Finding and keeping good people on the board in your homeowners association is possibly one of the toughest jobs you’ll have as an HOA board member.
As a current member of the board one of your responsibilities is to recruit homeowners to become part of the board, which is no easy feat. That’s why you should be prepared to have answers to common questions and excuses you’ll probably hear when inviting homeowners to join the board.
Why should I be on the board?
The most practical answer to this is that a quorum is required to get anything done. Anytime a board decision needs to be made about budgets, financials, legal issues, a call for meetings, important business decisions, or anything to do with the bylaws, a quorum is required. But a more warm fuzzy reason to be on the board is to make a difference in the Association by representing the needs and wants of your community.
What happens when an HOA can’t get enough board members?
To be blunt, if an HOA board doesn’t have enough members for a quorum, it basically becomes a dictatorship. As a California corporation, a judge will appoint a receiver to oversee the homeowners association and make the decisions. In other words, it’s a one-person board and they don’t even have a vested interest in the Association because they don’t understand the community – not to mention it’s expensive. Ultimately homeowners lose control of their Association.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
You will no doubt here the following push-backs when recruiting board members and should consider being prepared with the corresponding responses as they relate to your Association:
“I don’t have time” – an appropriate response would be to acknowledge that it is a commitment, but be ready to give them a general idea of what the time commitment is for your board. This would include the frequency of meetings, training, planning, etc.
“I don’t care enough” – You might hear this from someone who just likes the idea of a regulated community or claims it’s the only thing they could afford. If you’ve seen the person using amenities around the Association, and they seem open, casually bring up the activities you’ve seen them enjoy and make the link that they can preserve those by being on the board.
“I don’t want to get involved in the politics” – while it’s definitely understandable that a homeowner wants to remain drama-free and peaceful, no board is perfect. That being said, be ready with examples of how your board works together through issues. Hopefully this is also apparent when homeowners attend HOA board meetings.
“I don’t know enough” – reassure them that they don’t have to be an expert; just someone who cares about the Association. Other veteran board members and the HOA manager can help teach and train new board members.
It’s important to be prepared to respond to excuses you’ll hear when asking homeowners to be on the board; however, remember to pay attention to how the person is acting and responding to you. If they adamantly say no, don’t push the issue.
But if they seem interested, just hesitant, take it as a sign to set up a time to have coffee and further discuss becoming an HOA board member. A good, committed person isn’t always easy to find. When you think you have, just ask the question. The worst they can say is no thanks!