A well-run HOA makes living in your community a joy, and makes it worthwhile to pay your annual fees. There are more than 330,000 community associations today (per the Community Associations Institute) and many of them are extremely well managed. Others would like to improve. Here are 3 big tips that have proven their worth over and over for HOA management.
1. Maintain Good Communication Between the Board, the Manager and the Residents
No one and nothing is perfect. People make mistakes. A good and open communication system between those with responsibilities and the residents oils the wheels. It sounds simple, but all well-managed HOAs communicate well.
The reverse is also true - HOA managers, directors and committee members who have open and free-flowing communication tend to be better managed. The reason, simply, is that when residents and those with responsibility can talk with, email, read updated notice boards, etc, little problems come to light quickly.
When a little problem comes to light in a co-operative environment, everyone tries to solve it. In addition, if the people who want to solve the problem lack knowledge or skill - they educate themselves. This stops the little problem from growing, and it minimizes the chances of that problem repeating. Well-managed HOAs have few problems.
2. Get Everything Clear to Begin With
HOA Boards of Directors are legally responsible, but they usually hire professional management to handle the day-to-day work. The manager hires the landscape company, the pool company, organizes repairs to common elements, they may even deal with architectural control for new construction or remodeling.
Most management companies have a standard contract they use with every client HOA. It is too easy for the Directors to assume the manager is on the ball, will stay on the ball, and is always working in accordance with what everyone "assumes" should be done.
The best way to ensure that all the day-to-day responsibilities are happening is, at the start of every year, to have the manager and the Board meet to agree, line by line if need be, what the management contract includes, how work will be ordered, supervised, billed, paid for ,etc. When the manager, and the directors are clear, and when the residents are kept informed, then you minimize the risk of things not being done to standard. Well-managed HOAs keep the details clear.
3. Retain an Experienced Community Association Attorney
Professional managers should be up to date on the law, so they can work within it. Attorneys have to be up to date, so they can advise, support and can handle the actual legalities when problems do get out of hand. Some owners do fall way behind on the annual fees, some do want to erect something that is against the HOA covenants, and some management companies hire personnel who do not handle the details of HOA accounts perfectly.
It is easy to try to use common sense to solve big problems, but the law may not appear to be on the side of common sense. An experienced and friendly attorney will not only "ride shotgun" for the HOA to help stop those big problems from happening, but they will know the most time-efficient and cost-effective ways to handle them. Well-managed HOAs have the law on their side.
The Big Takeaway
When the HOA has these 3 big tips to improve HOA management in place, things start smoothly, proceed smoothly, and the year ends more smoothly. "Communicate, clarify and control" are the watchwords of a successful HOA.
Published by your friends at VerticalRent