So you decided to be a member of the Board of Directors of your HOA. Now what? Running a homeowners association is not that much different than running a household or a small business. Let’s address some important factors for effectively managing a homeowners association.
Should you outsource association management
The size of your community could be the biggest consideration when it comes to outsourcing the management of your HOA. If you have a small community with very few amenities (less than 40 owners), the board could manage the association with very little time expended and possibly contract a management company for bookkeeping responsibilities. However, any association that has buildings, pools, gates and roads to maintain should contract with a management company.
The benefit of contracting with an association management company is that as a Board member you are not consumed with the day to day operation of the neighborhood. You are also not engaged in trying to govern your neighbors, which tends to get a bit uncomfortable. For a professional management company, its a business, its not personal. Management companies will assist the Board of Directors by developing budgets, soliciting competitive bids for services, provide annual, semiannual or monthly billings and provide financial statements each month. Association management companies will also handle the other unpleasant tasks such as enforcing the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Therefore you, as a Board member, do not have the difficult task of confronting a neighbor about the boat in his front yard.
But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. The one job the management company does not undertake is the decision making process. The Board will be tasked with the decision to file liens for unpaid assessments, further actions for violations of the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and increasing assessments to cover the financial burdens of the association.
How to effectively govern your HOA
Finding the right balance between neighbor and authority is daunting for some. With a professional management company you can focus more on being a good neighbor and less on being the police of the neighborhood. Let the management company do the heavy lifting. But make sure your own ducks are in a row and that you are compliant with the deed restrictions. Remember nobody wants to live next to the nosy, know it all neighbor. If you find that a resident in your neighborhood is not complying with the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions maybe do a little detective work to see what the cause may be. Perhaps there’s been an illness, husband is working overtime or is out of town a lot. Most people who live in a community understand there are restrictions but circumstances come up beyond their control and they might just need a hand. Try to lend a helping hand before you become heavy handed.
Peace and harmony in a community is important because your home should be your refuge. By not being heavy handed in the enforcement of the deed restrictions you can create a sense of community instead of resentment.