HOA Tips – How to Manage Your HOA Well
HOAs help protect your home’s value and uphold regulations that make your community better. However, they can also have a negative impact if not managed well.
Keeping the lines of communication open is the best way to address residents’ concerns. Why choose our business? Publicly addressing them in your newsletter shows that your community’s voices matter.
1. Hire the Right Vendors
The right vendors can make all the difference when it comes to a community’s maintenance needs. Whether it’s a landscaping company or roofer, HOA board members should make sure that each vendor they hire is licensed and has the appropriate insurance coverage for the services they provide.
A reputable vendor will be more than happy to provide these details, as they know that transparency is important to their clients. If they are hesitant or resistant, this is a red flag that should be investigated further.
It is also a good idea to request business references and review each proposal for value, rather than simply considering cost. Choosing a vendor solely on price can end up costing the association more in the long run. The right vendor will be able to provide quality service for an affordable rate.
2. Be Firm with Collections
Few services allow people to go without paying their bills, and homeowners associations are no exception. Having a firm but fair approach to collections can make your association more effective at meeting its goals.
HOA rules can be confusing and intimidating, especially for new residents. They can dictate everything from parking and satellite dishes to pet ownership and architectural guidelines. Educating residents about the rules will help them understand their obligations and avoid costly fines.
Many states have laws governing the way debt collectors treat consumers, and it’s crucial that your collection agency is up to speed on them. A homeowner in Nevada recently won a half-million-dollar-plus judgment against two collection firms for violating these laws. If possible, you should try to work out payment plans with delinquent members.
3. Be Consistent With Your Rules
Most HOA rules are designed to protect the property value of the community and the safety of its residents. Enforcing these rules should be done consistently. However, there are times when a board must take different approaches to various situations in order to respond appropriately and fairly.
If a resident has violated an HOA rule, start with a friendly warning before pursuing any legal action. In most cases, this is enough to make the homeowner stop committing the violation. If not, a fine may be necessary.
A good way to communicate the importance of community guidelines is to issue frequent, friendly reminders throughout the year through emails, meetings, and flyers. This helps prevent confusion about the guidelines and encourages residents to follow them. It also shows that the board is committed to maintaining a happy, healthy community.
4. Be Open to Feedback
When it comes to building a sense of community, open communication is key. That means being open to feedback, even if it’s critical or unpleasant. Listen to residents’ concerns and suggestions, and try to respond appropriately, even if you can’t fully implement the suggestion.
HOA board meetings that are disorganized or take too long are a red flag. A comprehensive communications policy can help keep your meetings efficient and productive.
Before each meeting, review the agenda and materials with your management company to ensure you’re ready to discuss the topics. This will allow you to spend more time focusing on important issues and less time on minutiae. It’s also important to remember that the HOA board’s open forum is not the place for personal attacks or threatening, defamatory, abusive, or derogatory language.
5. Be Transparent
HOA transparency helps homeowners understand where their money is going and whether or not the board is making good decisions. Transparency can also help residents cut their spending and give the savings back to the community, which will reduce HOA fees.
One way to increase transparency is to have a point person run your meetings. A meeting leader can keep the discussion focused and avoid passionate conversations that eat into the time allocated to other topics on the agenda.
Another way to be more transparent is to get to know your neighbors. If you see a neighbor violating neighborhood guidelines, such as parking or hanging their laundry on the line, be sure to talk to them face-to-face before calling in the HOA to report them.