What Needs to Be on Your HOA Annual Meeting Checklist

Annual Homeowner Association (HOA) meetings are crucial to keeping the community informed and involved. This delegated time provides residents the opportunity to come together to discuss and vote on important matters.

It’s important to create and follow an HOA annual meeting checklist to execute a successful meeting that covers all the necessary topics.

Overview of What Must be on the Checklist 

The primary goal of an annual HOA meeting is to address significant topics that affect the community at large.

Monthly board meetings address smaller HOA matters that generally deal with the day-to-day administration of the association.

When preparing for the annual HOA meeting, consider including the following items in your meeting checklist:

  • Major milestones or successes among the board or community
  • Presentations by the board, its committees, and professionals involved in community business like accountants, contractors, and vendors
  • Announcements about staff or management changes
  • Proposals requiring residents’ approval
  • Approval of the annual budget

Additional Things you may Want to Consider 

Successful annual HOA meetings also involve thorough planning and preparation.

As you begin organizing the meeting, keep these logistics in mind:

  • Date: When choosing a suitable time for your annual HOA meeting, pick a date and time that is most convenient for your residents, like after normal work hours or on the weekends. It’s also crucial you give residents enough time to pencil in the meeting. Most HOAs have the annual meeting on the calendar at least six to eight months in advance.
  • Location: Of course, you want to ensure that the location of your meeting is in proximity to your community members. If there is a large enough common area within the neighborhood, consider hosting the meeting there. Otherwise, pick a fun venue or location nearby to host the meeting. 
  • Announcements: How are you going to notify residents about the annual meeting? While it’s generally required to notify each HOA member directly, it’s also essential to market the meeting other ways. Consider hanging reminders throughout common areas. If your HOA has a website or social media channels,  you can also post announcements online.
  • Agenda: Residents should also be notified of the annual meeting’s agenda beforehand. The bylaws likely describe any notice requirements the board or managers must comply with in advance of the annual meeting.
  • Incentives: Incentives are extremely helpful to encourage residents to attend annual HOA meetings. Consider offering food or prizes at the meeting.

Additional Resources

For more information on HOA annual meetings, you can refer to your homeowner association’s bylaws. These governing documents lay out the specific guidelines for HOA operations, including annual meeting requirements.

You can also get in touch with an experienced real estate broker who has a thorough understanding of the HOA annual meeting checklist.

What You Need to Know About a Condo Board Meeting

If you are a condo owner, or in the process of becoming one, chances are you’ll eventually be invited to a condo board meeting. Before attending one of these meetings, it’s important to understand why they exist and how they operate.

Overview of a Condo Board Meeting

When you purchase a condominium unit, you automatically become a member of a homeowner association and are expected to pay regular membership dues.

This association is run by an elected board of directors, which handles the maintenance and repair of common areas, disputing among unit owners, and enforcement of rules and regulations, and condominium fees.

This association board is required to arrange condo board meetings because it operates as a corporation and therefore needs to meet with its officers and shareholders- in this case, board members and homeowners. 

The condo board meetings allocate regular time for the board to manage the day-to-day administration of the condo association.

Things New Condo Owners Should Know

If you’ve recently purchased a condo unit and you’re new to the association, there are a couple of things to keep in mind about condo board meetings.

First, before attending a scheduled meeting, ensure that it’s not a “closed-door” meeting for board directors only. However, in most cases, unit owners are legally allowed to attend open board meetings.

Even if the meeting is open to the entire association, you may not have the right to actively participate or vote during the board meeting. Annual meetings are designated at another time during the year to open up the floor to all members of the association to discuss broader issues.

Condo associations are always required to send out a notice at least 48 hours before a condo board meeting.These notices need to be mailed directly to all members of the association. They are also often posted around the condominium building.

As a new condo owner, it may be in your interest to attend these condo board meetings, although they aren’t required. Being present for these conversations can help you stay up to speed with board decisions that may directly improve your quality of life and the value of your property.

These meetings can also help you better prepare for the annual meetings when your voice can be heard, and you have the ability to vote on important matters.

Additional Resources

For additional information regarding your condo board meetings, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your association’s board directly. You can also request access to your association’s board policies.

If you’re in the process of finding a condo, your licensed broker is a great resource to learn more about your prospective condo association and its board meetings.

Connect with our experienced team today to help streamline the search for the perfect condo!

What to Know About a Condo Association in Chicago

What to Know About a Condo Association in Chicago

If you are in the process of finding a condo property to own, it’s essential to understand why condo associations exist and how they operate.

Regardless of how comfortable you feel around this topic, the Luxury Living team is here to break down everything you need to know about condo associations in Chicago.

What is a Condo Association

As soon as you purchase a condo unit, you automatically become a member of a condo association.

By definition, a condo association is a formal group of unit owners in a condominium building. 

