Question: We have a new HOA management account where the board does not want a representative from the management company to attend board meetings. What do you think?
Answer: The management company works for the board and if the board doesn't want the manager there, that's the way it is. But it's ill advised. The manager is hired to advise the board about HOA operations. Since the manager is more involved in day to day issues, she knows things the board doesn't. The board should enjoy the benefits and the avoid problems that will result by making decisions that do not include manager input.
Question: Our condominiums were built in the 1970s. When units sell, the inspection report frequently requires extensive and expensive repairs to the common elements attached to the subject unit like siding, paint, decks, etc. Since we have no reserves, each of these sales triggers a $2000-$5000 special assessment to take care of these repairs. Can we charge these costs to the unit seller?
Answer: If the repairs are the HOA's responsibility, a unit owner cannot be charged for them. But there is another issue to consider. Just because a lender says a common element needs to be fixed doesn't mean the HOA has to fix it right away. Even if the HOA has maintenance and repair responsibility, the board does have discretion when the event takes place. Usually a letter to the lender from the board stating that the repairs will be accomplished according to the board's scheduling suffices for the lender's file. Of course, if there is a safety issue, it should be taken care of as soon as possible.
An even bigger issue to consider is the lack of reserves. A 30 year reserve study is needed to assess long range repairs and replacements and their costs. When the 30 year plan is adequately and regularly funded, special assessments are avoided and costs are fairly shared by all members along the 30 year timeline. For more on this topic, see the Reserve Planning section at www.Regenesis.net.
Question: Our HOA wrestles with speeders on our community streets. Some members want speed bumps, some want stop signs. What alternatives are best?
Answer: Installing additional traffic control is a sensitive issue and should be discussed in an open meeting with owners. Is this a general problem or are there relatively few offenders that can be identified? Have the police been called to do periodic speed control?
Speed bumps are an option if allowed by the local jurisdiction. In some cities, an extra deep and relatively low speed bump has been developed for what is labeled "traffic calming zones". This speed bump spans the width of the street and is 3-5 feet deep. The impact is noticeable but not as radical as traditional speed bumps. They are installed in series every several hundred feet to keep traffic at or below 25 MPH. Traffic circles can be installed at intersections to slow traffic.
Why not inquire with your local jurisdiction's street department for traffic slowing options?
Question: Our board has adopted additional rules and regulations. Doesn't this require a vote of the members to amend the governing documents?
Answer: Governing documents in their original form are often generally worded to allow customization Typically, issues concerning pets, parking and money collection need "fleshing out" to work properly. The board generally has the authority to promulgate rules and regulations that are in keeping with the governing documents.
The board, however, cannot enact a rule that contradicts specific rules or policies in the governing documents. And even though the board has authority to make rules, those proposed rules should be reviewed for comment by the members prior to enactment to achieve "buy-in".
For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net.