Taking Advantage of Committees in Associations

April 5, 2012

By Curtis G. Kimble.

One of the most powerful but overlooked tools at the disposal of an association board is that of committees.

HOA boards can face a number of issues and be pulled in many directions that would tax any full time, paid board.  But HOA boards are volunteer and are not full time.  To deal with this and to avoid board member burnout, many associations elect a large board – 5, 7 or even 9 members.  However, having a large board presents many difficulties.  It is often difficult to find enough willing and able people to fill a 3 or 5 person board, and larger boards are that much more difficult to fill.  Additionally, it is no small task to schedule and gather together a large board.

Committees are an invaluable tool in HOAs where volunteers sufficiently capable of dedicating the time, attention and skills required to serve on the board tend to be hard to come by.  It is often effective for an association to have a small board and then any number of committees in order to extend the board’s reach, ability and effectiveness.  This allows the benefits of a smaller board without necessarily sacrificing the distribution of workload that comes with a bigger board.  It also helps reduce board member burnout.

For purposes of this discussion, I’ll break committees into two types: committees of the board, and regular committees.

Committees of the Board.  A committee of the board is a small subset of the board and is composed solely of board members.  It has the full power of the board to make decisions and take actions to the extent specified by the board or the governing documents (CC&Rs, bylaws, etc.).  In this way, a committee of the board is like an officer of the association, except instead of just one person, it’s made up of two or more people, all of which must be board members.

While a committee of the board has the power and authority of the full board as to issues within its purview, it is also subject to the same requirements as the board regarding meetings, action without meeting, notice, waiver of notice, and quorum and voting requirements.

Regular Committees.  Regular committees do not have to be composed of board members.  They are established by the governing documents or by the board and they are composed of the members established by the board or the governing documents.  They can be temporary, ad hoc committees, or they can be more permanent, standing committees.

Regular committees do not have the power of the board to make decisions or take actions, i.e., they may not exercise any power or authority reserved to the board by the law or the governing documents.  At the same time, regular committees aren’t bound by the same requirements as the board regarding meetings, action without meeting, notice, waiver of notice, and quorum and voting requirements.  The board or the governing documents establish any rules of procedure for the committee, if desired.  Regular committees provide the advice, service, and assistance to the association and carry out the duties and responsibilities for the association specified in the governing documents or by the board.

With any committee, it is important that, through a board resolution, the board clearly specify the committee’s name, purpose, responsibilities, term, number of members, and designation of the members of the committee, unless those items are spelled out in the CC&Rs or bylaws (which is common for an architectural control committee).  When appropriate, usually with ad hoc committees, there should be a specific termination point by which the committee should have met its objectives.

Examples of committees include, but are not limited to, maintenance committee, nominating (or elections) committee, architectural control committee, budget/finance committee, communications committee, rules enforcement committee, newsletter committee, and social committee.

Committees have many purposes and benefits.  They can prepare members to serve on the board, they let prior board members remain active as association volunteers, they allow members to be active and involved in association issues and operations, and they allow the board to take advantage of the wide range of talents and expertise available via the members of the association.  They can help the board by gathering information and making recommendations.  Finally, committees broaden the board’s knowledge and awareness of the “pulse” of the community, that is, the homeowners’ opinions, attitudes and desires for the direction of the community.

If used effectively, committees can greatly enhance the operation and governance of any homeowners association.

Test Your Knowledge of the New Utah HOA Laws (for a Prize!)

August 17, 2011

2011 was a significant year for HOAs in Utah and the laws that govern them.  Many new laws and changes were enacted.  How does your knowledge of these changes stack up?  Take this short quiz and find out!  (Note that the quiz is best taken and submitted on our blog itself, for those that receive this post by email).

A $25 Amazon gift card will be awarded to the person scoring the highest and submitting it the quickest after this post is published.  In a few days, I’ll post the answers, as well as the names of those that scored the highest so they can brag about their expertise to other board members, homeowners, or clients.  To submit your answers, fill in your name, email and association or management company and hit submit below.

1. Each board has to present the issue of reserve funding to the association members for discussion and a vote:
 every year.

 every two years.

 never because the board decides reserve funding issues.

 never because the law has reserve funding requirements.

2. A board is required to conduct or have conducted a reserve study every _____ years and review and if necessary update it every ______ year(s).
 3 … 1

 5 … 2

 7 … 3

 It depends on the outcome of a vote of the members.

3. Every HOA is now required by law to register both as an HOA and as a nonprofit corporation.



4. For claims on the association master insurance policy associated with a particular unit or lot, the association can require that unit owner to pay the deductible if:

 the association has set aside an amount equal to the deductible.

 it is authorized by a governing document of the association.

 the owner is at fault (caused the incident or was negligent).

 all owners had been notified of the deductible responsibility.

5. Every HOA in the state has to update their HOA registration information with the Department of Commerce:


 within 30 days of a change in the information.

 within 90 days of a change in the information.

 never because only an initial one-time registration is required.

6. A board can use reserves funds in an emergency for daily maintenance expenses:

 only once in a 2 year period.

 if authorized by the association governing documents.

 after receiving approval from a majority of the members.


7. During any period that an HOA fails to be properly registered with the state, the HOA:

 cannot file a lien against any unit or lot.

 cannot enforce a previous lien against a unit or lot.

 can seek a judgment against an owner for past due amounts.

 all of the above.

Update: The quiz is closed, but check out the answers to the quiz by clicking here.   Thanks for playing!

Curtis G. Kimble

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