This association is run by an elected board of directors, which handles the maintenance and repair of common areas, disputing among unit owners, and enforcement of rules and regulations, and condominium fees.

The ultimate goal of a condo association is to help maintain the quality of life for community residents and protect their property value.

Condo associations take a significant burden off residents by keeping up with community maintenance, including snow and garbage removal, as well as building repairs and maintenance.

Not only does this maintenance help alleviate resident’s stress and responsibilities, but it also helps ensure community curb appeal. The condo associations help keep condominium communities in pristine condition, promoting a desirable location for potential buyers and an enhanced environment for residents.

Condo associations also help maintain the upkeep of community amenities, such as a pool or fitness center.

While condo associations take care of a significant amount of maintenance, owners are still held accountable for keeping the community in good shape through rules and fees. The rules restrict residents from trashing the outside of their units, and the fees provide funding for external maintenance.

How Condo Associations are Created

When new communities are developed, new homeowner associations also come into existence.  

While the process for establishing a homeowner association may look different depending on the location, there are standard procedures.

Upon the creation of a new condo community, the developer establishes a business structure by forming an LLC or nonprofit corporation. The shares of the association are allocated as the developer sells units. 

Once formed, the condo association is responsible for creating covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that describe how the association will operate and what rules unit owners must abide by. During this process, a procedure for future modification of the CC&Rs is implemented and rules and regulations are written, putting the CC&Rs into easy-to-understand language for community residents.

The next step involves drawing up governing documents, such as articles of incorporation and bylaws (which outline meeting frequency, voting guidelines, the election of HOA leaders and other operating procedures).

Finally, the association must elect qualifying officers and board members to manage the association’s operations. This board generally changes on an annual basis and requires voting among the entire association.

Condo Association Dues

To effectively operate, condo associations need funding. Where exactly does this funding come from? The answer is from the condo owners. 

When someone buys a condominium unit, they become an automatic member of that community’s homeowner association; and with this membership comes unavoidable monthly or annual dues. 

The bulk of these fees help fund community amenities and provide services. A smaller portion of these funds goes towards the association’s administration, including legal, accounting, and management services.

It’s important to know that different condo associations have different policies regarding what services they will provide the community. That’s why you want to investigate exactly what your prospective condo association offers residents before securing a purchase.

So what happens if you do not pay those association fees? While the repercussions may vary depending on the association, there are basic penalties that are likely to be put into action.

First, be prepared to receive a letter reminding you of your outstanding debt immediately. The condo association may also add on a fine and/or interest on that missed payment.

Often, the association may also revoke homeowner rights. This may include taking away your privileges to vote on condo association matters or utilize common areas, such as a gym or pool.

To avoid these consequences, it is critical to keep up with association fees; and if you do happen to miss a payment, make sure to keep open communication with your association’s board to resolve the issue and minimize penalties.

Condo Association Rules

Upon establishment, every condo association creates rules and regulations for residents to follow, but the formal organization is also expected to follow certain guidelines.

While some local laws and ordinances dictate how condo associations need to be formed and operated, generally the associations have a large amount of freedom.

Each condo association can create their own covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that owners are expected to follow. These CC&Rs cover expectations regarding resident behavior, architecture, and common responsibilities.

Many common condo rules and regulations revolve around financial responsibilities, pet regulations, rental guidelines, and maintenance standards.

Whatever the CC&Rs may be, they are not voluntary. Residents have a legal obligation to follow these condo HOA rules or they may face fines and/or legal action.

Do Condo Associations Have Insurance?

While condo owners are responsible for ensuring the inside of their units, associations are also required to obtain their own insurance policies to keep the organization protected.

Homeowners associations must have hazard and liability insurance for specific areas of the condominium development, often including common areas, like stairwells and pools, and some exterior elements such as the condo’s roof. 

While this insurance takes some of the financial and liability burdens off of the unit owners, a portion of the owner’s condo fees helps to pay for the policy.

Frequently, condo associations will also have what is called a “master policy”. This type of policy generally covers damages and personal injury. The damages covered by a master policy involve damages to the shared property, which may be a result of storms, fires, criminals, etc. General liability insurance covers the costs of any lawsuits for medical expenses filed by people injured in the common areas of the property.

It is also important for condo associations to have directors and officers insurance to ensure financial protection to the people running the association. This specific type of insurance covers both legal defense costs and damages if a homeowner decides to sue its association. This policy does not cover intentional misconduct. Employee theft insurance can protect the association if a director, officer or property manager embezzles association funds.

Finding a Condo in Chicago

Now that you have a better understanding of condo associations in Chicago, it may be time to find a property of your own.

Regardless of what you are looking for, the Luxury Living team can connect you with an experienced broker to help streamline the hunt for your dream home.

Find your perfect condo in the Windy City today!

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