Your HOA is being sued, what do you do? You know that being faced with a lawsuit is a serious matter and absolutely should not be ignored. That being said, there are some important actions you need to take as an HOA board member to avoid setting the homeowners association up for failure and getting yourself in a mess you can’t clean up.
When a new HOA board is transitioning into managing the association, having solid foundations for the new members is important to the association’s success. The first step in a successful HOA board’s transition process is to set expectations, particularly if you have many board members (along with their experience) leaving the board. To do so, a comprehensive transition plan document should be in place. If there isn’t one, meet with current and new board members to document a plan. It’s a worthwhile investment, because the document can be used for future HOA board transitions.
Finding members in your homeowners association who want to volunteer on the HOA board can be hard – finding a member to step up and become the board president is even harder. So, what do you do when the current president passes away, you don’t have a lot people in your community involved with the board, and your current board members are concerned that hiring an HOA manager will only cause the company to take over the Association?
Being a board member does necessitate a serious commitment of time and energy, but it will be a fulfilling experience. If you're considering running for your HOA board, ask yourself the following questions first.
An HOA functions like a mini-city, collecting funds, managing finances, maintaining facilities and adopting and enforcing rules. An elected board of directors oversees these activities. Board members have fiduciary responsibilities, defined in law and HOA documents. All these activities and responsibilities apply to an HOA whether it has 1,000 units or only 25.
HOAs are complex, requiring professional expertise to manage properly. The question is, does your Board need an HOA manager to do this? Before assuming that members of the board can manage all of the HOA’s affairs, let’s look at what’s involved in more detail.
It’s inevitable – someday you’re going to be faced with a project in your homeowners association that has to get done with the funds that just aren’t there. Since money doesn't grow on trees, what’s an HOA board member to do? It can be a tough spot to be in, but depending on what the project is and how much money you need, you do have options. Remember, it’s the board’s responsibility to protect, maintain and enhance the Association.
Picture yourself in this scenario: The clubhouse needs a new water heater and it will cost $10,000. But all prior reserve studies that have been done in the association have only allocated $6,000 for replacement. What are the board’s options to make up the additional $4,000 difference?
As a general practice, what does an HOA board do if there’s a problem in the association that exists right now, but not enough money in the reserves to fix it? Is issuing a special assessment the way to go, or can the board use other funds in the reserves?
The slightly technical definition of a reserve study is: a budgeting tool based on the art and science of anticipating and preparing for major common area repairs and replacement expenses an association will face in the future.
You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But sometimes, it’s important to not underestimate the power of first impressions. Take the signage in your homeowners association for instance.