Many homeowners in Utah are eager to move into a community with the homeowners association (HOA) board governing the neighborhood. A neighborhood with an HOA will be less prone to having poorly-maintained homes dragging down everyone’s property values or problem tenants throwing parties every weekend.
As someone who serves on the local HOA board, you help to preserve the community’s aesthetics and protect the property value of all residents by enforcing certain standards. The board will have to conduct regular meetings to allow for homeowner input on community management issues and to notify residents of changes in policy or upcoming projects.
Typically, HOA meetings are open to the public, but that can mean that they last for hours. Can your HOA ever hold closed meetings to discuss upcoming issues in private?
Formal meetings must be open to the public
State law is clear about the obligations of HOA boards and condo boards. All meetings must be open and accessible to the public. Homeowners should receive at least 48 hours’ notice of upcoming meetings, particularly meetings that will involve major discussions or important votes. The board must also allow every homeowner an opportunity to make comments or provide feedback on an issue.
Although you may want to limit who attends a meeting to keep it shorter or avoid unnecessary conflict, conducting an HOA board meeting behind closed doors and without proper notice could lead to complaints by the community and action against the board members. If you must have a discussion in private, it will need to be an unofficial meeting followed by a formal board meeting that homeowners can attend if they so desire.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
If you fail to notify homeowners of an upcoming meeting or vote, if you do not allow them to provide feedback during a meeting or if you do not hold meetings publicly, local homeowners could potentially take action against the HOA board.
The possible consequences of closed meetings could include actions to remove board members or a civil lawsuit against the board. People may be able to challenge enforcement actions or crucial decisions made at meetings if residents bring claims against the HOA board for regulatory non-compliance.
Learning more about the Utah rules that govern HOA board meetings can help your community association better serve local homeowners.