The relationship between individual board members and the homeowners that they represent can be one of the best parts of a homeowners association. It can also be one of the most frustrating aspects on an HOA if these relationships are not healthy. A lot of the responsibility to create these healthy interactions rests on the shoulders of the board. Although you cannot control the reactions of the people around you, as an HOA board member, you can do your best to avoid these top mistakes to promote peace in the community.
Working Against the Board
There is a time to disagree, and there is a time to give up your opinions and support the rest of the board. Disagreement can justly occur during open discussions and during voting or elections. However, once the board has reached a decision, it is each board member’s responsibility to stand behind the decision. Disunity in the board can cause confusion, unnecessary anger, and resentment in the community.
Not Collecting Fees On Time
Most homeowners are incredibly faithful about paying their fees on time every month. Nothing is more frustrating and unprofessional than a board that neglects to collect the fees in a timely manner. This not only inconveniences residents, it makes the board seem like they do not care and disrupts crucial cash flow into the association.
Neglecting to File Tax Returns
A common misconception among board members is that it is unnecessary for a homeowners association to file tax returns during tax season. In fact, most HOAs are required to pay some taxes, and even those who have officially registered as a non-profit organization still have to fill out IRS Form 1120-H or similar. Failing to do so can drag the community down by exposing the association to fees, penalties, and the loss of your non-profit status.
Working Without the Board’s Approval
Although enthusiasm and a desire to improve your homeowners association is a good and healthy thing, this eagerness can translate into frustration when it is viewed as an attempt to gain control or power over the rest of the board. This can happen when you go behind the back of the board by having meetings with residents, contractors, or vendors without the knowledge or permission of the board. Even if you think you are working in conjunction with the board’s wishes, it is best to always gain approval before acting.
Neglecting to Update Insurance
Excessive special assessments are one of the most frustrating things for homeowners. Special assessments can happen when the board neglects to update current insurance, does not have insurance at all, or does not choose an effective policy. It is the board’s responsibility to maintain an updated and excellent policy at all times in case of emergency or natural disaster.
As an individual board member, you can have a lot of positive influence on the other board members, residents, and the community at large. By reminding the board to file taxes and update insurance, and by working with the board instead of against it, you can bring favorable changes to your association.