As summer draws to a close, we venture into back-to-school season. Teachers, parents and students begin preparing for the new school year, both virtually and in-person.
We often think that school season is only for one of these categories, but it’s also the perfect time for homeowners association board members and homeowners to learn something new about their community
Have you been newly-elected to your association board of directors? Unfortunately, even the best-intentioned board members do not understand all the details of their role when joining their board. Serving on a board is a big responsibility. You must make important decisions to ensure a well-run association and a positive quality of life for the homeowners in the community.
Are you a homeowner in a common interest community? Many homeowners do not fully understand what it means to purchase a home with a homeowners association. Many homeowners do not read their community’s governing documents or attend board meetings.
Where does one start to get an education about their HOA or community? How do members of an HOA board educate themselves to better serve their community? Here a few resources for further education.
Community governing documents
The most important resource for HOA board members and homeowners is the governing documents including the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, bylaws, and rules and regulations. The board members have a fiduciary duty to the homeowners to know and understand the governing documents to better manage and operate the association.
It is also important for homeowners to read and understand these documents well. Many violations that boards face are because homeowners have not read, nor do they understand, what is written in the rules and regulations.
Community association manager
Community association managers oversee the operations, business management, budget and financials, and services of the community. In addition to enforcing the CC&Rs, the manager is up-to-date on local legislation and shares information with the board members.
The community association manager is a reliable source of information for both homeowners and board members.
Community Association Institute
CAI is an international organization with more than 30,000 members. It provides education and resources for board members, homeowners, managers, and other professionals who deal with common interest communities. You can visit their website to get more information about this organization at www.caionline.org.
HOALeader.com helps to keep board members and homeowners up-to-date with association laws, financial matters, insurance, governance, safety and security, and much more. You can start a discussion on one of the forum boards, receive a weekly emailed newsletter with news about HOA management, or attend one of the many webinar presentations.
HOATalk.com is an online discussion forum for HOA board members and homeowners to discuss issues and share ideas and best practices. There are over 35,000 members. There are thousands of discussion topics and news articles to learn more about HOA management.
On the last Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second-to-last Saturday if there are five in a month) in this section of The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, the Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association’s Common Interest Community Advisory Group via the Condo Conversations column to discuss topics that are helpful to condominium owners and association board members.
Being condo owners serving on condo boards, while also chairing HRRA’s Common Interest Community Advisory Group, we (fellow chair Julie Ulrich and I) know the importance of understanding the needs of both homeowners and board members.
Education is key to understanding your community as a homeowner and as a board member to being informed of the various issues facing community associations today.
Board members should engage in ongoing training to increase their knowledge, competence, effectiveness, and professionalism as leaders of their community. The more you know will ensure that you feel more confident in the decisions you will make as a board member.
Informed homeowners become more involved in their community. Homeowners who are more involved build community spirit and pride in the community and a desire to make their community “the best neighborhood in the area.”
The better you educate yourself with current information, the more effective you can be as a board member and as a resident.
Originally published at https://www.pilotonline.com/life/real-estate/vp-hl-jennifer-ireland-condo-back-to-school-082220-20200822-z35fnsfzm5f23e2y65pdeo7kl4-story.html
Jennifer Ireland is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty and chair of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association’s Common Interest Community Forum. Have a question about a condo or common interest community topic? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on HRRA, go to www.hrra.com, or call 757-473-9700. This column is not legal advice nor a legal recommendation.