5 Reasons to Give Thanks for Your HOA

As you’re prepping the turkey and stuffing and planning any travel to see family members this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to use it as an opportunity to give thanks for everything in your life — including your homeowners association!

Here are five reasons to give special thanks for your community this year (and every year):

#1 The Sense of Community

This one might be pretty obvious, but it’s too often overlooked and not remembered enough. Being in a homeowners association often provides a great sense of community, especially if your board holds regular social events and meetings to bring everyone together. This encourages others to join and draw in quality community members that care about where they live. If you can, even plan a Thanksgiving-themed event in the association that everyone can enjoy before having their personal celebrations.

#2 Special Amenities

Many HOAs have their own pools, clubhouses, gyms, and other amenities that normally most homeowners wouldn’t have themselves. Those are great reasons to be thankful for what’s provided to the community.

#3 Maintenance Services

Maintenance services provided in most HOAs cover areas, such as buildings and landscaping, that homeowners and community members don’t have to worry about. This can save a lot of money and hassle, especially for those who have disabilities or aren’t home enough to handle certain aspects of maintenance.

#4 More Security

Most associations have enhanced security and a better sense of safety than properties outside of an association. This is increased when the sense of community is strong. Security might include patrols at night, private gates or security systems, or a neighborhood watch program. Either way, feeling secure where you live is a great reason to be thankful.

#5 Community Volunteers

Any board member knows the struggle involved with getting some community members to volunteer for positions, so be thankful for those who do show interest or volunteer their time to devote to the association. And be thankful for yourself, too! Being on the Board of Directors is not an easy task, but it’s a noble position that benefits everyone in your community.

Being a member of an HOA includes many reasons to be thankful each year, and taking some time to recognize those can go a long way. You might include some of these reasons in your weekly newsletter to members, and let them know you’re thankful for them being a part of the community too!

Are You Asking Enough Questions Before Hiring an HOA Contractor?

The HOA board is responsible for making decisions when the community is in need of maintenance or repair. Different skill sets are required based on the area of need, so it’s important to be mindful of the contractor you use to get the job done. It’s easy to go with anyone and assume they’re able to perform whatever type of work you need, but that line of thinking can get you in a lot of trouble. Let’s go over the top factors to consider when hiring a contractor to work on your HOA.

Are They Licensed and Bonded?

This is so important. Always be sure the work being done is performed by a company that is licensed and insured. Yes, other companies might be cheaper, but they are cheap for a reason. Having insurance means you have protection is the contractor doesn’t complete the full work for some reason or if someone gets hurt on your property.

Ask each contractor you interview for proof of insurance and verify with the insurance company to make sure it’s legit.

Ask Questions

Be sure the contractor is knowledgeable in the area of work you need. Ask them how they will handle the project and what they know about the process. Look for someone who has done the type of work you need many times before and seems confident in it. You’ll also want to do a review of their online status. Google their name and see what their online ratings look like. How are they rated with the Better Business Bureau? And do they have a company website?

Set Scope of Work

If you find a  roofing contractor you’re impressed with, start talking about the specifics of the work. Be clear about costs, expected timeline, and materials needed. The bigger the project, the more you’ll want to go over details and be clear on expectations. This will help you avoid any surprises or disappointments down the road. And board members will be able to watch the work in progress knowing what’s expected.

Get Contact Information

Do this way before the work begins. Tell the company your preferred form of communication, then get more than one form of contact for them — preferably at least two phone numbers. Also, find out when they are available to answer during the day and make sure they are responsive while doing the work.

If you have any doubts about hiring a contractor, a homeowners association management company can also help guide you or give you a list of companies they suggest.

How to Stay Neutral as an HOA During Election Time

Election season is in full swing, and it’s usually expected to see people supporting their political views publicly, often in the form of yard signs, flags, or car stickers. And while it’s of course fine to have members in your HOA with passionate and opposing views, you also want to make sure everyone sticks to your HOA’s rules related to this.

Know Your CC&Rs

So, are members in your HOA allowed to post political signs in their yards? That can depend on your state and your rules. In some states, HOAs have to allow political signs, but they have to be restricted to a certain size. Others prohibit them completely. Encourage each owner to understand your state’s and HOA’s specific rules before putting up anything about the election outside their home.

And of course, make sure you as a board understand the rules so you can relay them to any owners who ask. And always be sure that the board and HOA as a whole sustains a completely neutral bias during each campaign election. You can, however, encourage homeowners to go out and vote.

And remember that if your CC&Rs conflict with the law, the law does take priority. If you have any questions or doubt about what to follow, speak with your attorney and call on your HOA manager to help you deal with any conflicts of interest among members.

Remain Unbiased Online Too

Remember that there shouldn’t be any leanings towards one political view or another on anything related to HOA business, including the HOA website, social media accounts, and (online and offline) newsletters.

Finally, send out reminders to owners during each election season about what is and isn’t allowed, and encourage everyone to remain respectful of their neighbors’ opinions. We all know politics can get heated, and it’s important to maintain the sense of community among HOA neighbors despite any conflicting views.