4 Kinds of HOA Boards
In general, there are four kinds of HOA Boards.
1) HOA Dictator Board
Dictator HOA boards want to tell the management company what to do, how to do it and demands the community association manager (CAM) do exactly as the board says. In a word or two, one or more board members are relentless. They make unreasonable and sometime illogical or even illegal demands on the management company, their community and others.
2) HOA Do Nothing Board
Do Nothing Boards do as little as possible. These board members fail to read the governing documents and certainly have not reviewed the state law and regulations regarding their association. The ‘Do Nothing Board’ is perhaps the most dangerous and most damaging to any common interest community.
These board members sometimes show up at HOA meetings with little preparation and are often clueless about the association bank accounts, contractor/vendor account status, homeowner violations, work orders, unit status, squatters, property damage or anything else entrusted to their care. Because of their lack of interest and unwillingness to dedicate the many hours needed to properly govern their community, these HOAs usually lose money, fall into disrepair and become undesirable.
Despite being legally responsible, these board members invariably blame all that is wrong in their community, on the management company (or someone else) and take responsibility for nothing.
3) HOA Sweetheart Board
Sweetheart boards usually have the best of intentions and yet are one of the least effective managers.
One or more seetheart board members are people-pleasers and fall into the trap of doing favors for one or even a few homeowners. They may not realize or not care that their first obligation is to the entire community. Sometimes this kind of board member acts impulsively and authorizes action without consulting other board members --bad decision!
For example, poor elderly Mrs. S wants flowers planted in front of her home. The cost is very little for one home. So the board creates a work order and pleases Mrs. S to make her happy and avoid a confrontation.
The simplistic sweetheart decision to have Mrs. S's flowers installed sets off an avalanche of similar requests from other homeowners. Now what?
However, if the board were to act in the best interest of the entire community, as it should, the cost multiplied by tens or hundreds of homes is a big ticket item.
The right answer is to take Mrs. S's flower request seriously and turn it into a community-wide project. If funds are not immediately available, consider adding it to next year's budget. This kind of decision-making ensures the entire community benefits and favoritism is avoided. It also helps all homeowners to function as a community.
Sometimes sweetheart boards or sweetheart board members allow homeowners to skip payments or grant other unfair favors. This merely means other homeowners have to take up the slack and cover missing payments --not to mention, it is very unethical and illegal.
Whereas, a payment plan may be a better solution and is legal.
4) HOA Partnership Board
Partnership Boards are the most successful and most productive HOA boards.
These board members take their responsibilities seriously and when necessary dedicate hundreds of hours –even thousands of hours, each year to protect the interests and homes of their neighbors and friends.
At all times partnership boards are learning and stay informed. They counsel with their management company, the association attorney, the collection agency and coordinate with homeowner committees.
Partnership boards have high moral and professional expectations for themselves and for others. They seek professional advice and respect the four pillars: 1) the management company; 2) their attorney; 3) their collection agency; 4) and, employ professional HOA board software. They build teams and earn a reputation for being tough, but fair.
Partnership boards understand the future of their community depends on them to make wise and thoughtful decisions.
Partnership boards know the buck stops with them --no matter how many professionals they hire to assist them. They hold themselves responsible --because they are the ultimate community decision makers.
Partnership HOA Boards look for ways to make tasks easier for themselves and for their many partners. The most successful HOA boards use highly developed software tools to help them manage and use positive professional techniques to build camaraderie and teams.