Do Your HOA Committees Keep Records? Should They?
In this week's tip, we discuss whether your HOA's committees should keep records. They should, of course. It's the "how" they do it that's up to you.
Our experts say there are two methods for committees when it comes to reporting their activities, and either is acceptable."The board has a fiduciary responsibility to keep the records of the association," says Brad van Rooyen, a partner at Home Encounter, a Tampa, Fla., company that manages 15 community associations totaling about 3,000 owners. "Committees should be expected to keep the same kinds of records the HOA keeps. They're essentially the records of the HOA, and they should be handled in the same way any other documents are handled."
On the other hand, in Nevada, committees typically don't produce minutes. "A committee isn't actually making the decisions," says Steven Parker, president of RMI Management in Las Vegas, which manages 286 community associations. "It's almost always suggesting to the board that the board take a particular action, and the opportunity for public comment would take place during the regular board meeting. All of that would be reflected in the board's minutes. Unless the board was meeting in executive session, those minutes of what transpired at the meeting would be available to home owners. In fact, in Nevada, the board would need to produce not only minutes but an audio recording of the board meeting."
Robert Galvin, a partner at Davis, Malm & D'Agostine PC in Boston who specializes in representing condos and co—ops, says both should produce minutes, but all these options are acceptable. "The committee as well as the board should produce minutes," he says. "But generally speaking, committees keep sparser records than boards, and that's really OK—but there have to be some records. The committee may submit a written report to the board that simply says something as brief as, 'We met on a particular date and decided to take out petunias but to plant impatiens.' That then would be carried over to the board's minutes."
The key is to ensure that some minutes somewhere record official board actions. Ah, but there's always an exception to the rule, isn't there? Learn it—and find out six questions to ask yourself in setting an HOA records policy—in our new article,Are You Keeping Proper Committee and HOA Board Records?