“When residents recognize their role (and responsibilities) and understand what they can expect from their board and community management team, it sets realistic expectations for everyone,” says Kate Grutzmacher of FirstService Residential. “Getting residents and association leaders to understand their respective functions creates a clarity that can lead to success for the community.”
To assist our communities in achieving a happy association, we’ve compiled a list of nine residents’ rights and responsibilities.
Residents have the right to...
1.  A quality association | That means it’s both responsive and capable.
2.  Fairness and honesty | That means from both their association leaders and their property management company, if their community is professionally managed.
3.  Financial stewardship | Association fees and assessments should be spent wisely and based on a realistic budget.
4.  High living standards | A community should be maintained according to its guidelines. If it’s managed by a good professional property management company, you should expect it to enhance your property value and quality of life.
5.  Documents | Members should have the complete documentation of association rules and regulations governing the association before their purchase is complete, or at least when they move in.
6.  Access | Books and records should be open to owners with just simple written requests.
7.  The opportunity to participate | This includes taking part in meetings, certain committees and elections.
8.  Reasonable process, especially when it comes to foreclosures | Residents should be able to discuss payment plans and options before proceedings begin.
9.  Appeal | A process should be in place that provides for the hearing and appeal of decisions made by community leaders that affect non-routine financial responsibilities or property rights.
Residents have the responsibility to...
1.  Be knowledgeable and compliant | They should read the governing documents, understand them and follow all HOA rules.
2.  Maintain their properties | They should maintain their homes and make sure they’re up to community standards.
3.  Be honest and respectful | That goes for how they behave with their neighbors, as well as their association leaders.
4.  Engage with their community | Voting in community elections is essential to ensure their voices are heard.
5.  Make timely payments | This enables a healthy cash flow for the community.
6.  Communicate | If they have difficulty paying assessments or meeting other obligations, they must reach out to their association leaders or community managers.
7.  Request reconsideration | Sometimes personal situations change. They should make these requests if material decisions are made that affect them personally.
8.  Provide contact information | This ensures association leaders or property managers can contact them and essential community information reaches them.
9.  Ensure compliance | This includes everyone who lives at the property, such as tenants, relatives and friends.
When it comes to community living, a little bit of knowledge can pay off in a big way. When residents are fully informed about their rights and responsibilities and what they can expect from their homeowners association – including what they’re expected to contribute – it can go a long way towards creating an HOA community that is friendly, efficient, serene and yes, even happy.

For more information on how to be the best board member you can be, contact FirstService Residential today.
Thursday May 11, 2017