Posted on July 29, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
In a homeowners association, board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of all residents. This duty is a big responsibility as it involves the property or money of others so members should make choices based on principles for the benefit of others.
The HOA website takes into account the interest of each homeowner as key topics are posted there to keep all homeowners informed on relevant matters. Periodically, situations come along that test the loyalty of a member such as hiring a vendor as they stand to profit financially. How can a board member avoid this conflict of interest?
Fulfill Your Obligations
First and foremost, board members have an obligation to the homeowners association to make decisions that serve the HOA’s best interest. Each member is expected to put the interest of the homeowners association ahead of their own. Some requirements are to get involved in meetings, keep accurate records, and work on improving maintenance issues.
A loyal board member that fulfills those obligations also knows to avoid any potential action that could result in a conflict of interest. Despite fulfilling those obligations, a conflict of interest can lead to other members questioning your loyalty. Ordinarily, a conflict is more likely to happen when it involves a vendor as the financial side of it plays a role in determining which vendor is chosen. Is your homeowners association taking the right approach to put the community first?
Reduce Any Potential Conflicts
Often, a conflict between board members is the direct result of a misunderstanding or due to information being withheld. Request that board members reveal all the details about a potential conflict. As well, pursue a variety of sealed bids from vendors and thoroughly review each of them to ensure the best decision is made for the association. Frequently, the HOA website and honest board members provide the clarity needed to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Posted on July 21, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Recycling of plastics, paper, metal, and glass in a homeowners association helps keep the community organized while preventing useful materials from being wasted. Normally, information about the community is listed on the homeowner association website to keep residents informed on pertinent matters. According to one report, homeowners recycled and composted 34% of their individual waste in 2013. Organic materials are the main component of that with yard trimmings and food accounting for 27%.
Are You Forgetting To Recycle Any Items?
A majority of homeowners recycle items such as soda cans and water bottles but what else is there to recycle that you may be forgetting? Board members of the homeowners association usually provide a guideline for homeowners to check so the appropriate items are placed in the recycle bin. All homeowners should check the list occasionally to see if any items have been added or removed in order to stay up-to-date.
Metal objects such as aluminum and tin cans that have packaged food in them should always be free of any pieces of food. As well as any cardboard items that contain food or liquids since recycling facilities might reject them if they are still dirty. Other recyclable items include phone books, newspapers, certain glass items, paperback books, and plastic items in the shape of jars and bottles. Are all of the members in your household aware which items are recyclable?
Electronics, Batteries, & Bulbs
When it comes to recycling, discuss with each member in your home about the items that are recyclable, especially if you have children. For instance, various electronics, rechargeable batteries, and light bulbs are recyclable but you should check the homeowner association website and county website first. Generally, these items are handled by a professional from a waste management company. As always, feel free to contact a board member if you have questions about the recycling guidelines in your HOA.
Posted on July 14, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Board meetings in a homeowners association serve a purpose to improve the community in some way with each passing month. Occasionally, some homeowners feel like meetings go in a direction where the same topic is discussed as the last meeting which leads to little or no improvement.
Board meetings and the community website benefit you and other residents as both provide a platform to improve the community. They provide members with information so they take an interest to get involved in the homeowners association. Does your association continuously try to improve the board meetings to be more productive and efficient?
Monthly Board Meetings That Reach Goals
Routinely, monthly board meetings start off the same way each month where board members are organized and follow the agenda for that meeting. An agenda keeps the meeting focused on a key issue for that specific month no matter what other issues are brought up. Not only should board members follow the agenda but homeowners should also remember this when they speak and do their best to keep comments concise.
Many issues may emerge over the course of the month but a productive and efficient meeting focuses on one main issue to be improved or resolved. A majority of the time it ensures the meeting to go smoothly when reports and other business are dealt with promptly before opening up the main topic. What else should members do to increase the effectiveness of board meetings?
Be Prepared For The Board Meeting
The community website is an option that most homeowners enjoy as they stay current with the latest that is happening in the homeowners association. Periodically, there may be meetings where an important topic is on the agenda that requires board members to be fully aware of the issue. Board members should always be prepared for any potential question a homeowner might ask so the meeting is productive and helpful to all!
Posted on July 8, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Insurance for the homeowners association provides protection for the association and homeowners to insure common areas as HOA’s are responsible for them. Part of the homeowners association dues are used to cover the insurance needed for the association which could lead to savings for individual homeowners insurance. Without the homeowners association website, how would you know where the homeowners association insurance ends and your coverage begins?
The easiest way to establish what type of insurance the homeowners association has is to read and understand the CC&R’s. Typically, most HOA’s insurance coverage is for damage and personal injuries but the governing documents specifically outline which areas are covered. After confirming those areas, then you can get the coverage you need without duplicating what the association has already insured.
