Your HOA likely already has a list of events and to-dos for the association that must happen each year, such as inspections, renewals, and maintenance. But, there are a few extra items that might get overlooked yet are essentials each year. Construct an HOA yearly checklist to ensure you don’t miss any important items.
What to Include in Your HOA Yearly Checklist
Every year, an HOA board must carry out specific tasks so that the association can function normally. Each board member fulfills their respective obligations, and the board as a whole works together to achieve common goals. But, sometimes, tasks can fall between the cracks and be forgotten. In order to avoid this, it’s a good idea to put together an HOA yearly checklist.
Certain things, like preparing the annual budget, having maintenance services performed, and organizing yearly events, are a given. Those are staples usually found in every HOA annual calendar. For this HOA checklist, we’ll be focusing on tasks a lot of associations mistakenly leave out.
1. Review Rules and Regulations
It’s always a good idea to schedule a comprehensive HOA review of your rules and regulations to make sure they are still being fully followed and enforced. Sit down with your fellow board members to see which rules still apply. You may also want to consider amending parts of your governing documents if there are any stipulations that conflict with others.
In addition to reviewing your own governing documents, make sure to check if there are any new or amended state laws that apply to HOAs. If you’re unsure about these things, it’s best to consult with your HOA attorney. This way, you can cover your bases and limit the possibility of liability or misinterpreting the law.
2. Leases and Contracts
Look over all tenant leases to review renewal dates. It will also give your board a chance to discuss solutions for any problem tenants. You will need to approach the way you handle difficult tenants carefully, though. One wrong move or accusation could result in legal repercussions.
Additionally, if you have a “Housing for Older Persons” community, make sure your leases in the past 12 months still put your association at an 80 percent occupancy rate or more for residents aged 55 and above.
You’ll also want to review your contracts with vendors and when they expire. Discuss how each member feels about the quality of work and whether or not you plan to renew the contract. Additionally, check whether there are any automatic renewal clauses in HOA vendor contracts. You might miss the deadline to terminate business with a vendor you dislike and end up having to pay a hefty fine.
3. Security and Safety Plans
Re-evaluate your HOA’s disaster preparedness and recovery plan. Ensure everyone is up-to-date on any changes and understands their role in the plan. Also, review any issues with security or safety that have been reported or noted in the last year and decide on a plan for continued resident and guest safety.
It’s a good idea to hire a professional to perform a security assessment of your community. This will reveal any vulnerabilities, even subtle ones, that you need to address. A security assessment will also give you a general idea of how much it will cost to address these security issues.
4. Frequently Asked Questions
Any condominium association boards will need to look over their Frequently Asked Question and Answer sheet at least once a year. Since a lot can change with an association in a year, you’ll want to make sure it is still accurate. If it’s not, then make sure to make the necessary adjustments to it. After that, see to it that every homeowner in your community knows about these changes.
5. Emotional Support Animal Cases
If your community has any service animals or emotional support animals, mark your calendar each year. All approved pets will need to undergo an annual checking, in case they have been retired from service. This is likely more relevant to 55+ or condominium communities.
6. Access Devices
If your HOA uses any devices for member access, such as gate cards, vehicle permit tickets, or other exclusive access items, protect your community and double-check any inactive ones that are no longer functioning. If you change vehicle ID stickers every year, make sure to have a new one ready by the time the new year comes around. Notify all homeowners of the new stickers, how they can get it, and any other pertinent details.
Although this is an obvious one for most HOAs, there are still associations that miss it. Your HOA yearly checklist should include when to file taxes. For many associations, the deadline for filing taxes is on March 15. Allow enough lead time to prepare your taxes. If you’re not sure whether to use Form 1120 or Form 1120-H, ask your accountant or management company for help.
One of the HOA action items that only a few consider is holidays. No, this doesn’t mean scheduling a time to decorate (though that can also be part of it). Instead, mark your calendars for any closures during the holiday season. Decide which buildings or offices should close and which days HOA employees can take off.
If your HOA sends out regular newsletters, decide on how often you intend to distribute it. You don’t need to follow the schedule of your predecessors (unless your governing documents say otherwise). You may also want to reconsider the design of your newsletter. If you have a resident with a background in layout design, consider asking them for help.
Preparation Is Paramount
The HOA board carries a world of responsibilities on its shoulders. When left unprepared, any association opens itself up to consequences, legal or monetary. The more steps toward prevention that your community board can take each year, the better equipped you will be in avoiding any unnecessary risks or challenges. Take the next step by ensuring these items appear in your HOA yearly checklist. Doing so can help your HOA in saving a lot of money on otherwise unanticipated emergencies.
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