Every organization comes with its fair share of challenges. The difference between an organization that thrives and one that just survives is how these challenges are handled. There are common issues in a homeowners association that challenge the Board’s responsibility to protect, maintain and enhance the asset. Continue reading to see if your HOA board can relate and resources to help you meet the challenges head on.
Challenge #1: Financial planning
It’s common sense that any organization needs to have an annual operating budget. In a homeowners association, it’s also crucial that the reserve budget is being planned for as well, and that a reserve study is done. What’s not easy is actually understanding the financial statements and knowing what should be line items in the reserve budget.
Related Article: Quick Cheat Sheet: Clarifying the HOA Operating & Reserve Budgets
Challenge #2: Enforcing documents
Each homeowners association has its own set of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) that outline how the Association lives together and operates, and Bylaws that state how the organization works. These are governing documents that the HOA board refers to when making decisions in the Association.
Related Article: Why It’s Important to Read the CC&Rs in Your Homeowners Association
Challenge #3: Collecting HOA fees
It’s important that Association members understand that the HOA fees are determined by the Association budget to help with services like building maintenance, landscape, and other amenities that add to the quality of life in the Association.
Members are often apprehensive that the fees will be increased each year, in which case you’ll have some refuse to pay in protest, or some who will just not be able to. Keeping members informed of any foreseen changes and having trustworthy systems in place will help streamline the collection process.
Challenge #4: Understanding the laws
In a nutshell, a Board needs to have a basic understanding of the laws that surround a homeowners association to avoid lawsuits! Taking the time to consult experts, such as the Association attorney, accountant or manager will help the Board be prepared if and when it’s faced with a lawsuit. There are also disclosures that need to be adhered to according to the Davis-Stirling Act (in California). Ignorance is not an excuse!
Related article: 4 Arresting Reasons an HOA Board Needs to Know the Law
Challenge #5: Member involvement
Sometimes it seems like pulling teeth to get members to attend board meetings or even read correspondence. Board members can help solve this problem by building relationships with members in the Association community. They can be proactive and ask intentional questions when interacting with members. For example, if their families are swimming together at the pool, ask how they like the amenities or if they feel safe letting their kids play outside.
Creating social events in the Association or simply extending an invitation to a Board meeting can also help build relationships and encourage members to be involved in what’s happening in their living community.
Related article: 6 Ideas for an HOA Board to Encourage Involvement in the New Year
If a Board deals with these challenges in a consistent, professional, and timely manner then the homeowners association will function as smoothly as possible and be an enjoyable place to live for everyone.