By Gail Sessoms | Georgia’s Property Owners’ Association Act provides rules for the creation and operation of homeowners’ associations, or HOAs, and the duties and responsibilities of board members. Owners of homes in subdivisions or condominium developments have automatic and mandatory membership in the homeowners’ association. The HOA act and the association’s governing documents, which are usually the articles of incorporation and bylaws, govern the activities of board members, and the board of directors agrees to abide by these rules.
Understanding Georgia HOA Laws Homeowners’ associations must choose to operate under the provision of Georgia HOA statutes, namely the Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act, Article 44-3-220 of the Georgia state code, by making an affirmative election in the HOA’s legal documents prepared to create the association. Existing HOAs may adopt the act’s provisions by amending the legal instrument prepared to create the association.
The Georgia act requires creation of an HOA board by the declarant, defined as the homeowners and lessees or those acting on behalf of the homeowners. The declarant is the person or persons who are charged with carrying out all activities to create the HOA or to amend the legal instrument to adopt the Georgia act.
The declarant must prepare and file the necessary legal instrument to create a homeowners’ association. The legal instrument, which the act refers to as the “declaration,” must be prepared in accordance with Georgia state law and its HOA act.
Rules for Creating the Board The elected officers of the HOA serve as its board of directors. Georgia’s HOA rules require the declarant to facilitate the appointment of a board of directors, the election of officers and the creation of the HOA’s organizational structure. A HOA may determine eligibility for board membership, including whether members must be homeowners and if a homeowner’s membership includes partners, trustees and others who maintain a legal relationship with the homeowner.
Authority and Responsibilities While all homeowners are entitled to a vote, the act gives authority to HOA boards to act independently on behalf of an association’s membership, unless the association’s legal instruments provide otherwise. A certified resolution approved by the board for an action affirms the authority of the board. The board may amend legal instrument, articles of incorporation and bylaws.
Boards may assess and require payment of homeowner fees, including fees for special assessments related to limited or disproportionate benefit to some homeowners. Boards may not assess different fee amounts for common expenses that affect all homeowners equally. The act requires HOA boards to maintain accurate books and records, including itemized financial records.
Rules for the Conduct of Board Meetings The Georgia act does not provide rules for the number and frequency of board meetings. However, the HOA’s articles of incorporation or bylaws might include board meeting rules. A HOA may determine what constitutes a majority for purposes of voting at a board of directors meeting. However, in the absence of such determination, Georgia’s HOA act considers a quorum reached if at least half of the possible voters are in attendance at the meeting.
Annual Member Meetings Required Georgia’s HOA act requires HOAs to hold member meetings as directed by the association’s bylaws. The HOA must hold member meetings at least annually. The HOA must provide at least 21-day notice for regular meetings and seven-day notice for special meetings. Meeting notices must include the place, purpose and time of the meeting and be delivered to all members through the U.S. mail.
The board must provide reports on all activities, including finances, to the membership at annual meetings. The act also requires HOA boards to produce and maintain detailed minutes for all meetings.
Shared From Chron.