residents’ records to filing federal forms, an HOA secretary has a lot on his plate. His job is clearly crucial to the day-to-day operations of the association. Without him, there would be no one to ensure that the residents (and the Secretary of State!) receive up-to-date information.
If you require a property management company that can oversee your homeowner’s association, get in touch with Luxury Property Care. Our property managers have years of experience managing HOA-regulated properties in the South Florida region.
Call us today at (561) 944 – 2992 or complete our contact form. One of our property managers will get back to you shortly.