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No HOA board wants to hold a long, confusing, and unproductive meeting. But, keeping the complex business of managing an HOA short and to the point is much easier said than done, especially when board members want to do the job right. That’s where Robert’s Rules of Order comes in.


In this article, we’ll show you how a few parliamentary rules can greatly improve the effectiveness of your HOA’s meetings.

What Is Robert’s Rules of Order?

Robert’s Rules of Order is a popular authority on parliamentary procedures, which are rules for conducting meetings fairly and efficiently. Grounded in democratic principles, parliamentary procedures aim to ensure that all meeting participants are treated equally and that their votes are weighed equally.

How Do Parliamentary Procedures Help HOAs?

Homeowners associations are typically required by state law to conduct open board meetings and make most important association decisions at these open board meetings. Following parliamentary procedures helps the association ensure that it conducts business in a clear, straightforward manner so that homeowners can see that the board is following state requirements. Parliamentary procedures also ensure that all board members’ input is considered and each voice is counted during votes.

During membership meetings, parliamentary procedures help ensure that one or two homeowners do not overwhelm the meeting so that others do not get a chance to speak. They also provide fair methods for taking balloted votes, for explaining the results of a vote, and for homeowners to request recounts.

Lastly, a parliamentary authority like Robert’s Rules provides an HOA with a standard order of business if the association’s governing documents do not already include one. Following a standard order of business prevents the HOA from overlooking important decisions or tasks they need to address because these items simply got lost in the multitude of other responsibilities and decisions the board must make.

Rules You Can Start Using Today

To get started with using parliamentary procedures in your association, try the following tips:

  • Use agendas for all association meetings. Sending the agenda with the meeting notice is a great way to prepare participants. As a tip, some states require HOAs to create and distribute agendas at HOA board meetings.
  • Match the meeting size to the voting style. In small meetings, voting by show of hands or even by voice works well. However, in larger groups, voting by ballot is typically the best option.
  • During debates, don’t let a meeting participant have a second turn to speak until everyone has had their first turn to speak. This will keep some participants from being drowned out by others. The HOA could even use time limits of two or three minutes so that no one can filibuster a meeting. Don’t be afraid to use an hour glass or timer if you need to – as long as everyone is held to the same rules.


If you’re interested in learning more about using parliamentary procedures to benefit your HOA, check out the Boardline Academy course Conducting Association Meetings.