There are many benefits to being a resident of a homeowner’s association (or HOA), like a robust sense of community, access to shared amenities such as walking trails, a pool, or a playground, and the peace of mind that your HOA board is handling many of the community’s responsibilities. However, since HOAs rely on proactive collaboration and cooperation among community members, issues can and will arise.
To learn more about common HOA issues and their solutions, we turned to the team at Associa New York, a local, Poughkeepsie-based branch of national community and property management company Associa providing HOA management services to 30 communities in the Mid-Hudson Valley. For over 40 years, Associa has been an industry leader in providing secure financial services, technological solutions, and 24/7 access to important information for managed communities, so the board members can remain focused on the big picture while ensuring that day-to-day tasks are well in-hand.
Many HOAs have a robust set of rules and guidelines that help lay the foundation for a successful neighborhood. However, most rules need consistent enforcement from the board in order to be upheld.
To address any rule non-compliance, boards should communicate with the non-complying community members directly, identify the consequences of continuing the behavior, and provide a compelling reason why the rule is important to the community. To prevent issues with any new rules that are adopted, boards should also provide adequate notice of proposed changes prior enacting a vote, then widely communicate the new rule in annual notices, newsletters, and the website.
As part of its services, Associa New York offers its partner HOAs free access to TownSq, an all-in-one app that encourages collaboration and information sharing. Among many perks, it allows community members to easily and privately communicate with the board, which can help streamline any discussions of non-compliance.
Whether it’s loud music late at night or overflowing garbage and recycling bins, conflicts are bound to come up among neighbors. It’s up to board members to diffuse situations as much as possible and bring the community together instead of apart.
In deescalating and resolving any conflicts, board members should do their best to remain calm, show empathy for both sides of the conflict, and make sure to establish and reinforce open lines of communication with each other and the board. A secure messaging platform like TownSq can also come in handy here—providing a private forum for neighbors to communicate issues directly to the board.
From collecting association fees to paying shared vendors, HOA board members handle a significant amount of the community’s money—carrying the risk of poorly managed finances and even theft.
If you’re a homeowner or board member that suspects theft in your association, you may have the right to request HOA documents like information on financial statements and audits or to call a special meeting to discuss the possibility that theft has occurred. In the long-term, however, ensuring responsible, secure financial management is always the best solution. Best practices your association can implement include ensuring proper supervision of those handling finances, creating reconciliation procedures, and limiting access to vendor files.
Successfully managing HOA finances can require a lot of time and accounting knowledge on the part of the board, however. Entrusting your HOA’s finances to a management company like Associa can free up your board’s time and, in some cases, even save money. From providing faster, more secure vendor payments to consistent, timely, and transparent financial reporting, a management company can provide HOA communities with valuable professional financial expertise and greater peace of mind.
To learn more about Associa’s services, visit Associaonline.com.
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