Communicating with other homeowners and the board making the association's decisions is easiest at community meetings. Many associations require only one annual meeting for the purpose of electing the board of directors, which is open to members. Many, however, will hold a mix of meetings open to the board, or the board plus members. In some states, what members can speak about is limited to the items on the board's prepared meeting agenda. But in states such as Florida, new laws allow residents to discuss whatever they please, although their time and manner of presenting is monitored [source: Samouce].
Of course the benefit of attending meetings is not just to be heard, but also to hear what is going on. If an HOA is considering raising its dues next year, you'll want to find out as soon as possible. Similarly, you'll want to learn of any proposed bylaws or other changes in how the community will operate. And if your bylaws allow you to speak at the meeting, voicing your opinion could add a new perspective to a proposed policy that the board might not have considered.
But by far the most important meeting to attend is the annual meeting of the HOA to elect its next board of directors. If your HOA board is showing any signs of abuse or neglect to the homeowners it represents, it might be time for you to vote for a new board.