There is more to managing a community association effectively than you may realize. Your home and your ownership interest in the common elements represent a huge asset – possibly your largest asset. So, what should you expect from your Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Board of Directors? How can you support your HOA board and how can a management service meet the needs of both the board and the homeowner(s)?
Like a governmental component, your HOA (or association) has a charter – called the declaration. The declaration encompasses by-laws, covenants and other documents that give the association their legal foundation. These governing documents obligate the association to preserve and protect the assets of your community (or HOA).
- Your board is responsible for making rules and defining the process for adopting and enforcing them, within limits.
- Your board should meet regularly to discuss and vote on important community issues.
- Like a government, the board has the legal authority to enforce rules and regulations, to collect assessments (dues), and to pay the association’s bills.
- The board should also develop long-range plans for major expenses, such as gate replacement and road repairs.
- The board should establish and adhere to a budget, as well as reviewing financial statements and adopt an investment policy.
- The board should conduct a reserve study that identifies the expected remaining life of each major component and establishes a savings program to cover repairs and replacement costs.
So as a homeowner, what you can you do to support your board and more importantly your association?
- Participate. Residents should be encouraged to attend and observe association board meetings.
- There should be a homeowner’s forum; a time set aside during the meeting for you to speak. This is a time for exchanging ideas and offering solutions.
- If you need more than five (5) minutes to present an idea or problem, put your comments in writing and provide your written comments to the board ahead of time.
- All association members have a right to be heard at membership meetings by presenting, seconding, debating, and voting on a motion.
- Present your ideas. If you have an idea and you want support from neighbors and the board, do your homework and be prepared to answer questions. Have a logical sequence as if you were telling a story with a beginning, middle and end. Use common conversational language and avoid ostentatious words.
How can a management company benefit both the board and you as a homeowner? Your board is most likely made up of volunteers; people with career and family obligations as well as responsibilities to the HOA. Additionally, the members of your board may or may not be experts with vast experience dealing with state statutes, legal constraints, insurance needs, budgetary options, and contracting obligations.
- A HOA professional management company must be aware of many laws and regulations to include federal laws and state statutes, as well as government regulations.
- Professional managers have a working knowledge of finances, accounting, and budget preparation.
- Professional managers must work and communicated effectively with residents, resolve disputes, and facilitate communications.
- An effective professional management team will coach and mentor the board members who govern the association. They help conduct meetings, supervise elections, and ensure compliance with governing documents
Doesn’t it make sense to have a knowledgeable, trained, professional community association manager watching out for your interests?