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Condo | HOA Lawyers

Bored – Then Run for the Board

Associations often struggle to get sufficient members to fill their Board. The common perception is that it is too much work.  It’s not, but there is work involved.  However, if you are organized and willing to share some of your time, you will quickly learn that many of the issues repeat themselves.  If your association has a manager, then your real job is to manage the manager.  If you don’t have a property manager, then the owners define your job as EVERYTHING.  We have put together this list of the issues that commonly arise so that you can see that you won’t be bored:  assessments, banks, contractors, dogs, electricity, fires and feelings, gas, heat, ice, jokesters, kites, leaves, mail, nails, pools, quality issues, roofs, streets, trouble, upset people, voting, water, extra stuff left by the garbage, your neighbor, zoo animals allowed by the FHA as emotion support animals – so essentially the entire alphabet. 

What you get in return for your time, besides for a few people who forget that manners are important, is the opportunity to meet and work with some really nice people who truly appreciate the hard work that most board members put in. So to keep your headaches to a minimum and your life enjoyable, our advice is to do one thing:  keep your association organized.  Here are the 10 things you need to do:

  1. Schedule Board and Unit Owner meeting a year in advance and invite everyone;
  2. Although everyone is invited to hear what is said at Board Meetings, it is important to allow business to be done, so only allow unit owner comments at the beginning of the meeting for 20 minutes (divide the time by the number of people who want to talk and enforce the time limit);
  3. Keep the assessments and books up to date;
  4. Have a reserve study and use it as a management tool for the association’s needs;
  5. Run fair elections and encourage as many candidates as possible;
  6. Divide the work between the various board members based on their skills and time;
  7. Put your documents on a website that you update once each set of minutes is passed;
  8. Have some social events, so that the unit owners have the chance to know you as people;
  9. Enforce your documents with a policy that you follow:
    1. Phone call advising of violation and asking to correct;
    2. Written warning;
    3. Small Fine;
    4. Progressively larger fines for additional violations;
    5. Send unpaid assessments to your attorney once the owner is 60-90 days past due (once your board gets accustomed to doing this it will get rid of many of its headaches and put them where they should be – in the hands of the attorney); and
  10. Stay professional at all times, especially when a unit owner or resident is upset. Address their concern promptly, even if it is to state something like: that you appreciate their concern over the costs of the special assessment and the financial hardship this will create for many of our residents, at the same time the Board has a duty to replace the roofs and unfortunately that requires a special assessment at this time. The Board though did hear you and to avoid this happening a again the Board has set up a reserve fund. Thank you and we appreciate comments from all of our unit owners and residents.

So join the board and you won’t be bored.

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