Happy New Year! Consider these resolutions to start the new year, which may help your common interest development association to become a more positive community.
HOA director’s resolutions – We will:
- Be familiar with our governing documents (CC&R’s, bylaws, and rules).
- Communicate better and more frequently with our neighbors (members) with newsletters, web page updates or bulletins.
- Remember that our position is with a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, which is different than a business corporate director or officer. Unlike employees, we cannot fire our neighbors. Our corporation is also a community.
- Be aware that some neighbors might not know their rights and responsibilities under the law or governing documents, and that the board may need to provide patience and even education at times.
- Limit our board meetings to at most 2 hours, and aim for a meeting length of 90 minutes.
- Arrive at meetings prepared, having reviewed the agenda and all other documents provided to us.
- Not require unanimous votes, nor will we be offended by “nay” votes.
- Listen attentively during Open Forum without interrupting.
- Use closed executive session meetings only when clearly necessary under the law.
- Never forget that we serve our neighbors who entrusted us to be a director and that board service is a privilege, not a right.
- Be open as we can be with information or documents requested by members. We will ask “why not?” give a member information or copies, rather than “Do we have to?”
- Look for opportunities to establish committees, to share the workload and offer members opportunities for involvement.
- Join our local Community Associations Institute chapter, use its educational resources, and be better informed regarding legal requirements and best practices for operating our association.
- Hire a manager who meets at least the minimum standards to call themselves a “Certified Common Interest Development Manager”.
- Call our lawyer to resolve problems only as a last resort. We will only send a lawyer letter to a neighbor when our own letter does not resolve the issue.
- Follow the Golden Rule.
HOA members resolutions – We will:
- Read our HOA governing documents.
- Not refer to the HOA as “they”, since it is “us,” and the directors are also members who pay assessments and volunteer their time.
- Read what our HOA sends us.
- Review the agenda before attending a board meeting, organize our open forum remarks, and listen without interrupting board deliberations.
- Help try to find suggested other approaches to the problem, rather than criticize, when we perceive the board to be making a wrong decision.
- Volunteer to join a committee to help the board on a subject particularly important to us.
- Not first assume that the board is incompetent or dishonest, when we believe it is spending too much.
- Read the association budget.
- Ask questions before criticizing or even accusing.
- Avoid rushing to attorneys when we disagree with the association, but will first talk to a director and will exhaust any possible non-legal approaches.
- Remember that the “my home, my castle” attitude does not work in common interest developments (the word “common” is key here).
- Participate in all member votes, even if only by mailing in my ballot.
- Follow the Golden Rule.
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®.