The late and legendary coach John Wooden said “The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.” Your association might benefit from setting a few goals, and then moving to achieve them. Here are some ideas for goals in the coming year:
- Increase the association’s reserve funds by 15%. The closer the association is to a fully funded reserve account, the more financially secure it is.
- Reduce assessment delinquencies by 20%.
- Make sure the association has all the Annual Budget Report (Civil 5300) and Annual Policy Statement (Civil 5310) items and annually provides them to owners.
- Improve member communication and save money by encouraging members to accept communications by email. The law now allows such a consent to be sent by electronic mail.
- Update the association CC&Rs and bylaws if they are the original documents or are at least 15 years old. Make sure the documents use the current Civil Code references which have been in effect since 2014. Updating the statutory references can be accomplished by board motion (in an open meeting) under Civil 4235.
- Review and update the rules. Remove rules discriminating against children or which are outdated and no longer enforced. Make sure the HOA has all the legally required rules.
- Hire an independent consultant to provide a comprehensive assessment of association maintenance and repair needs, to discover any overlooked problems before they become more expensive later. The consultant should NOT be a candidate for the work, so there is no mixed motive in their recommendations.
- Re-evaluate and update the association web site (or establish one!).
- Publish a written recap of the past year’s events and accomplishments and the new year’s priorities.
- Adopt a board policy that the association encourages membership in the Community Associations Institute and reimburses directors for CAI membership dues during their board service.
- Create one (or one more) HOA social event, enhancing the atmosphere of community in the association. Consider adding a social component to the annual meeting- it might increase participation.
- Contact association absentee owners and ask them to give the board a proxy for purposes of quorum only. Landlord owners are often (and unfortunately) not as involved in association matters. Giving a proxy to the board would help the association meet membership quorum so the membership can make decisions.
- Work with the local utility providers to audit the association’s use of electricity, gas, and water. Such an audit may identify waste and help the association be a more efficient and responsible citizen of the community.
- Adopt a policy requiring each director to commit to attending at least 3 hours of HOA education annually. The Community Associations Institute, local CAI chapters, and many HOA service providers provide a variety of free or affordable live or web-based seminars. CAI has a three-hour basic board education course available as a web seminar.
- Find something new the association can do to help members feel more informed and connected to the association.
A word of caution – don’t try to tackle it all at the same time. Trying to shovel the entire mountain at once can be frustrating and discouraging. Start with one or two goals and then build on those accomplishments. Then, celebrate your association’s accomplishments!
Happy New Year!
Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to Kelly@rodllp.com. Past columns at www.HOAHomefront.com. All rights reserved®.