As a result, some homeowners adjust their insurance policy to not cover what the homeowners association policy does. Aside from that, the HOA board should ensure the association has proper coverage against accidents and injuries. If there would be a gap in coverage, then a special assessment might be levied against residents to pay for the legal costs regarding a lawsuit.
Will You Know Of Any Changes?
The goal with homeowners insurance is to always have sufficient coverage to avoid any potential gaps that may end up in a special assessment or lawsuit. Periodically, some changes might occur that affect what the homeowners associations policy covers without you ever being aware of it.
When those changes occur, the HOA board needs to update the homeowners association website to inform homeowners. As well, the CC&R’s should be revised to indicate any changes to eliminate confusion among homeowners. One of the many benefits of living in an association is that homeowners feel more protected and safe when decisions are made in their best interest!
Posted on June 30, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
The 4th of July marks a special time of the year for most Americans as fireworks, parades, reunions, and barbecues are enjoyed to celebrate this day referred to as Independence Day. Enjoyment may be the focus of your July 4th celebration but homeowners should also consider the rules of the homeowners association. If you are a guest, explore the neighborhood website to see if the rules are posted there or ask the host to review the rules that are commonly broken.
Are You A Guest Or A Host?
In a homeowners association, HOA rules apply to all homeowners and their guests. As a host, you have a responsibility to inform new guests and remind others the rules of your homeowners association as some may have forgotten them. If they forget, you as the homeowner will be held accountable for their actions so ensure everyone is up-to-date.
During the celebration, there are a few things to remember so everyone remains safe and respectful to nearby neighbors. First, always comply with any noise levels for the community and advise all guests of the appropriate locations for parking to be courteous to neighbors.
Often, a familiar tradition of celebrating July 4th is to attend a fireworks display or have a small display at home. When using fireworks and sparklers, do so in a manner where everyone around is aware of them and have a water hose or fire extinguisher ready for use. In 2014, records indicate that sparklers accounted for 28% of firework-related injuries!
One Last Consideration
Residents who enjoy fireworks tend to forget that pets might become frightened and wander off during the time they are used. Before using fireworks, secure all pets and remind homeowners ahead of time that safety is the responsibility of everyone. Lastly, contact the HOA manager if you have any questions that were unable to be answered by visiting the neighborhood website.
Posted on June 24, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Misunderstandings are bound to happen every once in a while but there are ways to avoid them. For instance, homeowners might assume the association is responsible for various maintenance items in the community only to find out differently once the maintenance needs to be performed.
Homeowners that go to the HOA website have a better understanding of where the responsibility falls before making the commitment to buy a home. Yet, how can a homeowner be 100% sure they know what they are responsible for when addressing maintenance issues?
Read The CC&R’s
As a homeowner, designate time towards reading the CC&R’s of any homeowners association before purchasing a home. These are the governing documents of the association where all the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures are set forth in great detail. As expected, these documents have the potential to interfere with your happiness if you fail to fully understand them.
You, as the homeowner, are the one responsible for identifying the maintenance issues you are expected to cover. Confirm the CC&R’s you receive a copy of are the most current even if the realtor confers with you about all the maintenance-related items in the HOA. Then, relay all your questions or concerns to the homeowners association. Generally, this yields a high level of clarity towards determining if a homeowners association is right for you and eliminates the chance of surprises in the future.
What Homeowners Association Is For You?
The HOA website offers homeowners the option of finding out about the direction of the association from a mobile device. A homeowners association may not be for you if ever you think the CC&R’s are not fair in terms of outlining who is responsible on maintenance issues. After reading the governing documents, it’s up to you whether or not you choose to accept living in a particular homeowners association.
Posted on June 16, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Bug season annoyances typically accompany the time of year when warmer weather returns. One factor that influences the intensity of the bug season is a prior winter having warmer temperatures on average. A mild winter means temperatures were warmer than usual so fewer bugs and insects were lost due to freezing conditions.
The homeowner association website may not go into detail about this but there are various tips to ease the irritations associated with bugs and insects. After a mild winter, expect a boost in the bug population as they are cold-blooded and respond to high heat by becoming more active.
What Is The Bug Forecast In Your HOA?
The forecast for bugs is more predictable the longer you stay in one community and follow the homeowner association website. As well, bug and insect bites are a greater possibility following an unseasonably mild winter so one step you can take is to use repellant. Repellant applied to your skin or clothes can prevent a bug from landing on you and avoid using perfume or fragrances that might attract bugs or insects.
Obviously, prevention is the key so always bring a form of bug repellant with you to discourage a potential pest away. If bitten, avoid scratching the site of the bite as it won’t provide any long-term relief and might cause additional swelling. Instead, apply an over-the-counter antihistamine cream such as Benadryl to reduce the pain and itchiness.
What If You Have A Reaction?
