Where Does Your Condominium, Cooperative or HOA Board Hold Its Meetings?
All the shared ownership statutes provide that association members have the right to attend meetings of the board, certain committee meetings and, naturally, the annual membership meeting. However, the statutes don’t specify a particular place where those meetings must be held.
The Florida Condominium Act states that the annual meeting must take place within 45 miles of the condominium property but other than that, the statutes don’t provide much guidance about wise or convenient choices for meeting venues. Sometimes, an association’s governing documents will specify where meetings must be held. However, if the documents do not, boards would be well advised to give some due consideration to the location selected. After all, the goal should be to encourage, not discourage, attendance and participation at your meetings.
Here are some of the locations I’ve seen used over the years for association meetings:
- The community’s clubhouse: this one is a logical choice. However, please be sure the lights and air conditioning work. Believe it or not, I once attended a meeting in a clubhouse with no electricity.
- Director’s home or unit: this one is more problematic as the size of the residence could pose a problem depending on how large the potential turnout. Some people would also not feel comfortable attending a meeting in a director’s home if they happen to be feuding with that particular director.
- Management company: this location is usually selected when the board fears a meeting might get out of hand. Boards contemplating using this venue should consider the costs, if any, involved to do so and the inconvenience factor depending on the office location.
- Attorney’s office: See above.
- House of worship: this choice can be uncomfortable for those association members who are of a different faith.
- Library: usually a good choice so long as it is close to the community.
- Denny’s: yes, I once attended a board meeting at a Denny’s. It was neither convenient nor tasty.
- Pool deck: this could be a delightful choice during our gorgeous winter months in Florida but being outside in our steamy summer months could very well mean fewer folks showing up. The reverse is true for our northern neighbors selecting meeting venues.
- Under a tree: yes, in one HOA, the board selected a large oak tree in one of the community’s parks as the place where meetings should be held. While it had a certain amount of charm, there were weather, seating and bug issues.
- Rooftop: one of our cooperative clients routinely held meetings on their roof which was beautifully finished in a garden-like setting. However, a couple in the building was afraid of the height and complained relentlessly about the meeting location until it was changed.
So where does your board hold its meetings? Is the locale selected for your convenience or the members? Is any thought given to the room temperature, time of the meeting, available bathroom facilities and other factors that might influence whether or not people look forward to attending?
Meetings should be an opportunity for your board to shine. Why not design them to showcase your hard work by encouraging maximum attendance and participation with a little thoughtful planning in advance?