In an ideal world, the Board of Trustees would be a strong but fair force in a Community Association, ensuring that all residents are content at all times and that every aspect of the Association functions smoothly. In reality, things can be a lot more complicated. Everything from troublemaking residents to financial issues can cause discord in the community and leave board members feeling as though they’re unable to serve homeowners to the best of their ability.
Association board members walk a fine line when it comes to power and authority. While the board is responsible for advancing the collective best interest of the community as a whole, they must also balance this collective need against the needs and concerns of individual residents, as well. Residents who agree to Association living must understand this balance and recognize that they won’t necessarily have the freedom to, say, decorate their yard with excessive signage and kooky art or have loud, raucous parties whenever they want to with no consequences.
Although some Associations don’t implement term limits on Community Association board members, the board does experience turnover. Whether it be a board member who moves out of the community or simply steps down to better focus on responsibilities outside the Association, board vacancies are a reality of community living. However, a fully staffed, functioning board is vital to serve the best interests of the entire Association. But within an entire community of possible candidates, it can be difficult to know which ones are both interested in serving on the board and capable of increasing the Association’s ability to succeed.
From rowdy neighbors to malfunctioning utilities, every community faces problems at one time or another. However, living in an Association comes with its own set of unique issues. Although it can feel as though these concerns are simply part of community living, that doesn’t mean that the Board of Trustees is powerless to enact any effective solutions. The distinctive problems within an Association will require some equally distinctive solutions, but developing the strategies to overcome these issues will result in a strong, smoothly functioning Association.
The approaching frigid weather and holiday season provide a perfect invitation to get out of the house and take a trip — whether to the coziness of a ski resort or the warmth of distant sand and surf. But when the residents of your Association leave their community behind, all of the empty homes can cause a substantial risk to the overall safety of your community. While Association members certainly should not be expected to abandon their vacation plans in the name of community safety, there are some steps vacationing community members can take to ensure that your Association cuts down on crime, accidents, and everything in between.
Every Association is a little different, but all have one thing in common: In order to be truly successful, every Association must foster robust communication between residents and the Board of Trustees. Although busy schedules and other responsibilities make it difficult for the entire Association to come together for board meetings — no matter how effective they might be — Associations have other means for keeping the community connected, such as through an electronic newsletter. Whether your goal is to bust the myth that board members operate in secret or simply to bring your community closer together, an e-newsletter is a relatively easy yet effective way to keep the lines of communication open.
Some believe that Association living is relatively idyllic due to the heightened sense of community and camaraderie in some Associations. However, the reality is that Community Associations are just as likely to face legal issues as other organizations are — regardless of whether or not the Association and its board members are actually at fault. Thoroughly understanding legal action in an Association will help the Board of Trustees feel more prepared to handle any lawsuits should they arise.
Insurance is a necessary protection for many different aspects of our lives. From our cars to our health, insurance is there to mitigate the potential financial damage caused by the unpredictability of life — unpredictability that Community Associations are not immune to. But even though Associations are made up of residences, these special organizations require insurance protections that go beyond the typical homeowner’s insurance.
The Board of Trustees in any Association is tasked with the awesome responsibility of balancing budgets, handling emergency situations, keeping detailed records, and generally making sure that the various elements of the Association are functioning smoothly — all while maintaining the core values of the community and keeping residents happy. Making sure the Community Association is operational and ensuring all residents are content usually go hand-in-hand, thanks to the Association rules enacted by the board. But sensible, important Association rules don’t just write themselves. In order for the Association and its residents to flourish, the Board of Trustees first needs to draft the rules that will encourage them to do so, minimizing conflict along the way.
More and more bits and pieces of everyday living are moving onto the internet, so it was only a matter of time before life in homeowner associations and community associations moved online, too. While some associations have voiced concerns over the legal implications of moving their financial operations to the web, experts in community living have agreed that a website that limits its users’ ability to post and provides different levels of access to different community members can provide a wealth of other benefits. Creating a digital space for the members of your Association — whether to catch up on what they missed at the last community meeting or download some vital information on a major construction project in the community — is a simple way to connect community members with the board, other community members, and the outside world at large.
Board meetings don’t always go as planned. From neighborhood squabbles to long-winded speeches, there are a lot of things that can derail an otherwise successful meeting. Additionally, diving into a meeting without a clear plan and focused goals makes it hard to be productive. Fortunately, there are concrete steps that the Board of Trustees can take to ensure that board meetings run smoothly and successfully while still covering all the necessary information. Here’s how to revitalize board meetings to maximize the productivity of every single one.
