Some neighborhoods mandate the people moving into the area join a homeowner’s association, also known as an HOA. If you are moving to a house that falls under the covenants of an HOA, you might have some reservations because some have earned a bad rap because of excessive rules and expensive mandates agreed upon by the majority of members. The most logical step to take is to seek a place on the board of the association. Not all HOAs are domineering and if you’re actively involved with the leadership, it will give you an edge on the proposals set forth to make the rules reasonable for all members and affordable, while protecting the beauty and safety of the neighborhood. Here is what you need to know about HOA’s and why you should become a board member.
What is an HOA?
A homeowners association is a collection of homeowners who all own property in a specific geographic location. These associations are more common in planned neighborhoods, condo communities, apartment buildings, and other locales where neighbors live nearby one another. The purpose of an HOA is to bring everyone together in agreement for the upkeep and maintenance of the properties for aesthetics. This helps to ensure that the value of each homeowner’s property maintains its maximum potential value and to prevent neighbors from bringing down the value of other homes in the area by letting their property become a detractor by allowing it to become run-down or poorly maintained. Some HOAs also enforce rules in housing communities and manage finances. In some cases, rules about the landscaping and exterior of the properties are established.
Reasons for getting on your HOA board
Each HOA community is different because it is made up of community members who create their own rules based on consensus. By joining the board you become more familiar with the members and also of the rules that have been established. If you find that some of the rules are unreasonable and put an undue financial burden on your family, there may be others who feel the same way but have not been able to get the rules changed. You will have a little more of an edge if you’re serving on the board when it comes to making the rules reasonable for everyone. This will give you a seat to present issues that you feel are necessary as topics of discussion so the group can take a vote. Many HOAs hold annual elections so it’s important to start attending all of the meetings and learn everything that you can about the group and its function in advance. Making friends with neighbors who are in the group can also improve your chances of getting elected to the board. Even if you decide not to become a board member, attend the meetings to make sure that you get to voice your opinions. If you fail to become involved then other people will be making all of the decisions without your input and you will be bound by the rules that they set.
It makes sense to get involved with your HOA because you can protect your property value as well as those of everyone else in the community. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet new neighbors and get to know them and the issues that they feel are important within the community. You’ll have greater control over the decisions about maintenance and property aesthetics, and if needed you can be instrumental in getting outdated rules changed to reflect the desires and best interests of everyone in the community. This is a volunteer experience that looks good on a resume and it helps to be in a position to address problems in the community as well as giving you leadership skills.
Obligations and responsibilities of being in an HOA
HOA board members are responsible for the operation, repair, maintenance, and development of common areas in the neighborhood. This includes any clubhouses, parks, or other areas that are owned by the homeowners of a development. Each HOA operates under specific rules that are covered in the articles of incorporation and its bylaws. This is the manual that covers the declaration of conditions, restrictions, covenants, easements, and CC&Rs. The board oversees the annual budget along with what each homeowner pays annually as a part of the association. the board is also responsible for hiring personnel as needed, as well as for adopting and enforcing rules and regulations. Each HOA falls under the laws and stipulations of the state and municipalities that the community is situated within.
Each board member is responsible to act in good faith, do ensure that their actions are in the best interests of every member of the HOA, and to avoid any conflicts of interest. Every board member must be fully informed prior to taking an action, to only act within the scope of proper authority, and to avoid negligent or willfully harmful actions.
The best reasons to run for an HOA board
There are right and wrong reasons for desiring an HOA board position. Those who wish to control others or impose their will are running for the wrong reasons. The right reasons to run for this elected position are to better your community and help solve common problems. Making improvements that will benefit everyone involved is a great reason for joining. This is an excellent way to serve the other members of your community to give back and help make things run smoothly for all members. If you’re a problem solver and you can keep your emotions out of it and be impartial, you would be a definite asset to any HOA board. You can listen to opposing viewpoints and give your opinion to help resolve disagreements and find the best overall solutions. Bear in mind that this is a thankless job and you can’t please everyone all the time but you can make a difference in your own community.
If you’re moving to a neighborhood that is governed by an HOA then you may want to consider running for a place on the board. Start by attending every meeting and getting to know the other members. This is a great way to get to know your neighbors, learn about the issues in the area, and to be a part of the solution.