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At The Hignell Companies we have been providing professional management services for California Homeowner Association Boards for nearly 30 years. We love sharing our knowledge and perspective. Give us a call at 530-419-6032 if you have any questions.

An HOA Board’s Fiduciary Duty: The Key to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

April 15, 2016 at 10:31 AM / by HOA Manager

honesty_principles_trustIn homeowner’s associations, you and every board member are considered a fiduciary and are duty bound to act in the best interests of all residents, not your own best interests.

1) n. from the Latin fiducia, meaning "trust," a who has the power and obligation to act for another under circumstances which require total trust, good faith and honesty.

In general terms, fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care imposed under law, and it occurs when one or more persons are responsible for the money or property of another. The fiduciary is expected to be honest, free from fraud and faithful to his or her obligations. 

HOA board members are required to do their Due Diligence with regard to the business of the association. Board members should be present and participate at meetings, be involved with maintenance and violation issues, make decisions in the best interest of the association, and keep accurate corporate records.

Board members also have a duty to be loyal to the association and the decisions of the board, sometimes at the expense of your personal interest.

Accusations of self-dealing or conflicts of interest sometimes arise during the vendor hiring process. Generally, HOA board members who profit financially from hiring a vendor risk putting their own interests before those of the community.

What is your association doing to ensure the community comes first?

  • Ask board members to fully disclose a conflict when objectivity cannot be maintained.
  • Ensure the board minutes reflect the entire disclosure.
  • Require conflicted board members to sit out the board’s decision on the conflicting matter, as well as related executive sessions that may occur.
  • Seek multiple, sealed bids and carefully review them before making a decision.

If you have any questions about fiduciary duty, conflicts of interest or expectations for HOA board members a management company can help you avoid the pitfalls that may arise.

At The Hignell Companies we have been helping HOA and Condominium boards to manage their properties effectively for over 30 years. We provide full Board Advisory and Accounting services to nearly 40 associations, ranging in size from 25 units to 2300 units. Our range of services can meet the needs that you have for accountability and service, and we ensure that everything we do is measured by our commitment to "Creating Caring Communities."

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Topics: HOA Responsibilities, HOA Contractors, HOA Law