A good HOA communication is everything
People choose to live in condos for various reasons, but one thing most owners have in common is that they’re anxious to rid themselves of many of the worries that come with owning a single-family home. They prefer to pay dues every month to an HOA that’s responsible for things like exterior maintenance and upkeep, landscaping, and common areas like pools and spas.
Since there are a number of “moving parts” when it comes to condo life — the HOA itself, led by an elected Board of Directors; the community residents, owners and renters; and the property manager — communication is key to preventing and solving issues that are bound to arise. Let’s look at how each of these groups should think about HOA communication.
HOA/Board of Directors
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that in many condo communities, just a small percentage of owners involve themselves in making decisions that can have a significant effect on everyone who lives there. Some HOAs have a tough time getting a quorum for annual elections.
This means communication is even more important, despite the fact that many owners seem somewhat carefree about HOA activities. What they don’t know definitely can hurt them.
A sound strategy to communicate with community residents is to produce a newsletter that’s distributed either electronically, via a HOA communication tool, or via hard copy. In addition, if the community has a website or mobile app, that’s a great vehicle through which to communicate time-sensitive news. Unfortunately, unless a “hot button” issue erupts, perhaps changing exterior paint colors or raising monthly dues, it might seem like the Board’s communication efforts fall on deaf ears, but they still need to occur.
Those who have stepped up to serve on the Board aren’t the only residents who should be concerned with communication. Everyone who lives in the community has a stake in its upkeep, safety and more, so it falls on the shoulders of all residents to communicate problems they see or concerns they would like reviewed.
In many condo communities, there is an owner vs. renter mentality, with many owners —especially those who live onsite full time — taking a dim view toward renters who often don’t abide by community rules. Communication comes into play in several ways in this arena: owners who rent their units should make sure their tenants are aware of the condo rules and regulations, and onsite owners who have issues with renters should communicate their displeasure, either to the rule breakers themselves or to the property manager. Speaking of which…
A good property management company can make a big difference in how pleasant life is in a condo community. You can tell if a firm is doing a nice job based on its communication skills. It should provide multiple ways for residents to get in touch; respond promptly to requests; be proactive in providing information about the community; and provide professional customer service steeped in patience, understanding, and transparency.
It’s especially important for the property manager to communicate clearly with the HOA Board. Deadlines should be communicated in writing, and detailed records of all communication — at Board meetings, including executive sessions; to individual Board members; and to all owners — must be kept and must reflect the professionalism of the company.
Never doubt the importance of HOA communication, especially when it comes to managing condo values, which is always at the heart of any activities by the Board, the residents and the property manager.
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