As 2020 approaches, it’s tradition for many to begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Beyond one’s personal resolutions, this is a perfect time to commit to making changes and improving the operations of HOA Boards.
Here are some tips that can help HOA Boards build stronger communities:
1 . Re-read Your Community’s Governing Documents
Refresh yourself on the procedures for holding annual meetings and Board elections, the types of architectural changes that are allowed, and the procedure for getting changes approved by the Board or the architectural control committee. Also, it can be a good idea to consider whether the rules governing the use of common areas need updating.
2. Check Your Contracts
Review current contracts and look for ways to do things better —more efficiently, with less cost, etc. You may also wish to rethink the length of your contracts. For example, you may not desire to have a long-term contract with new vendors, but a longer contract with an existing vendor may be beneficial. A few adjustments can make a difference for associations experiencing financial difficulties.
3. Examine Board Communications
If Board members fail to share information with all of the Directors, it can create a lack of understanding that may lead to poor decision-making. This can also create hard feelings that interfere with productive Board member relationships and teamwork. Resolve to create an excellent communication process between Board members to foster an environment in which strong decisions can be made for the betterment of the entire community.
4. Review Reserve Funds
Do you, or will you, have enough reserve funds on hand when it’s time to replace the roofing, repave the parking areas, or refurbish the clubhouse? Are you setting aside enough of the monthly assessment income to fund these long-term needs? If the answer to these questions is no, then your board should consider hiring a reserve specialist to analyze your common elements and help you develop a long-term reserve funding plan so that large special assessments on homeowners will not be necessary when something needs to be replaced or repaired.
5. Plan Some Fun
Find a convenient time around each major holiday or season and plan an event or activity to bring the community together. For example, a pool party and cookout could make for a wonderful summer gathering. More social events get owners mingling with one another, which encourages camaraderie and decreases the amount of owner complaints and infighting.
6. Stay Informed
For residents, the benefits of getting to know the HOA Board are outstanding. For the HOA Board, committing to continually educating themselves and improving their knowledge about HOA management and their community helps everyone!
7. Seek out Professional Advice
It can sometimes be challenging for Board members to stay on top of everything that is needed when running an association. Reserve specialists, accountants, HOA property managers, insurance brokers and public adjusters, engineers, architects, attorneys, and pool and landscaping contractors can all help you make better-informed decisions on the best use of your community’s assets and relieve you of the anxiety of dealing with concerns that the board is not equipped to address.
Many association boards face a variety of challenges in providing leadership and direction. As with any successful organization, a clear mission statement, the establishment of goals and priorities, and a clear understanding of both the short- and long-term financial challenges ahead will put your Board in a better position to succeed. Follow these tips to have a successful HOA Board in 2020!