As with any organization, homeowners associations have a set of board members that run the community. And, at the helm of every HOA board, there sits an HOA president.
What Are the HOA President Responsibilities?
Homeowners associations are governed by a board of directors. Each of these board members has a specific title and set of duties. The HOA president sits at the very top and is responsible for a multitude of tasks.
Whether you are the current president of your HOA board, are running for the position, or are simply a regular member of your HOA, it is imperative to know the duties of the HOA president. As president, familiarity with these duties can help you fulfill your role in a successful manner. On the other hand, as a regular HOA member, understanding these duties will allow you to determine whether your current president is effective.
But, what exactly are these HOA president duties?
The president of the HOA board typically shoulders the same duties as those of any leader of a corporation. Though, it is worth noting that the exact nature of these duties can vary from association to association. To know the president’s duties specific to your community, it is important to check your governing documents.
More often than not, though, the president takes on the following roles:
- Acts as the mouth or spokesperson of the association
- Presides over all board and annual meetings
- Initiates meeting agendas
- Calls for votes
- Serves as liaison between the board and other third parties (management, attorney, vendors, etc.)
- Oversees the day-to-day operations of the community
- Signs association documents
- Co-signs checks with the secretary or treasurer
- Designate committees
Small Associations, Community Managers, and Expenditures
The HOA president usually runs the day-to-day operations of a homeowners association. This is more common in small associations with fewer owners. Larger associations, though, tend to demand more time and work from the board. Considering the positions of board members are filled on a volunteer basis, it is understandable for the president to lack sufficient time to fulfill the more tedious aspects of their job.
This is where community managers come in. Many associations hire a community manager or an HOA management company to handle the day-to-day operations of the community. This includes talking to vendors, answering phone calls, and approving small expenditures.
But, what exactly constitutes a small expenditure? Again, this can vary from association to association. HOA boards usually permit the president or community manager to authorize spending of up to a certain amount. Such expenditures should still be reported to other board members as well as appear in monthly financial statements.
How Much Does an HOA President Make?
Many homeowners find an interest in running for HOA board president or some other board member role because of the pay. But, this is a common misconception. While some associations do offer paid board roles, most do not. A majority of associations clearly state in their governing documents that paying board members is prohibited.
Board members are volunteers — meaning owners volunteer to run for such positions. Associations that pay their board members take on higher risks, especially when it comes to conflicts of interest. Unsatisfied owners may also bring up a variety of issues, claiming that board members are incompetent, self-serving, or overcharging. Moreover, paid board members lose protection from the HOA’s D&O insurance. In that case, they will need to take out their own policy.
Of course, paying board members is generally legal. Though, it is worth checking your state laws and governing documents to make sure you stay on the right side of legal issues. Additionally, full disclosure to the membership must take place and any fees charged must remain below market price.
How Can I Be a Good HOA President?
The role of an HOA president is often paved with challenges, but asking how you can be a good one is the first step in becoming an effective leader. A good HOA board president typically possesses the following qualities:
- Knows How to Lead. An obvious quality every board president should have is leadership. The president is responsible for presiding over meetings, delegating tasks, and guiding other members.
- Willing to Learn. While the president is expected to understand the governing documents in every way, they are not perfect. Thus, a willingness to learn — be it from the law or professionals — is imperative in every good president.
- Consistent. The president can’t make and enforce rules in an arbitrary manner. Uniformity and consistency are key when it comes to leading any community.
- Knows How to Mediate. Homeowners associations experience disputes all the time, whether it involves board members, homeowners, or both. It is the president’s job to remain objective, mediate between parties, and make decisions in an impartial way.
- Honest. Homeowners associations are not exempt from embezzlement, fraud, and other illegal acts. But, the president must stay honest and fulfill their job with integrity at all times.
- Has Excellent Communication Skills. Talking to board members, owners, vendors, and management is a normal part of the president’s job. As such, the president must be a good communicator and remain responsive, especially when it comes to time-sensitive matters.
- Prioritizes the Community Above All Else. A commitment to serving the community and a passion for the job is integral to successful leadership. Everything the president does must be within the association’s best interests.
Running for HOA President
If you are interested in becoming the president of your HOA board, there are a few things you must do first. It is essential for every president to know the community like the back of their hand. Therefore, you should take the time to attend community events, go to meetings, and understand the governing documents of your association. Talk to fellow owners and see what issues they are concerned about.
Once election season comes rolling in and the announcement for candidates goes out, express your interest. Many associations allow self-nomination, but make sure to refer to your governing documents to clarify. It is also best to check state laws for guidance. For instance, in California, Corporations Code 7213 states that fellow board members — not the membership — elect the president unless the governing documents say otherwise.
A Demanding Yet Fulfilling Role
As you can see, the HOA president takes on many duties and responsibilities. The job is not only time-consuming, but it also requires a lot of patience, communication, and effort. But, considering how much the president contributes to the community, the position is certainly a rewarding one.
Is your HOA board struggling to stay on top of day-to-day operations? Perhaps it is time to seek the help of an HOA management company. Start your search for the most reputable ones in your area using our online directory.
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