When it comes to keeping the residents of an HOA happy, it’s up to the board members to uphold its delegated responsibilities and treat everyone with respect. Failing to do so can lead to internal problems and may end up causing legal issues. In order to keep an HOA running smoothly, residents must trust that their board members have their best interests at heart at all times.
To make sure that residents are aware of the board’s good intentions, it’s important for board members to take note of common mistakes, and to understand how these slip-ups can be avoided. Heeding this advice will help to strengthen the community of your HOA, and most importantly, ensure quality living and satisfaction day in and day out.
1. Failing to Enforce Rules
As a board member, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the community is running according to plan. Written out in your HOA’s governing documents are a set of rules and regulations that must be upheld. Diplomatically enforcing these rules and taking action regardless of personal preference is essential to maintaining a well-run association.
Enforcing one rule while ignoring another will only lead to problems. Other board members, as well as residents, may come to distrust you, not to mention legal issues can take place when certain rules are swept under the rug. It’s crucial to be serious about the rules and to stay consistent. This way, residents will be less likely to violate any rules.
That being said, it’s important to know the “ins and outs” of your HOA’s rules and procedures. New board members should not be hesitant to seek out help from long-standing members, and they should go through the HOA’s governing documents completely to understand the extent of the job and responsibilities. An orientation for new board members is a great way to get everyone up to speed on how the HOA is run to prevent future mistakes.
2. Not Being Transparent
Residents not only like to be in the loop, they appreciate it. A sense of secrecy may lead to doubt, suspicion, and harboring negative feelings and negative reactions. Explaining an issue as it arises, for example, helps to perpetuate a sense of community and empowers residents to feel involved and in control of their ownership.
While not every problem that arises should be shared, issues that could affect a resident’s daily life, such as an increase in fees, should be clearly communicated. When residents know that they are being looked after and considered in the face of changes, they will continue to trust the board and abide by the rules.
Part of strong leadership means addressing issues in a fair and just way and informing residents of matters that may have a direct impact on them. Answering questions thoughtfully and remaining patient shows that you place residents’ needs at the forefront of your agenda, and it proves that you are invested in and committed to creating a well-run community.
3. Falling Behind on Financial Issues
In addition to keeping residents in the loop and fostering a genuine connection within the community through transparency and enforcement of the rules, staying on top of financial duties keeps the HOA running smoothly and maintains a sense of trust between the residents and the board. Failing to do so or lagging behind, on the other hand, leads to trouble. For example, exhibiting leniency when it comes to collecting necessary fees creates a host of problems by disrupting cash flow. These fees must be collected on time in order to uphold the quality of the community’s common areas. Although it can sometimes be troublesome to pester people who have not paid, it’s important to stick to a strict routine.
Just like enforcing every rule to ensure fairness, treating every resident equitably in terms of collection times is crucial to maintain a trustworthy community. Because it can be easy to feel an emotional pull toward one resident over another, you may get into the habit of letting certain payments slide. This biased reaction only causes mistrust within the community and should be avoided at all costs. Be professional about this job duty and remember that failing to collect fees and overdue fees can damage the structure of your HOA.
Serving on an HOA board comes with many benefits, from having the opportunity to strengthen a community and preserve a wonderful way of living, to fortifying social relationships with other board members and residents. Serving on a board and having the power to uphold responsibilities is also an incredible undertaking.
There are mistakes that board members can make that hinder the growth of an association. In order to maintain civility and peace, board members must fulfill their individual duties with a clear understanding of what they should and should not do. By reaching out to other board members for information, understanding the governing documents and job roles and treating every resident fairly, board members can alleviate many problems that are bound to arise.