4 Tips to Dealing with a Difficult HOA Board Member
Managing multiple HOA communities can have many positive benefits that create value for management companies, such as:
- communicating with all of the communities under the company umbrella;
- accessing insightful data based upon resident satisfaction;
- increasing revenue through quality marketing efforts and new clients;
- building a reputable brand that speaks volumes to the communities it manages.
These core values and benefits are held together by the relationship between management companies and community boards. This relationship can sometimes be stressful, as boards and managers may not always see eye to eye. Therefore, at TownSq we would like to offer helpful tips to fellow board members and managers across all property management companies that can help make the relationship with boards less stressful and more fruitful.
As you read on, keep in mind that the HOA boards you manage work diligently to ensure that you, the homeowners, and the community you manage remain in tip-top shape. Here are four tips to dealing with a problematic HOA board member:
Tip 1. Address the issue
If you are unhappy with a decision a board member has made for the community you manage or feel as though they are not upholding the core values you have itemized, the first action you should take is to strike up a conversation with that board member privately. Talk to them about the problem you are having, explain the solution you think would be best for the community, and most importantly, provide value in the solution. Remember, the conversation is a two-way street, so ensure you listen to what the board member has to say as well. This can grant you essential information into how the community is being upheld at the board level.
The best way to build a strong portfolio is to craft a collaborative relationship between the board and managers. There is no better way to kick that relationship off than a private conversation discussing essential issues you may be facing. By having a private conversation with the member, you keep anyone from being singled out or creating any embarrassment in front of other members. Also, a private discussion ensures things remain confidential in the case that members do not see eye-to-eye.
Tip 2. Establish an agenda
Discussing a matter with an HOA board member can be highly beneficial for a management company because it creates multiple communication channels to increase collaboration. When you go to meet with a board member, it’s important to highlight a plan. This shows that you, as the manager, have serious concerns regarding decisions that have been made, and you can communicate what it is you are dissatisfied with. This ensures that the conversation remains on topic. Deviating from the plan can reduce the chances of any change coming about in the community, so assure yourself that the talking points must be discussed thoroughly.
Tip 3. Set clear expectations & guidelines
Managers have a great deal of power within their space to ensure that communities uphold the management company’s look, feel, and values. One of the management company’s jobs is to ensure the community board runs smoothly with the homeowner’s wants, needs, and expectations held in the highest regard. This is where you, as a manager, can set clear precedents, expectations, and guidelines for your elected community board.
Take the time to establish the company's most essential ideals as strict guidelines for the individuals who will eventually be elected to that board. Always emphasize how important these ideals are because this is what the board will use as a tool to make decisions. This creates a fundamental backbone for the decisions that they make for the community you serve. Setting up a company approved set of guidelines and expectations for community boards can keep all parties satisfied.
Tip 4. Follow-up
Following up after a conversation with a board member reinforces the talk and grants the opportunity to check back in on anything related to the dispute at hand. This is a great time to check back to the agenda or checklist you’ve created for your prior conversation and ensure you’ve hit all of the points you set out to cover. Following up can also be executed via multiple different mediums, such as email, a phone call, or perhaps a community management software like TownSq. Community management software gives homeowners, boards, and managers a way to connect at all times, continuously follow-up with one another, and stay up-to-date on all of the happenings in the community.
Dealing with your HOA board members shouldn’t feel like a chore; it should be a solution that creates collaboration and open communication. In the end, the managers and community boards under a management company all want what is best for the community.
By following the tips listed above, your management company and the communities it serves will remain a well-oiled machine that increases satisfaction and revenue year-over-year.