5 Common HOA Misconceptions Explained
There are so many myths and misconceptions about homeowners associations that it can be hard to determine what’s legitimate and what’s not. HOA board members need to have a valid and working knowledge of the association and its bylaws in order to make informed decisions, as well as to educate the community. That can be tough to do when certain misconceptions aren’t corrected.
Therefore, understanding these five misconceptions and how they are incorrect is invaluable as an HOA board member.
Associations Only Exist to Make Money
While the collection of funds is an essential role of the HOA board, it is not its sole purpose. A homeowners association exists to ensure the positive appearance of the community and the continual functioning of its establishments. That means maintaining common areas such as pools and community centers, as well as dictating what homeowners can and cannot change when it comes to the exterior of their property. Board members have a responsibility to uphold the functions of the association and allocate the budget for necessary expenses. Examples of appropriate expenditures could be updating the common areas, paying maintenance workers, holding annual board meetings, and hiring an association management company such as Elite Management Services.
The budget is made up of the funds collected from property owners within the community and is monitored by the HOA Treasurer. Those fees associated with living within an HOA community are determined by the board members. If the board members are concerned with the ability to impose and collect funds, they could confidently outsource their accounting and collection duties to EMS.
Board Members Are Just Figure Heads
On the contrary, HOA board members are vital to the ongoing operation of an association. Many homeowners choose to live in an HOA community because of the amenities offered and the overall pleasant aesthetics. However, those things don’t happen organically. Board members are responsible for the implementation and maintenance of certain amenities, obeying the association bylaws, and creating an overall positive place to live.
Most HOA boards are made up of four essential roles: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary – each with their own set of responsibilities. Community managers, while not technically a member of the board, are also integral to the association. Board members are elected volunteers, meaning they are community members themselves and therefore represent the entirety of the community. Should a board member(s) not do a well enough job, a new one can be elected at the annual board election meeting. More importantly, if a board member feels as though certain aspects of the association are lagging or need expert help, they can utilize the services of EMS.
Rules Can’t Be Amended
While some rules have no need to be be altered or removed, others may no longer serve a justifiable purpose. Board members have the power to review and, if warranted, change the association regulations and restrictions outlined in the bylaws. The amendment or abolition of a rule can also be requested by the property owners via written request, followed by a board hearing. It’s important for HOA board members to hear what community members are saying and make any adjustments if it is within their power. Board members themselves should periodically review the bylaws of their association to identify any regulations or restrictions that need to be changed as well.
The HOA Board Can’t Do Anything About Missed Payments
As stated previously, an essential function of the HOA board is to ensure that all homeowner fees are paid. However, there is a common misbelief that board members have no power to actually enforce the collection of those fees. As a matter of fact, an HOA board has the power to foreclose on a home if the property owner misses their payment(s). While this seems a bit extreme, it shows that there are, in fact, very real consequences to defaulting on payments. Alternatively, the HOA can also elect to hire EMS to handle association violations, such as missed or late payments. Because the association requires funds to continue operating, it’s essential that all fees are collected punctually.
A Management Company Makes Board Members Obsolete
Hiring an outside management company such as EMS is actually something board members elect to do because they see a problem with their association. Whether it’s with accounting, property management, dealing with violations, or simply wanting to educate themselves, Elite Management Services can provide valuable assistance. In that same regard, EMS by no means replaces the need for board members and only provide the services requested by the board. The board members work in conjunction with EMS to improve the various aspects of the association and better the community.
If you’re an HOA board member and you see the need for outside assistance, request a proposal from Elite Management Services today.