Guidelines for HOA Committees: Different Committees and Their Responsibilities
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“Success by committee” is a common expression, but do you know how committees help homeowners association (HOA) boards achieve success? HOA committees are integral in assisting boards with everything from operations to finance, and they can help boards by taking on tasks and freeing up members’ time. Committees make significant improvements, helping the community thrive. Let’s explore the ins and outs of HOA committees, how they are formed, what type of community business they handle and examples of HOA committees.
While some board members are elected to their roles with the professional knowledge and/or previous association board experience they need to perform successfully, others have little or no knowledge or training in HOA governance. But no matter their prior experience, they must juggle their HOA board responsibilities with obligations to their families, jobs, hobbies, civic involvement and other personal interests and responsibilities.
HOAs hire property management companies to handle their community’s day-to-day operations and management responsibilities, under their direction. When communities are professionally managed, board members still play a role in dealing with ongoing community issues that need to be addressed, as well as one-off issues that arise throughout the year. That’s where advisory committees come in – helping board members by providing a good perspective and understanding of the topic at hand.
In addition to providing valuable assistance to the association board, committees also involve more shareholders with personal experience in the governance process, resulting in a stronger, more involved community. As a bonus, they provide committee members with valuable HOA governance, making them a hands-on training ground for new community leaders. Not to mention, more residents are able to get involved in their community and make a positive difference that all residents can benefit from.
Effective committees can be your community’s lifeline, so if you need a helping hand, consult with a seasoned board member or a good property management company for guidance. We’ve also put together some basic facts and guidelines on committees to help. Ready to position your board for success by committee? Read on…
What are HOA Committees, and What Do They Do?
HOA committees assist board members by addressing specific community issues and tasks while serving in an advisory role for the benefit of the community. They gather information, assess problems, and recommend solutions to the board. What types of committees work with community boards?
Depending on the community, committees may be formed that deal with:
Building and Grounds
Covenants Enforcement (Violations)
Building and Grounds
Repair and maintenance
Buildings and grounds
What are the Different Types of HOA Committees?
Generally, HOAs create two types of committees; standing and ad hoc. Standing committees are permanent committees that meet regularly to handle ongoing tasks such as finance or landscaping. Ad hoc committees are short-term, temporary committees formed to handle specific tasks, like developing a new operating plan, amending the HOA’s bylaws, or solving issues impacting the community and residents.
How is an HOA Committee Formed?
Most HOA’s bylaws allow for committees to be formed at the discretion of the Board of Directors. The bylaws may also authorize the board to decide on the qualifications for members, member selection, removal process and committee size. The committee is formed to provide to provide recommendations and support to the Board. It is important to note that committees, unless directly permitted by the Board, typically do not have the final decision-making authority. The role falls to the Board of Directors.
What is the Ideal Committee Size?
Committees can range from one individual to whatever number of members the association board deems acceptable. But size does matter. Committees can become hard to manage if there are too many participants involved. Typically, HOA committees range from two to seven members and average somewhere in the middle, depending on the task.
What is the Proper Committee Structure?
How should your association board organize its committees? There is no set standard, but committees are most effective when they fit the needs of the HOA and community. It’s also important they are aligned to board members’ strategic priorities. But no matter how they’re set up, every committee needs a mission, a strong leader, a sound plan and a clear statement of goals and responsibilities.
The Importance of Creating a Committee Charter
Once your board forms a committee, it should create a committee charter – a written document that defines its duties and responsibilities – and those of its members. The charter also establishes the relationship between the board and the committee. It spells out the committee’s limitations – such as what expenses it can accrue and which actions it can take. But it’s a good idea for the board to not be overly restrictive – you don’t want to thwart your committee from achieving its goals. But it’s worth repeating that committees are primarily in place to provide board members with additional perspective.
HOAs Benefit from Well Organized Committees
There are numerous benefits to HOAs that have well organized committees, but there are three main benefits:
Most association boards don’t have term limits, which means a board can consist of the same members for any length of time. Having committees made up of other community members brings a fresh perspective to the board and new ideas the board may not have thought of before.
Many community members want to be involved and have a positive impact in the place they live but most don’t have the time to dedicate to being a board member. Committees are a great way for more residents to get involved with less of a time commitment.
Acts as a Check on the Association Board
Checks and balances are important in any government or organization and that includes HOAs. The committees act as a check on the board by reviewing facts, making recommendations and assessing solutions separately from the board.
Many tasks and responsibilities go into effective association management, but board members don’t have to go it alone. When committee members work in tandem with board members to shoulder some of the duties, they help strengthen the HOA and the community, which is a win-win for everyone.
For more information about committees – and how they can help board members perform more effectively – contact FirstService Residential.