How Defining HOA Leaders’ Rights and Responsibilities Creates Happy Communities
Ready for more happiness? Last week, we described how when residents understand their rights and responsibilities, it goes a long way to creating a happy community. Well, in our never-ending quest to build and enhance community happiness, we’re back with Part 2 for homeowners association leaders. Here’s the scoop – when Board members (and property managers, if the community is professionally managed) have a thorough understanding of their rights and responsibilities, it helps to create an inviting community that is effectively managed, well-maintained and pretty darn happy.
To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of lucky sevens – seven each of the rights and responsibilities of community association leaders. Ready for the keys to happiness, board member style? Read on…
Community association leaders have the right to...
- Expect financial responsibility. It’s reasonable and expected to hold homeowners and non-owner residents accountable for meeting their financial obligations to the community association.
- Homeowner knowledge and compliance. Property management leaders need to trust that residents are knowledgeable and willing to adhere to all HOA rules and regulations.
- Give and receive respect. Fair and honest treatment must characterize all interactions between board members, property managers and residents, without exception.
- Constructive meetings. Even the most contentious HOA topics should be addressed positively and in ways that build consensus.
- Teamwork. Board members and property management staff shouldn’t have to go it alone – residents should work with community leadership to provide support, input and insight.
- Privacy. Community leaders shouldn’t always be on the clock...they have a right to personal time away from their jobs, including when they’re at home or enjoying community amenities.
- Education. The ability to attend trainings and workshops and have access to publications that will build community managers’ skills and knowledge and enhance their effectiveness (just make sure that all educational activities are approved in advance by the association).
Community association leaders have a responsibility to...
- Operate in the best interests of the community. HOA leaders and property management team members are obliged to lead operations and uphold fiduciary duties to protect the community’s value and lifestyle. They must make decisions in the best interests of the association, and utilize best practices and proven solutions to help achieve the association’s goals and vision.
- Be knowledgeable. HOA leaders and property managers should be well-versed about the community’s governing documents and applicable local laws and regulations. It is also important to remain up-to-date on all revisions and changes.
- Welcome new residents. HOA leaders and property managers should consistently welcome all new residents, both homeowners and non-owners, to extend a friendly hand and be neighborly, of course, but also to educate newcomers about the community.
- Provide access. Homeowners are entitled to receive copies of all appropriate records and documents upon request.
- Ensure timely payments. It’s up to community leaders to make sure all dues and assessments are paid on time. If individual homeowners have hardship situations, they should be provided assistance to find arrangements to help them meet their financial commitments. Foreclosure should only be used as a last resort, after exhausting all legal avenues.
- Encourage communication. Board members and/or the property management team should send out emails, flyers and newsletters to inform and communicate with homeowners – after all, engaged residents create stronger, happier communities. In addition, they should establish advisory committees and seek additional opportunities to solicit residents’ comments and feedback about community issues.
- Build community. A focus on creating fun, educational, social and/or entertaining events can build friendships, strengthen loyalty and foster a sense of neighborliness, community-wide. As a bonus, it will also fortify the associate as a whole.
When community association leaders thoroughly understand what they can expect from residents – and what they’re expected to deliver – the pay-off is a harmonious and desirable community that is well-maintained, well-run and well, happy.