Managing an HOA can produce several obstacles along the way as your management company looks to implement the most effective strategies possible for a well-functioning community. One of those obstacles that every property manager will inevitably face is assisting and managing the HOA’s governing board through turnover and structural changes. While not always considered at the top of a management company’s priorities, HOA board turnover is a relatively common yet inconvenient problem. Damage control and proper communication with residents can determine how big that problem becomes.
Board member positions in an HOA are almost always volunteer positions, saddled with both a significant workload and respective term limits that can often affect how long an HOA board member stays in an officer position. These types of responsibilities and limitations can result in significant fluctuation amongst the HOA board. If a management company isn’t prepared to assist with guiding the turnover process so that it doesn’t affect the community as a whole, things can become difficult.
Luckily, this guide is here to assist management companies with the best possible practices for maintaining the quality and effectiveness of its own and the HOA board’s responsibilities in times of turnover. Below, you will find several different ways that you can help prevent unnecessary board turnover and continue providing quality services as a property manager or management company. In contrast, new board member positions are filled.
Management companies can look to eliminate the hassle and headache of losing HOA board members unexpectedly or too quickly by working to eliminate board members’ reasoning for leaving their positions to begin with. A large part of that starts with setting board members up for success and specifying precisely what they’ll be responsible for in the role.
Volunteer positions like HOA board positions are time-consuming, stressful, and carry a lot of weight in how well an HOA is run. If the duties and responsibilities of the role are not effectively laid out, with the help of the management company in charge, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine plenty of hopeful volunteers taking on positions they weren’t fully prepared for. Board members need to understand exactly what their daily duties will be, how exactly the limits of both their power, as well as their respective terms in office, apply and coexist with the community at large, and how the management company itself will be able to assist them in the position.
Although not all board member turnover can be avoided, preparing those who take on such an essential role in the HOA is incredibly important. With as much information and as many resources as possible, a well-run HOA separates itself from the pack by ensuring board members and residents aren’t left in the dark.
In the event of board members stepping down, or even a significant trend of board turnover over a short period, one of the areas that management companies must do their absolute best to maintain is access to HOA documents for incoming and current residents. As specified before, HOA documents are essential for the HOA resident experience. Risking any breakdown in communication or access to these documents could be a significant misstep for management companies.
HOA documents typically include anything from an HOA’s CC&R’s to valuable insurance information to even information regarding the board itself. If access to those documents becomes harder because turnover amongst board members increases, residents will be the ones that suffer the consequences. It should be a priority in that case for management companies to provide continued access to these documents, as well as consistent communication on where they can be located or applied for, throughout any primary turnover process of HOA leadership.
Management companies themselves can get assistance in this area to utilize outside resources that help consolidate this information for both the company and residents alike. It also works to bridge any communication barriers by providing applications that allow for all HOA parties to communicate more effectively with each other. TownSq, for instance, provides such a service that offers effective streamlining of communication for just these types of situations. Other options for management companies include providing online file-sharing services like Google Drive or Dropbox, which allow for universal access within the HOA.
It can be easy for anyone in a situation as unexpected and tumultuous as the HOA board turnover process to overthink some of the basics in eliminating its effects. Yet, communication, and especially communication with residents, remains the simplest and most effective way of preventing turnover from degrading the quality of your HOA.
When HOA board members either step down, are replaced in an election, or leave their position by any other means, residents need to know as soon as possible. It will take a combined effort from the management company and the remaining HOA board members to deliver that information effectively. Residents also need to be fully aware of how to reach either management or the board for questions and concerns in the event of a board member’s term ending and what effect that board member’s absence might have on residents’ daily lives. Although dependent on how each HOA is run, these types of situations can either create excellent opportunities for management to step in and provide residents everything they need or make even more significant systemic issues down the line.
Communication might feel almost too obvious, but, coupled with the steps mentioned above, the most effective weapon the entire HOA community has against letting board member turnover disrupt the continuity and quality of life for everyone in the community.