As a new member of your homeowner association board of directors, there are important reminders that will make the transition as seamless as possible. The goal is to become a good and effective HOA board member not just for your sake, but for the sake of other board members and the entire community as well. If you want to start on the right path, here’s what it takes to be a good HOA board member.
What Makes a Good HOA Board Member?
Good HOA board members aren’t always the ones who have the most professional qualifications. Sure, it’s advantageous to have a management or financial background, but there are other ways to serve your community too. Having the right attitude or perspective can also be what takes you from being an ordinary board member to a great HOA board member.
As a new HOA board member, here are helpful tips and important qualities to keep in mind.
1. A Strong Desire to Volunteer
An HOA’s board of directors operates on a voluntary basis. Though members are afforded some privileges in order to govern their community, they are not compensated for the service they provide.
As a new board member, you will quickly realize how demanding your new role can be. Community tasks and duties will take up a lot of your time, making familial, work, and personal obligations harder to juggle.
That’s why an HOA board member should have a strong desire to volunteer. Despite the challenges that come with the position, a good HOA board member will still devote their time and effort to help the community. Those that were simply coerced to join the HOA board will not have a good experience. So, if you want to be a good HOA board member, it must be because you want to be one.
2. Know Your Duties and Responsibilities
HOA board members should have a solid grasp of their HOA duties and responsibilities. The HOA board has general responsibilities, such as enforcing HOA rules and approving the annual budget. However, HOA board members also have specific duties depending on their title. If you are the board president, you are responsible for presiding over board meetings and acting as the spokesperson of your community. Meanwhile, a board treasurer is responsible for managing the community funds and preparing financial reports.
By knowing your duties and responsibilities, you will also know the limits of your authority. If you act outside the boundaries of your role, you will just open yourself up to liabilities. In order to become a good HOA member, take the time to read your governing documents, and familiarize yourself with the duties and responsibilities of the HOA board.
3. Be Fair and Consistent
An HOA board member should be fair and consistent. All members of the community should be treated equally. HOA board members should not let their personal interests interfere with their duty to the community. For example, you cannot excuse HOA violations just because they were committed by your friends. Being a board member also doesn’t excuse you from following the rules. Abusing your role will make other residents resentful and this could lead to them undermining your authority.
Keep in mind that your fair and consistent approach should also be compliant with the law. If you have residents with disabilities, they are afforded certain exceptions based on the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
4. Always Remember Your Fiduciary Duties
HOA board members make important decisions on behalf of their community. It could be choosing a vendor to perform maintenance services or deciding to levy a special assessment on homeowners. When making difficult decisions, board members must accept that not all homeowners will be happy. However, as long as you act according to your fiduciary duty, you will not face significant backlash or legal action for your decisions.
A good HOA board member will thoroughly research an issue before making a decision. Every decision you make must be in the best interests of your HOA. So, even if some homeowners are unhappy, they will still understand that your actions were in service of the community.
5. Excellent Communication Skills
You need to be able to communicate well if you want to be a good HOA board member. So much of your time will be spent communicating with others.
For instance, you need to collaborate with other board members, delegate daily tasks to HOA management, respond to homeowner requests and complaints, and coordinate schedules with vendors, among others. If you cannot effectively communicate with different people, it will be harder to accomplish your community management tasks.
6. Able to Collaborate With Others
During board meetings, board members bring their own experiences, skill sets, and opinions to the table. If everyone has different opinions, it would be hard to come to an agreement. However, if you are a good HOA board member, you are able to collaborate well with others.
You understand the need to set aside personal opinions in order to come up with the best solutions for your community. After all, the HOA board must have a united front when it comes to important matters like HOA finances and bylaws. Moreover, the ability to collaborate will make it easy to work harmoniously with your HOA management company.
7. Pursues Further Education
A good HOA board member is always willing to learn. It’s okay if you don’t know much about community management when you are elected onto the HOA board of directors. However, if you want to be a good board member, you must have the initiative to expand your knowledge base. It could be through community management training and certifications, but it could also be through self-study and online seminars.
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Good HOA Board Member?
Being a new HOA board member can be quite daunting. There’s so much about community management that you have yet to learn or experience. However, if you embody these seven points, you will have no problem transitioning to your new role in the community. Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive; there are many more qualities or traits that can help you as an HOA board member. Take time to assess your personal attributes and see which ones can help you become a good and qualified HOA board member.