During our decades providing property management services to communities, we have seen firsthand how strong relationships between HOA Boards of Directors and the residents they serve create a solid foundation for successful communities. Residents who volunteer their time to run for a seat on their HOA Board oversee the success of their communities by undertaking the critical task of making important decisions that bring the biggest benefits to increasing property values and facilitating the enjoyment of the community. From our experience talking with members of HOA Boards, we have heard a few things that Board members wish homeowners knew so homeowners can gain a clearer understanding of the Board’s responsibilities and the factors that influence their decisions.
Here are the top five things HOA Board members wish homeowners knew.
1. Board Members Want Homeowners to Attend Board Meetings
HOA Boards conduct meetings on a regular schedule and residents are encouraged to attend. By showing up to the community’s Board meeting, homeowners learn about important issues facing the community. At the meeting, residents have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions and gain a greater understanding of the factors that will ultimately play into the Board’s decision-making process. Board members are seeking resident input, feedback and guidance as they decide on what is best for the community at large.
2. They Want to Do What is Best for Homeowners
HOA Board members have a single purpose in mind: to increase property values by protecting the community. They make decisions with this overarching principle in mind. Both the HOA Board and a community’s homeowners association property management company share this goal. While some Board decisions might seem arbitrary or nitpicky, residents should remember that the Board and management company are required to use this as a basis to guide their decision-making.
3. The Board is Always Looking for Help
Board members want residents to volunteer for committees, run for a position on the Board and offer to undertake responsibilities to help the Board function more smoothly. The members of the HOA Board are volunteers and do not get paid for their service. They are willing to lend their time and attention to important issues to help protect the property values of the entire community. Residents with special skills or knowledge are encouraged to support fellow residents by volunteering their time for general needs or by serving on a committee.
4. Board Members Must Uphold the HOA’s Governing Docs
Board members have a legal fiduciary responsibility to uphold the governing documents for their community, whether they agree with the documents or not. Board members are not trying to be punitive or unreasonable when making certain decisions for the community. They are simply serving on a Board of Directors with important legal obligations. As a reminder, homeowners who are unhappy with any of the guidelines outlined in their community’s governing documents can open the conversation to make a change. Each community’s governing documents will outline details to initiate the process.
5. HOA Management Companies Are There to Help Residents, Not Just Enforce Rulings
HOA Boards hire management companies to provide advice on best business practices and help them understand the legal implications of their decisions. Since Board members volunteer their time, the management company provides administrative support like community inspections, communications services and expertise based on their lengthy experience in community management. However, Board members want residents to know that management companies have no authority to make decisions regarding the community. That role falls solely to Board members.
If residents have questions or concerns about how your community is run, we advise them to contact their management company. In addition, residents should attend Board meetings to get a more accurate picture of what is happening in their community and share their opinions. Between Board meetings, residents should contact their property manager. Managers are available to answer questions, clarify misconceptions and keep residents informed. Finally, we encourage residents to consider running for a position on their own community’s Board of Directors and to share their experience and expertise for everyone’s benefit.