When a presidential vote or even mid-terms approach, people get in a frenzy. Everyone seems to have an opinion about why their candidate will do right by them, even when they are hundreds of miles away. When it comes to community association’s board of directors, a Condo election or HOA election becomes much more personal, as it’s now your neighbors who will control your community’s destiny.
As a board member, you must be capable of seeing the community as a city, where you’ll govern people with different tastes, opinions, and lifestyles. It’s important to do what is best for the community and act ethically.
The list of obligations of a community is extensive, so those who are starting a career should know the law and understand the first steps to be taken.
To help, I’ll explain the step by step!
Know your governing documents and state law
Each state has there own set of rules and restrictions. For example, in California its the Sterling Davis Act and in Florida its Statues 718, 719,720 depending on the type of ownership. These laws are always changing and as displayed in the case of Florida, there are new laws that require condominiums of a certain size to have a website and accessible documents for the residents. These everchanging laws can be learned during the many Law Updates that are offered through the state. Outside of these state laws, each condo or HOA has a separate set of governing documents which dictate the specific rules and guidelines within the community. These documents will be the key to ensure the rights and duties of each resident are fulfilled.
Organize your documents
Aside from the governing documents, there are various invoices, meeting minutes, request for proposals, architectural requests and alike, of which, the community board of directors and/or community association manager will need to keep track. Lucky for you there are many online document repositories available to ensure proper organization. Another recommendation would be to have separate privileges based on the role of the individual ensuring they would have proper access to the system. This would allow transparency for all residents, while still allowing discretion when addressing personal community members or confidential matters.
Budgeting and Planning
This is often referred to the most important piece of the community as it directly affects the health of the community.
Financial stability is crucial to the success of an association. As an HOA or Condo board of directors, it is up to you to establish a reasonable budget that addresses the requirements and standards of the community, while trying to maintain a reasonable maintenance fee for the residents.
Overall, many people struggle to think about the future and community reserves are no different. The immediate desire to upgrade the pool cabanas or install new tennis courts often replaces the need of reserves for future maintenance issues. Reserves serve three main purposes – Emergencies, Deferred Maintenance, and bad debt. In order to get a better handle on your communities reserves, you can have a third party conduct a “Reserve Study” to ensure the community is sufficiently funded. Outside of the health of the community, if there are poor reserves it may also prevent certain mortgages to be used when purchasing a property, only further limiting future assessments from being collected.
Building Insurance is also another issue that is often overlooked. Every community is required to have insurance. The board of directors, as the legal representative of the community, must always be aware of the insurance’s coverages and keep it up to date.
Communication is undoubtedly the key to generating a healthy experience within a community association life. Some communities still use outdated means to carry out this process, which makes it much more difficult to conduct meaningful interactions between community administrators and the residents. Administrators must seek to manage the community with a participative administration, opening the doors to opinions and suggestions of the residents, vendors, and employees.
In order to carry out these actions, there are tools created to solve these problems, and to provide transparency to residents. Solutions may include the option to create polls or community surveys for residents to provide their opinions on changes to the community.
Operating an HOA or Condominium contains a variety of complicated tasks that resemble the operation of any other business. To serve on the board of these associations should be seen as a wonderful opportunity and time when you can influence those closest to you.
I hope you enjoyed this article and should you be interested in learning more about our community website as well as our HOA and Condo resident portal for enhancing communication, please reach out!