The initial sign of a bite is light redness or a small bump, but some homeowners may become disoriented and have difficulty breathing. A reaction such as that requires immediate medical attention while others may have a headache and should see a doctor soon. Some mosquitoes carry diseases or viruses that are transmitted to victims who eventually show flulike symptoms so always take precaution!
Posted on June 10, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Communities within a homeowners association share numerous similarities with one another such as requiring residents to pay HOA fees and follow rules. Yet, each association may have differences you should know about when considering to buy a home. Presently, the community website offers current and future residents the chance to learn more about the homeowners association. Does the community website contain relevant facts about your HOA community?
Rules, Fees, & Changes
The rules of an HOA may be posted online but each homeowner should know what happens if they violate a rule. In some instances, a simple rule violation may impose a fine you never expected. Additionally, failure to pay HOA fees or fines related to a violation of the CC&R’s may lead to foreclosure on your property.
As well, this is an ideal time to learn about the process required for rule changes or new rules to be implemented. HOA meetings may take place during times that conflict with your schedule which makes it difficult to have a voice in your homeowners association. Keep in mind, homes that are located within HOA’s require all residents to belong to the association so you will pay fees and comply with the rules. Will living in a homeowners association be an enjoyable or frustrating experience for you?
The History & The Future
Each community will differ in fees but a few facts about homeowners associations can significantly influence your experience. As a precaution, ask about the reserve fund and to see an updated history of the HOA fees for the last 5 or 10 years. The history of the homeowners association might help give you insight on what to expect going forward. Always confirm any facts you find on the community website before ending up in a neighborhood that is completely different than what you anticipated!
Posted on June 3, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Board meetings are intended to effectively address and resolve issues within the homeowners association. Occasionally, various members may try to redirect that focus on matters that have little or nothing to do with what is listed on the agenda for that particular meeting.
Information regarding the way board meetings should be conducted can usually be found on the homeowners association website. Homeowners who participate in these meetings are asked to stay on the topic at hand so discussions result in a productive HOA board meeting. What are some useful techniques that lead to constructive meetings and eliminate times of chaos?
Stay On Track
Discussions during board meetings lose focus for a variety of reasons. One familiar reason is when the topic involves a highly debated matter that affects many in the homeowners association. Meetings could escalate to a point where members are no longer calm and the discussion has taken a negative direction.
When that happens, clear the air by asking to table the discussion to the next meeting. At the next meeting, the stage is set for members to conduct themselves in a more calm and positive manner so everyone is treated with respect.
Another effective tool to use when the discussion veers off topic is for the chair to suggest taking the topic “off line”. This option invites the member to speak privately without wasting the time of others during the board meeting. As a result, everyone in attendance stays focused on discussions that pertain to the agenda.
What Is On The Agenda?
Basically, the agenda facilitates each meeting so discussions remain productive and move along efficiently. Members can encourage others to stay on course with the agenda by referring to it when they speak. Maintain your composure at HOA board meetings to ensure progress and learn about any changes through the homeowners association website!
Posted on May 26, 2016 8:00 AM by HOA Sites
Financing a renovation project or common area repairs are usually done with funding that the homeowners association has set aside in an account. An account such as a reserve fund is supposed to have stable and sufficient funding to offset ongoing deterioration by conducting a current reserve study. Yet, there are times when some homeowners associations lack the funds required to pay for the project in full. What option is in the best interest of the homeowners association?
Complete The Project On Time
Maybe postponing the project is an option depending on the extent of the work and the light inconvenience it presents homeowners. Another option is to divide the project up into a longer time frame so more funds can be accumulated to cover the cost of the project. If those are unacceptable then the other alternatives are a special assessment or secure a loan.
Even though they are a one-time fee, special assessments are a financial burden on members that may take longer to collect than expected. The objective is to keep the neighborhood attractive so property values are protected and members stay positive on the neighborhood website. How will a loan make that happen?
Timely Repairs & Less Financial Burden
Homeowners and potential buyers expect the homeowners association to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility by completing projects in a timely fashion. By securing a loan, projects are completed before they get any worse and homeowners avoid paying a large amount all at once. However, a loan still needs repaid and with that comes interest but the financial burden is initially far less troublesome.
That decision can be avoided by keeping the reserve study current so a sufficient amount is always maintained in the reserve fund. Potential homeowners that navigate the neighborhood website should look for signs of repairs and updates not being recent to rule out future financial issues.
- Important Questions The HOA Board Needs To Address Before Entering A Management Agreement
- 4 Benefits Of Employing A Landscaping Service In Your Homeowners Association
- What Is A Quorum & Why Does It Matter To The HOA Board?
- Why Giving Money To An HOA Board Member Is A Huge Mistake
- Can Your Vehicle Be Towed From The Homeowners Association?
- December 1969 (4)