Poor communication in HOA communities is already a serious issue in its own regard. That same lack of communication in HOA neighborhoods can lead to bigger HOA issues down the road. From minor HOA management issues to open conflict between the board and homeowners, HOA communication issues have a systemic impact on the whole community. Looking for ways to improve HOA communication, then, is perhaps one of the biggest priorities a community manager can have.
Poor Communication in HOA Communities: What’s the Worse That Can Happen?
If you’re not already convinced, let’s take a look at the top HOA management headaches that poor communication in HOA developments can lead to. Whether it be between board members, between residents and the board, or between the HOA and vendors, a lack of communication can cause a myriad of problems within the community, some more serious than others.
Poor communication in HOA boards and between directors and residents can lead to bigger problems if not addressed. Here are the top HOA management issues that are caused by a lack of communication in HOA communities, the likely reasons for this deficiency and how HOAs can fix the problem.
#5: Being Seen as an Absentee Board
HOA communication issues can lead to a serious decline in the image of the HOA board. Even if the community management teams are doing their best to improve the community, poor communication in HOA communities can obscure any progress that’s being made.
The board members are seen as the types to complacently sit around and not do much. Even worse, the lack of communication in HOA developments often leads to residents feeling that their issues are being ignored.
#4 Being Seen as an Insensitive and Heavy-Handed Board
Poor communication in HOA communities can often lead to feedback from owners failing to reach the HOA board. When the board gets little to no feedback from residents, HOA communication issues quickly turn into HOA management issues.
The board may push for improvements that the residents are actually opposed to. Or, the board may turn down the proposals that homeowners are excited about. In any case, the board is seen as an insensitive group that seemingly does not even consider the opinions of the residents. Worse, they start being seen as the community bullies.
#3 Rise in Complaints from Angry Residents
A lack of communication can often mean that residents are in the dark about things that they have the right to know. This is especially true when it comes to finances.
Homeowners have the right to know where their money is going each year in the yearly budget. Unexpected policy changes can also make homeowners angry when communication breaks down. These same complaints may not be evaluated by the board properly unless efforts to improve HOA communication are made.
#2 Rise in Policy Violations
When the board is not communicating with homeowners about policy changes, this can lead to a rash of policy violations, most of which are probably due to a lack of knowledge about the changes. This can lead to a vicious cycle of pointing fingers and seemingly undeserved penalties. At worse, this can lead to costly litigation which HOAs should always avoid.
#1 Failing to Solve Problems in the Community
At the very worst, poor communication in HOA communities can lead to the biggest failure an HOA board can ever make. The job of the HOA board is to represent the community, listen to their problems, and look for solutions. When HOA communication issues lead to problems in the community being overlooked or addressed in the wrong manner, then that’s a huge black mark on the organization.
An HOA board should be able to listen and understand the community issues and come up with a decision that will benefit the community. Lack of communication in HOA developments can get in the way of that. When that happens, it’s a mission failure for the community managers.
What Is Causing the Lack of Communication?
Homeowners associations are unique in that the leadership team is comprised of volunteers who have many other pressing things on their plates. The members of the board have limited time and resources to manage a large number of details for which the board is responsible. The biggest problem is that there is often simply too much to do and too few people. Utilizing an HOA manager could be very beneficial in facilitating communication between board members.
How to Improve HOA Communication?
1. Set Aside a Task Force for HOA Communication
One of the best things your board can do is assign the job of communication to a specific task force within the board. This team can vary in size, but its main responsibility should be to make sure that every line of communication is open between the board, residents, and vendors. They can be responsible for posting notices, sending emails, and making phone calls to keep everyone abreast of important information.
2. Invest in an HOA Management Company
There may come a time when there is just too much for a volunteer board to handle. If this is the case, it may be time to invest in an HOA management company to take care of some of the more time-consuming details, leaving the board free to spend more time building the community. Additional assistance can be gained by contacting contractors, lawyers, or acquiring software to take care of overwhelming details. Never be afraid to ask for help.
3. Determine What is Important to Communicate
It can be extraordinarily helpful to spend time with the board deciding which items need to be communicated to homeowners. After these things are concretely established, set up a plan for when these important communications will take place and who will see to the job.
Poor Communication in HOA Communities Doesn’t Need to Be a Permanent Issue
Addressing the issue of poor communication in HOA communities takes a lot of effort at first since the lack of connection can make it hard to get reforms started. It’s important to never give up, not when the benefits of great communication between board and owners are simply too good to ignore.
Excellent communication is what sets average HOAs apart from extraordinary communities. It is worth the time and effort to ensure that the HOA board is able to fulfill its duty to listen to the community.
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