Should the HOA or Condo Board Feed Attendees At Meetings?

Should the board feed the owners who attend association meetings?  Should they even feed the board members?

Good question. On the one hand, it might draw owners to meetings which could help combat apathy which is a huge problem in HOA and Condo meetings, both board and membership meetings.

On the other hand the question will likely arise (there is always at least one owner questioning this kind of expenditure) whether this is an authorized or even appropriate expenditure of association funds. Most documents don’t authorize a “pizza party”.

However, in the section of some CC&Rs on assessments, there is some kind of catchall phrase that allows the board to use assessments for purposes related to the duties and obligations of the association. The same for bylaws, there is usually some catchall phrase. And it is my belief that if the expenditure is not substantial (and that of course can be subjective, and based on the overall size of the budget), that any complainer would be shot down in court (if the inclination was to take this dispute to small claims).

Unless, of course, that the owner could show that the expense was clearly not authorized by the governing documents (no catchall phrases), was exorbitant, covered booze, and was geared toward feeding the board’s favorites (such as a case where the board did not post the information for all of the members to see but called some of the owners and encouraged them to come).

I know boards that meet at the local pizza eatery in a back room because there is no meeting room on site. Often that is also because the board members either do not want troublemakers or strangers in their homes or someone has complained having the meetings in the director’s homes is offputting so they have looked for a local meeting room that does not cost an arm and a leg. Perhaps ordering pizza for the board members and any attendees is cheaper than renting a room in some commercial establishment.

Some boards are ultra-conservative and even if they meet at a local pizza or coffee place, require all attendees to pay their own way.

I say, if the expenditure of a dollar or two, maybe even three per person and the smell of a piece of piping hot pizza or a warm sticky cookie can entice a few more owners, then go for it. And if someone complains, then you can consider whether to change things up … or not.

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