Since a new year is about to begin, this may be a good time for the HOA board to communicate with the Association members about several ways they can help make the community an even better place to live in the next year and beyond. See the list below for ideas to get you started.
1. Remind Homeowners of Their Responsibilities
It's always helpful to remind all homeowners that it's their responsibility to adhere to the rules and regulations of the homeowners association, and to meet their financial obligations to the community - such as paying their HOA fees. Begin part of an HOA means following the rules and paying your assessments - if homeowners don't, the Board may be faced with costly and unpleasant tasks related to these issues, such as fines or the possible pursuit of legal actions.
2. Encourage Homeowners to Share Ideas
Homeowners should be encouraged to have a voice in the Association. The HOA board can benefit from the expertise, ideas, perspectives and even concerns of the members. When people feel heard, they feel safe and cared about. The best forum to do this is as HOA board meetings.
3. Plan Social Gatherings
Homeowners have the opportunity to actively participate in the recreational, social and cultural activities of the community, and even help plan activities that can help people get to know each other and build community. It can be a holiday potluck, clothing drive, or organizing a summer barbecue - anything that promotes fellowship and community.
4. Make it Easy to Stay Informed
Homeowners can attend Board meetings just about any time they'd like (except for executive sessions), but many owners may not be aware of this. They may also not know that the Board is required to submit annual disclosures to the membership, which includes budget information, any changes to the rules, and other important information you can find here.
Homeowners should make it a priority to review important information about the community. Make it easy to do so by finding out the best way to communicate with members in your HOA -- such as electronically, on social media, or old school by mailing paper packets, letters or a monthly newsletter.
5. Serve on a Committee
Owners can also volunteer to serve on a committee to assist the Board (i.e. a landscape, budget or pool committee). You can encourage owners to start a welcome committee for new residents, making all owners and renters feel part of the community. It's important for the HOA board to keep in mind that many will not choose to be involved for whatever reasons, and that this is okay.
With the encouragement to be involved in many of the ways noted above, more and more people will be proud to live in your community and recommend it to others who are looking for a good place to call home.
Each member of the elected HOA board has a role to play. You can also serve as neighborhood facilitators and regard your authority as a temporary stewardship, even as you plan for a future well beyond your tenure on the board. Doing what you say you're going to do will set a good leadership example for all members in the homeowners association.