Keep Your Homeowner / Property Association ‘Healthy’

How Healthy Is Your Home-Owners Association ( HOA / POA )?
© Copyright 2011 Sharon Lane

These are guidelines / suggestions, not mandates. Ask yourself if your homeowners’ association does the following:

Board Governance & Duties

  • Manage the community by following the governing documents (Certificate of Formation, Bylaws, CC&R’s (Deed Restrictions), etc.).
  • Follow the laws and statutes of your state and federal governments, as they pertain to your type of organization.
  • Insure that all Association state and federal document/report requirements are completed in a timely manner and filed on schedule.
  • Keep all necessary insurance policies and requirements up to date, reviewing insurance needs on a periodic basis.
  • Regularly conduct a site inspection to ensure compliance with the covenants.
  • Enforce POA rules and covenants in a fair manner. Use written notification by certified mail – include resident hearing/dispute rights.
  • Keep a maintenance program & schedule for common areas & facilities and insure that these are completed on time & on budget.
  • Award maintenance, management, and ALL outside contracts fairly. Get, in writing, a specification, bid, award, inspection, and warranty program.
  • Review all new/updated building & covenant variance requests in a timely manner and insure that all convenants have been fairly applied.

Board Leadership

  • Maintain effective and consistent leadership throughout your time on the Board.
  • Keep board activities transparent and well-published to all POA residents.
  • Always remember that you are there to serve, at the will of those you represent, NOT to dictate your own pesonal beliefs.
  • Consider the normal succession of Board members by appointing committees, with training sessions for these committee members.

Board’s Responsibility – Resident Participation

  • Ask OFTEN, for volunteers and resident participants, in a large variety of jobs or projects with a variety of timetables and schedules.
  • Publish a periodic (yearly minimum) request for resident suggestions on what needs to be changed and how they might personally help to achieve that.
  • Allow residents to have an ‘open period’ at every board meeting, so that their concerns / suggestions may be shared and documented.

Board’s Responsibility – Meetings, Including Board Election Meetings

  • Insure that all residents are able to participate in all POA decisions by making elections & general meetings convenient.
  • Publish, in a convenient place, advance notification of all routine meetings.
  • Publish, in a convenient place and with considerable advance notification, ALL meetings where changes will be made to the associations ruling documents.
  • Insure that ALL meetings have an agenda, published in advance, in a convenient place for all residents.
  • Conduct all meetings in a timely manner and according to Robert’s Rules.
  • Insure that quorum requisites are met at every meeting where a vote is required or taken.
  • Publish, in a convenient place, all Board ‘Minutes of the Meeting’ documents, including all votes taken and their results.

Board Election Meetings Specifically:

  • Insure that elections are completed in a legal (per POA, state, & federal laws) and transparent manner.
  • Publish, well in advance, and in a convenient place for all residents, requests for resident additions to the election ballots.
  • Insure majority of resident participation in Board Election meetings (preferably mailings); including voter ballots and proxy voting rights forms.
  • Notate all proxy and absentee ballots with lot/owner information, if needed. This information is to be retained, and available, for board records.
  • Insure that annual meeting voting is overseen by independent ‘judges’ from both the board and the residents.

Board’s Responsibility – Finance

  • Produce monthly financial reports that are easily viewable by all residents, regardless of geographic location.
  • Insure fraud protection measures, including periodically scheduled audits done by independent auditors.
  • Formally adopt a budget that avoids large annual increases in assessments.
  • Maintain adequate reserves and avoid special assessments.
  • Keep assessment delinquencies to less than 5%.
  • Insure that all state & federal financial report requirements are completed on a timely basis and filed on schedule.

Board Communications – New & Existing Residents

  • Insure that all new residents are given a ‘Welcome’ package, including updated covenants, by laws, rules, forms, contact info, rights and responsibilities, etc.
  • Insure that all realtors, brokers, sales agents, etc., in your area, are given a updated versions of this ‘Welcome’ package, either in print or electronic means.
  • Utilize all means available, including mailings and electronic venues, to keep residents well informed and up to date on all POA activities.
  • Provide an opportunity for ALL residents to address the board through meetings, mailings, and electronic venues.
  • Consider publication of monthly newsletters of all POA activities, with distribution by print or electronic means.

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Resident Responsibilities – Finance

  • Pay all dues, fees, and fines in a timely manner; insisting on official POA documentation of said payments.
  • Consider volunteering for POA routine maintenance requirements, to help decrease fund outlays.
  • Ask to review all Association financial documents, on a periodic basis, if they are not readily available to you.

Resident Responsibilities – Participation

  • If you don’t vote, don’t complain. If you don’t participate, don’t complain! It really is that simple.
  • Stay aware and engaged with all activities involving your residence and the Home-Owners Associaiton involved with it.
  • Consider a volunteer job on a Board committee to learn about the inner workings of the Board.
  • Consider submitting your name for a position on the Board, well in advance of the Board elections.
  • Read those newsletters, meeting minutes, annual reports, etc. to insure that you do not miss something important.
  • If you don’t agree with Board activities and governance, participate. Take personal responsibility for changing things.
  • If you STILL don’t agree, get involved with a group that is working to improve state/federal legislation & laws in your state.

Resident Responsibilities – Duties

  • Keep updated copies of the Bylaws, CC&R’s (covenants), and other POA governing documents, and follow them precisely.
  • Acquire Board and/or Architectural approval prior to all building projects or exterior modifications.
  • Try to resolve discrepancies with the Board in a professional manner, first insuring that you have met all POA requirements.
  • Keep your property neat, clean, and well maintained to avoid neighbor disputes and Board fines.

** Last Update: 8/2016

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2 Responses to Keep Your Homeowner / Property Association ‘Healthy’

  1. Jeanne Pfiester says:

    Is a POA election legal if a person who requested to be placed on the ballot is left off the ballot and the board president responds “oh I didn’t know after being told twice by a board member and giving the name in writing?

    Is an election legal if ballots were sent out with incorrect instructions?

    is an election invalid because envelopes were opened that came through the mail and in person to the office with the reason as to why they were opened being “oh sorry I was looking for money?”

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