Be an Informed HOA Homeowner
What it seems like: Rules, rules, rules! What it actually is: Important information! If you purchased a home in a Homeowners Association (HOA), you agreed to live according to the Association’s rules in the governing documents, which outline the do’s and don’ts of the community. These rules stated items like:
- when to pay your assessments,
- what happens if you don’t pay assessments on-time,
- where it is acceptable to park,
- noise level rules,
- and so on and so on.
Why is it important to be an informed owner living in an HOA? Placing impractical expectations of services performed and the actions taken by the Board will only lead to misinformation and opposition to those running the community. However, an understanding of work being performed, what the contracts entail, and the deciding factors in the decisions made will create a better understanding of the running of your community. Understanding the what and the why will allow for a harmonious relationship between owners, the Board, the management company and YOU.
How do I become an informed member of the community? Attend Board meetings, read emails and newsletters published by the Board members or management company and call your management company to ask clarifying questions. Regularly attending Board meetings will give you a perspective into the decisions being made and the factors of the fiduciary duty the Board has to the community and that not all decisions are black and white. Emails and newsletters are a tool often used by a management company and Board members to provide as much information to owners while keeping them engaged in the material provided. If you want to know more about the information being provided or decisions that were made, call and ask clarify questions, such as:
- Who removes the snow and how many inches accumulate before it gets removed?
- How are the association’s fund being spent?
- What is the difference between maintenance vs. manicured yard service?
- What was the discussion that took place at the Board meeting when the special assessment passed?
Becoming an informed owner is vital to the peaceful enjoyment to all those living in your HOA.
Picture this: In a townhouse community in snowy Central Oregon, an HOA Board discussed the decision of how to mitigate for future ice dams including factors of frequency, how they form, where they form and so on. Two owners that attended the Board meeting heard the discussion for the first time and really heard the immense amount of consideration it takes to make community decisions and said, “Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many factors to take into account before making these decisions!”
These owners had pre-conceived notions and came to that Board meeting to complain about the action that had been taken by the Board, but once they heard the actual conversation, they changed their tune. They now try to attend Board meetings more regularly and often comment on how much they learn at each one.
By Ashley Mooney, Community Manager