It’s the responsibility of the HOA board to protect the homeowner’s association community. When it comes to keeping the community safe, a Board is responsible for safety issues, general well-being of the members of the Association, and prevention.
1. Address Safety Issues Immediately
If someone reports a safety issue to the HOA board or manager, the issue must be addressed immediately. For example, let’s say there is a raised spot on the sidewalk and someone trips and falls, twisting their ankle or getting a bruise on their knee. If that person or someone who saw the incident reports it to the Association, action and documentation should be taken right away.
First, the HOA manager or Board president should acknowledge the incident and address any injuries so the person feels heard, cared for, and the Board isn’t faced with a possible lawsuit later on.
Then take proactive measures to immediately fix the problem. In the scenario above they could grind down the pavement as a temporary fix until the entire section of sidewalk can be replaced. Ultimately, the Board is responsible and an HOA manger can help by following up to make sure all the necessary precautions are taking place and issues are being resolved.
2. Prioritize General Well-Being
The homeowners association Board has the authority to make decisions about projects and repairs for the good of the community. When it comes to safety issues the general well-being of members is priority.
In one particular homeowners association, some of the main electrical breaker boxes were catching on fire in units because they were so old. In this case, the main breaker boxes outside of the units were the Association’s responsibility, while the breaker inside the unit was the homeowner’s responsibility. The HOA board voted to replace all of the breaker boxes in the Association – inside and outside of units –because of the safety hazard of catching on fire and putting lives in danger.
3. Take Preventative Measures
Prevention is key to keeping a homeowners association safe. This is best achieved by Board members fulfilling their responsibilities to the Association, obeying the laws, and staying compliant.
An HOA manager and reserve specialist can help by conducting a reserve study, periodically doing a walk-through of the Association, and looking for issues that may become safety hazards. For example, landscaping that isn’t kept up could cause overgrown trees and bushes to block visibility; or if a stairwell isn’t lit it could lead to falls and injuries.
If an HOA board fails to stay ahead of safety issues or doesn’t immediately take action when safety issues arise, then the Association could face serious ramifications such as fire, loss of property, lawsuits, and even loss of life.
If a Board is going to fulfill its duty to protect the Association, it must exercise its authority to make decisions on behalf of the Association member’s safety and general well-being, and reach out to experts – like an HOA manager – for advice.