There are many perks to HOA living — increased security, protected property values, and a sense of neighborhood pride, just to name a few. And in some Community Associations, the perks go beyond the intangible and actually include physical benefits, like common spaces. These common spaces are areas that every member of the community can enjoy on their own time.
Property management companies can ease the burden of everything from finance management to administrative services to property maintenance — if you are able to find a good one. Finding an experienced, reliable, and affordable property management company is no easy feat for an already busy HOA board, but the benefits can make that search worthwhile.
The board of directors in an HOA or CA has a lot of power in its hands. As the leaders of the community, board members not only control the operations, they set the tone for how residents live their lives and interact with each other. Because board members are essentially unpaid volunteers, those who opt to serve on the board should be dedicated to improving the well-being of the community by enforcing collective goals and values. Having everyone’s best interest in mind is crucial to being a successful board member.
As annual elections take place, the real challenge comes with acclimating new board members. It is not simply enough to let newly elected volunteers sit back and learn as they go. Although a new member is sure to have a picture of what they will be doing, with everything from collecting dues on time to enforcing the rules of governing documents, one of the most important training strategies is to encourage the right attitude and behaviors. The following is what it takes to get new board members aligned with your HOA’s or CA’s goals:
Residing in a shared-living Association offers a unique and uniform way of life. Those who choose to make these communities home certainly value the perks and promises that are guaranteed to them, from aesthetically-pleasing design and amenities, to a trustworthy and hardworking Board of Trustees to support them.
But aside from the undeniable advantages of living in an Association, no community is immune to problems including crime and theft. The good news is the Board of Trustees can help ensure the entire community is equipped to prevent these issues before they happen. Here are some things that can be done:
A pool is undeniably one of the most attractive amenities that comes with living in an Association. Pools provide a sense of luxury and leisure as well as a unique opportunity for exercise and activity. Of course, maintaining a pool comes with many rules and regulations and it is imperative to ensure success and safety at all times.
Any Association that has a pool should take note that this year is bringing along several changes to the rules. It is in the best interest of the Board of Trustees to fully grasp these changes to make sure residents and board members alike are aware of what is happening. Doing so will ensure everyone can continue to enjoy this wonderful amenity while staying safe.
One of the most important responsibilities of any HOA or CA board is to properly allocate its community association’s funds. HOA members pay monthly or annual fees to enjoy the perks of living in a community association, and they expect their board to use that money in a way that will benefit the entire association.
But when costs for security, landscaping, and maintenance issues start popping up, it can be difficult to know how best to allocate funds to address these different types of expenses. And using money incorrectly can not only causes rifts within your HOA or CA, but can also cause legal repercussions as well. Having a robust reserve fund can be a huge asset for your community association if you understand what it is and what that fund can lawfully be used for.
The Board of Trustees are tasked with a great responsibility. Not only do they have the power to create a well-run and highly-functional Association, they also have the ability to create an enjoyable community for every resident to live in. Upholding all of the Association’s rules helps create this safe and fair space for everyone, but certain residents tend to break the rules from time to time. This is okay on occasion, but when one minor broken rule turns into a string of bad behavior, the Board of Trustees — and management company, if applicable — must get involved. Here’s what you can do to effectively deal with disruptive residents and keep your Association running smoothly.
“You are liable.” Just the phrase may conjure up chills. It’s one that no Association board member ever wants to hear when it comes to an accident. Although serving on a board is a highly rewarding job and a chance to serve the community in a meaningful way, the idea of having to deal with legal issues might be daunting.
In any community, especially one with amenities and common areas, accidents are bound to happen. So the question is: what are the Board of Trustees typically liable for? In most cases, such as a slip-and-fall near the pool, board members typically aren’t personally liable. Still, it’s important to remain as cautious and aware as possible in order to rid yourself of any liability risks. Here’s what you can do to stay safe (while keeping your community safe):
When it comes to the operations of an HOA, there’s much that has to be done on a daily basis. Oftentimes, an HOA board may opt to hire a property management company to assist with these day-to-day tasks, such as collecting dues and paying invoices. In addition, management companies can also take on financials, maintenance and contractors, creation of an annual budget, and more, which takes a lot of weight off the shoulders of the board members.