10 Things Your Homeowners Wish Your HOA Board Knew
Homeowners choose to buy a home in a managed association for a combination of reasons. They like the standards that maintain property appearance and values. They have access to amenities they might not be able to afford on their own. They lack either the time or skill needed to address exterior maintenance and repairs. Homeowners have high expectations of their HOA Boards. How does your Board rate among the ten things homeowners wish you knew?
Keep homeowners informed. Homeowners grow suspicious when they feel like they aren’t clued in about association business. Transparency is vital for HOA Boards. Make your meetings as open and accessible as possible. Have financial records available for review. Communicate news to homeowners via newsletter or website. Creating a glass house for your HOA Board builds homeowner trust.
Avoid playing favorites. Selective rule enforcement rarely escapes notice. It pits neighbor against neighbor. Homeowners lose respect for the Board. Every member of the association is subject to the same rules, assessments and penalties. Violations become less personal and generate fewer complaints when rules are consistently enforced. It’s the HOA Board’s duty to enforce all rules fairly—for other Board members, neighbors and family.
Present a united front. Board disagreements cause conflicts in the community. Everyone has their own idea on how to run the association, so differing opinions are common. It’s okay to disagree behind the scenes, but communicate with a united voice within the community. It’s difficult for the community to have confidence in a Board that is publicly divided.
Clarify communications. Unclear messages from your Board create more questions than answers. Long-winded details and statistics are only good for bedtime reading. Keep homeowner attention focused by communicating clearly and concisely.
Don’t rely on special assessments to balance the budget. Homeowners recognize that unexpected major expenses create the need for a special assessment. But, homeowners resent Board members passing an insufficient budget that will ultimately require a special assessment or assessments to make ends meet.
Seek to understand before acting. Avoid hasty decisions when assuming your board responsibilities. Take time to understand how things work (or why they don’t) before attempting changes. Understanding is the first step to better decisions.
Don’t abuse your power. Rule No. 1 is that Board members act as a team, not individually. It’s essential for every member to understand what he or she can and cannot do legally.
Be responsive to homeowners. If a question or comment requires investigation, let the homeowner know. Acknowledge receipt of all homeowner communication, and followup. This encourages both trust and confidence.
Implement scheduled maintenance. Routine maintenance requires less expense and time than major replacements costs. Don’t allow the community to slide in a state of disrepair.
Maintain personal ethics. Individuals shouldn’t derive personal gain from serving on the Board. Not only is this an ethical problem, but many situation are illegal.