Making your New Year’s resolutions? Why not resolve to improve your community this year?
Here are eight declarations that HOA board members should consider to help ensure their term on the board is a success.
- I will understand my association’s governing documents (CC&Rs, bylaws, etc.). Make a point to carefully re-read your community’s governing HOA documents. Confirm that you have the most recent version of each document. Pay close attention to procedures for meetings and architectural changes. You don’ t have to commit the documents to memory, but having a refresher session will make it much easier for you to recall specific articles to refer to as needed.
- I will communicate with the members of the association. Communication in community associations can be difficult. Adopt an official communication platform so that you can get important information to members of your association. Use your communications to promote transparency in all board activities to maintain a level of trust with your members. Understand that not all HOA members will know their responsibilities under the governing documents, so make these documents easily accessible and address frequently asked questions regularly.
- I will commit to best practices in HOA management. Join your local Community Associations Institute chapter, attend their events, and familiarize yourself with their educational resources. Let your members know that the board is dedicated to strengthening their leadership skills so that your commitment to the community can inspire others.
- I will review financing for common areas now to prevent special assessments in the future.Is your association prepared to replace or repair common area structures? Have you projected long-term financial needs to maintain these areas? Are you collecting enough income to build reserve funds that will meet these needs? If you are concerned that the funding will not be there for special projects, consider hiring a reserve specialist to help your association budget for these expenditures, and look into alternative fundraising avenues to earn revenue for your association.
- I will set a time limit for meetings. Show members that you respect their time by adhering to a time limit for all meetings. Arrive for all meetings prepared and review any key documents in advance. Keep your HOA meetings on topic by following an agenda. When it is not your turn to speak, listen attentively so that nothing needs to be repeated, and so that all contributors feel valued.
- I will recruit more volunteers. Share the workload and get your members involved by boosting your volunteer efforts this year. You have a wealth of talent in your association; put that talent to use by forming volunteer committees focused on landscaping, beautification, social functions, special projects, etc.
- I will ask for help when I need it. There are professionals who specialize in the issues associations face. Accountants, community managers, architects, lawyers, landscaping contractors, etc., can take the stress out of making major decisions. The money spent on hiring a professional may be well worth the expense and stress of making a mistake.
- I will always show members of my association respect. Serving on an HOA board is an honor that you have been entrusted with. Do not abuse the position. There will be members who test your patience, but it is important to remember that these are your neighbors and members of your community. Treat each person with fairness.
Resolving to successfully serve your community association this year will make your time on the HOA board more rewarding—for both you and your community.