When people think of an emergency, the first image that usually comes to mind is a natural disaster. But an emergency in your homeowners association isn’t always a flood or fire. There can also be financial or management-related emergencies that an HOA board is faced with. Most Boards aren’t prepared to handle emergencies and can benefit from the expertise of an HOA manager to help them plan for emergency situations. Find out what type of emergencies your board members should be aware of.
Management or Financial Emergencies
These types of emergencies have to do with decisions made by board members, laws, and maintenance upkeep.
Embezzlement – no one wants to think that their fellow board member would steal or misappropriate funds, but it does happen and the HOA should make sure it has the right protection in place.
Law Compliance – A new law could be passed at any time and it could cost the Association a lot of money to become compliant. For example, after a tragic incident occurred when kids drowned in a pool after their hair got stuck in the suction of the drain, a law was passed requiring two drains to be put into any common area swimming pools.
Fair Housing and Discrimination – These are hot topics lately and something like not being handicap accessible could lead to a special assessment – or lawsuit in extreme cases – if the HOA is out of compliance.
Maintenance Upkeep – if a Board is faced with a problem that puts the health and safety of Association members at risk, then it needs to be prepared to take action. For example, electrical breaker boxes were catching on fire at one HOA and the Board decided to replace them all. This decision helped avoid a lot of potential emergencies.
An HOA manager can help by offering accounting services through the management company, keeping the Board updated on any law changes, and making sure the reserve study is up to date.
A Board should encourage Association members to have a family emergency preparation plan in place in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. It’s also a good idea to consult with an HOA manager and have an Association-wide plan in place. Prevention is key and below are a couple ways that you can start preparing now.
Understand your geographic situation – If you live in California, earthquakes and fires are more likely to happen, while tornadoes in the Midwest or hurricanes in the South are more common occurrences.
Does your Association have insurance? – Find out the type of insurance your HOA has or needs and verify that it’s current. Then, be sure to understand what it covers. In other words, what is the Association responsible for and what are homeowners responsible for. It may even be a good idea to invite your insurance representative to come to a community meeting to answer or clarify any questions.
An HOA manager can help Boards make wise decisions to protect, maintain and enhance the homeowners association. You never know when a disaster might strike – start preparing now by scheduling an evaluation with Hignell HOA Management.