Avoid Common Board Member Mistakes
Written by Alana Ashby
● Holding meetings incorrectly
All Board meetings need to be documented and with notice given to all homeowners.
● Not adhering to the governing documents
Sometimes Boards may not carefully read the community’s governing documents, and then fail to abide by them. This can happen if a new Board is elected and they neglect to review the bylaws of the association. Every board member should read the bylaws and all other association documents.
● Mismanaging HOA funds
It can be easy to use bad judgment when it comes to managing HOA funds. A common mistake is spending too much money too quickly without leaving anything for emergency maintenance or repairs. Board members also need to consider long-term finances. It’s wise to go over prior-year budgets and learn from them. Community Managers can provide guidance and advice throughout the budget review process, and ensure work is done at a reasonable price.
● Becoming overzealous
Board members are generally excited to be in their position and often can make big decisions too quickly. It’s best to weigh any major policy changes carefully. A new Board may decide to change vendors, which can lead to losing momentum on all ongoing projects. Take time to speak to your Community Manager, and if you’re unhappy with someone, your Community Manager can give you advice about other vendor contracts.
● Not seeking legal advice
There are situations where legal advice should be sought after. Community Managers aren’t lawyers and can’t offer legal advice. If the Board is dealing with a situation with a homeowner that could possibly turn into a lawsuit, it may be best to work with the association’s attorney for advice. The expense of the attorney may be cheaper than the potential legal liabilities.
Being a Board member is a tremendous responsibility and requires important decision-making skills and judgment. It can be easy to make common mistakes that can cause significant issues in the future. Maintaining a good relationship with your Community Manager is an excellent way for your community to operate efficiently.