In some states, such as Florida, it is legal for residents to film community association meetings. While there are many benefits to this, there are also some disadvantages as well. Consider the pros and cons of having your association meetings recorded and create regulations to help prevent misuse of recordings. Continue reading
In the past, paying bills meant getting out the checkbook, sending a check and wondering if it made it to its final destination. Now, more and more people are turning to online payments because of their great benefits. Check out these three reasons you have to use e-payments for associate dues and other bills. Continue reading
Running an HOA is challenging, especially when community members are difficult. The best way to overcome these challenges is through good communication between the board and residents. When there is good communication, residents understand the rules and reasons, and they are more inclined to come speak when they have a comment or suggestion. Continue reading
Your association is a business, and businesses needs great brands to keep customers coming back. A brand is what helps homeowners understand what living in your neighborhood is like. A brand full of youth and excitement attracts younger homeowners, while a brand focusing on family and kids attracts families. Check out these four tips to help you build the perfect brand for your association. Continue reading
HOAs have the right to regulate their communities, but does that mean they have the right to ban sex offenders? Nobody wants a sex offender in their back yard, but there are both pros and cons to banning sex offenders. Continue reading
The move-in inspection is an incredibly important step in the process of bringing new residents into a community, but many HOAs don’t handle them with the level of care that they should. An inspection report is a great way to settle conflicts between an HOA and a resident before they escalate to that level. By getting both parties to officially record that they agree about the state of the home and the responsibilities of each, both will be on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done, and will have an official record to check their grievances against when conflicts do arise. Continue reading
The holidays are coming! That means it’s time for potlucks, family get-togethers, and lots and lots of cooking. Many HOAs will be having community potlucks, giving residents a chance to show off their cooking skills and share tasty recipes with their neighbors. For anyone who wants to take part in these annual events but is worried that their cooking skills aren’t quite up to standard, there’s a new piece of technology, Drop (getdrop.com), that will help them find great recipes, prepare them to perfection, and then share them with the world. Continue reading
HOAs have long complained about how difficult it can be to collect delinquent fees that they are owed by homeowners who rent out their homes. In response, some states have taken action to allow HOAs to demand payment from the tenants of properties that have past due rent or fees, even though they are not technically the ones who have an agreement with the association.
While many HOAs are breathing a sigh of relief that they now have more avenues to recoup their losses and put pressure on delinquent accounts, these laws have also created a situation where the people being held responsible are technically innocent parties that have been put in the middle of a conflict they may have no control over. Despite this, some associations are resorting to booting residents’ cars, even those owned by tenants and not delinquent owners. Is this going too far? Continue reading
Board members serve an important role in an HOA. It can be a difficult job, and managing an entire community’s business is a lot to handle. In order to help your board be even more effective in the new year, we’ve put together some tips for helping them hold better meetings and make better decisions.
- Encourage community participation: for the board to best serve the community, it has to know what the community thinks and wants. Keeping the board an isolated, monolithic entity doesn’t accomplish that. Invite community members to attend the meetings and share their thoughts (while still laying out strict rules for when and how to speak, in order to keep the meeting on track).
- Promote ethical behavior: make it a point to have board members always advocate for the most ethical of behavior and actions. Put policies in place for audits and other reviews that get rid of even the appearance of impropriety.
- Hold meetings in a neutral location: an HOA board is an official body, but it’s also still a meeting of community members. Holding meetings in a local restaurant, church, or clubhouse makes for a friendlier atmosphere, while still giving the board the space needed to hold an effective meeting.
- Recruit board members with the right experience: while the desire to sit on a board is definitely a plus, that alone doesn’t make someone a good candidate. Try to find people in the community with business experience, leadership skills, and other useful traits and encourage them to run for a seat.
- Have official documents on hand: all HOA boards have covenants, bylaws, and other official documents that they have to follow. In case any issues regarding them come up, the board members should have these documents available and ready to be reviewed so that the matter can be dealt with quickly.
- Serve refreshments: working on an empty stomach can make people cranky and liable to make bad decisions. Have small refreshments available before the meeting (just be sure to put them away when it starts).
- Have a clear agenda: the items to be discussed at each meeting should be laid out beforehand, and every member prepared to discuss them fully when they enter the room.
New Year, New Resolve
The most important thing is that board members remember what it is that they’re there to do, and that community members help them do it as well as possible. In addition to these tips, try anything that will foster more communication between board members and HOA residents.
“Due diligence” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and most people at least have a vague understanding of what it means. But many times, an HOA doesn’t actually follow through with all of the steps that make up proper due diligence. Sometimes this is out of ignorance, sometimes it’s just out of convenience, but not following through on taking all the necessary precautions before entering a contract or making a hire can have disastrous consequences.
What is Due Diligence
Due diligence is, of course, the proper investigation of a person or business before entering into a contract or partnership with them. It’s an important part of successful business operations, especially those of an HOA. Because an association’s business is managing a community where people live, making poor decisions thanks to not doing the proper amount of research can have serious effects on people’s homes and lives.
Steps for Due Diligence for HOA
So what steps should an HOA take to make sure that it is performing its proper due diligence? The following steps are some of the basic requirements:
- Don’t just hire a contractor based on a recommendation. Even if the recommendation comes from someone you believe to be trustworthy, their word is not enough ensure that a contractor is fit for the job. It is a good starting point, but it’s not the end of the process. Look into consumer reports, check that the contractor has the proper permits, and also make sure that they have experience in the job for which you are hiring them.
- If you need to hire a lawyer, find one who specializes in the area of law for the specific issue with which they will be dealing. There are a lot of areas of law, and specializing in the specific areas that a case involves will give the lawyer you hire a much greater chance of getting you a successful outcome.
- Get references from other associations or homeowners. The best way to know whether or not a lawyer, contractor, accountant, or other person your HOA is getting ready to partner with is a good match is to talk with the people they’ve worked with before. If their previous clients have nothing but horror stories or found them hard to work with, it’s best to find someone else. Remember, you don’t have to settle for the first person you find.
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