Homeowner association boards are elected to rule over HOA business. Some do it better than others because of training or natural ability. But resources are readily available to train even novice board members on the art of HOA governance. Regenesis.net has a vast collection of good HOA business practices and helps designed to keep the board pointed in the right direction. There is little excuse for mishandling this business other than neglect or intent.
While good business practices are fundamental to getting the job done right, "people" practices are equally important. While most HOA elections are not usually barraged with candidates, the members do care what the board does. When the board doesn't do it right, some members simmer at a slow boil, some bellow and others beat tar and feather drums. The picture isn't pretty for well intentioned directors.
A truly effective and perceptive board understands the need to keep members in the loop and business open and transparent. This style of management may seem cumbersome. In reality, running business transparently is largely symbolic and requires little more from the board other than a few member-friendly practices. Here are a few of the most important ones:
Board meetings should be open to members and held in guest friendly venues, locations and times.
Allow members to express dissenting opinions and question board actions at the board meetings.
The board should respond respectfully to dissenters.
Have an HOA website for need-to-know information and to process maintenance requests.
Distribute meeting minutes within a week of the meeting.
Provide welcome packets to new members with need-to-know information.
Distribute quarterly newsletters.
Make sure all rules and design guidelines are written and readily available.
Make sure your rules are few and truly necessary.
Rules include the reason for enactment, a reasonable penalty and right of appeal.
Board policies that affect lifestyle and ownership responsibilities are circulated to owners for comment prior to enactment.
Using these member friendly practices demonstrates that the board operates in the open plus respects the members and their opinions. Simply communicating that attitude will keep most members satisfied that the board is doing a good job. Failure to provide these kind of services results in discord and suspicion which promotes hassles that the board doesn't need.
Another benefit of member friendly business practices is that they get the board organized and prepared to do business. With these systems in place, crisis management becomes rare and the directors can hang up their firefighter suits.
Still another benefit of this management style is that serving on a board that has a clear plan of action is personally rewarding. As others observe the rewards, they will volunteer to be part of a winning team. Getting things done attracts achievers. Success begets more success. Happy members means a harmonious community. When it comes to HOA business, keep it transparent by practicing glass housekeeping.
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