The first of the year means annual HOA meetings, and you might find an increase in communications from your Board urging members to attend.  This isn’t just to raise awareness and help homeowners to be more informed, in fact, it is an official meeting and to even take place, a quorum must be reached.  What this really means is that a certain number of homeowners must be present to become an official meeting for certain actions to occur.

In some cases, the quorum is a mathematical majority, while in other instances; it is a certain percentage of members. The specifics of what qualifies as a quorum should be detailed in the HOA’s governing documents.  In addition, a clear description of timeframes for notifying members about meetings, the process of making decisions by majority vote, and how often meetings should be held.

What happens if a quorum is not achieved?

Simply, if there is no quorum, there is no meeting.  If there are topics that need to be voted on, a second meeting may need to be scheduled to gain the needed quorum for passage of the item.  Rescheduling means voting on an issue is postponed, possibly delaying a critical maintenance because of financial issues.  It can make it increasingly difficult for the Board to get things done, which is frustrating for them and for members who care about their community and want to see it thrive.

How low attendance can be overcome?

While the goal is to get more homeowners to attend HOA meetings and get involved in decision–making, that doesn’t always happen.  Members are busier today and have greater family demands than ever before, and frequently members don’t understand the importance of a quorum.  Alternatively, the Board can help to offset low attendance by getting members to sign a proxy.  A proxy assigns their vote to someone else, and it counts toward the quorum. The governing documents also outline how proxies and proxy voting work.

Ways to boost meeting attendance

First, make sure that members know how important their attendance is and what a quorum means.  Most homeowners are uninformed about how to govern HOAs and don’t realize the impact that not showing up can have.  Often, many homeowners may be frustrated with how long it takes for changes to occur.  A Board must explore all options to communicate with the entire membership, so that they know their participation matters when it comes to governing, voting and moving projects along.

Second, ensure that meetings are well advertised far enough in advance that members have time to plan in case they need to schedule childcare, coordinate their days or make other arrangements.  Success rates tend to increase when follow-ups are sent as quick reminders.  Also, make sure they know that they can sign a proxy if they’re unable to attend—and make it easy to do so!

Third, and most important, it is essential to maintain productive, effective meetings, so homeowners know that it will not be a waste of their time and progress is being done.  If meetings are recognized for being well-organized, orderly, and to the point, it can make attending more appealing.  Avoid having lengthy, emotional debates and keep the meetings on point.

If your HOA is struggling to achieve a quorum or sending out communications to members about meetings and issues, MGM Association Management can help. We work with your HOA to create a communication plan, mentor your membership on clarifying and updating your governing documents and manage a variety of administrative tasks.  Our goal is to get the board can focus on building a better community.  You can reach MGM at (208) 846-9189 or visit us at www.gomgm.com.