New Year Resolutions for HOA MembersJan 09, 2023
By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL
[Second article in a four-part series, with possible resolutions for the HOA owner. Next week’s installment will suggest ideas for managers.]
I, the HOA member, resolve to:
- Follow the Golden Rule. (paraphrase: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”)
- I won’t refer to the HOA or board as “they,” since it is “us.” The directors are also members who pay assessments and spend their time working for free to benefit us all.
- Be neighborly, because shared ownership fails without cooperation.
- Assume our directors are doing their best as volunteers and give them the benefit of the doubt.
- I won’t assume the board is incompetent or dishonest when I think it is overspending.
- Avoid the “my home, my castle” attitude. We share the benefits of shared ownership, which means we also have agreed to share control of our property.
- Ask questions before making statements, criticizing, or even accusing others.
- Acknowledge the board may have more information than me. This doesn’t mean the board is always right, but it does mean my opinion might not be fully informed.
- Take the long view of our association property, supporting growth of our capital reserve fund and maintaining our buildings.
- Read the information the HOA sends to me.
- Be familiar with the CC&Rs, bylaws, and rules. I will be a better neighbor by understanding the use restrictions and rules.
- Read the association budget and reserve study. I will ask informed questions, particularly about deviations from the budget.
- When asking to review financial documents, I will not ask for “everything,” and request only documents that I really need, acknowledging my manager is not a librarian.
HELP BOARD MEETINGS:
- Insist our board follows transparency laws and only handles in closed session the limited items allowed by law. I will also do my part to foster orderly meetings.
- Review the posted agenda before attending board meetings.
- Organize my open forum remarks, and accept that the board may not immediately have answers or responses to my questions or suggestions
- I will use my open forum time to inform the board, not to argue with them, and after the open forum, I will not interrupt board deliberations.
- Encourage others attending board meetings to behave with decorum and respect, as we are all neighbors.
- Join a committee, to help share the load.
- If I disagree with the board, I will first provide suggestions and information before criticizing.
- Find ways to enhance our community’s image.
- Try to resolve disputes with a neighbor or the association before “going legal.” Legal disputes can fracture relationships for years. Neighborhood resolution is almost always more effective than lawyer action and court orders.
- Participate in all member votes, even if only by mailing in my ballot.
- Join a Community Associations Institute chapter, and suggest our HOA encourage directors also to be educated members and hire credentialed managers.
- Find opportunities to thank our directors, committees, and manager for their service to our community.
- Vote for directors who demonstrate an attitude of service and commitment to doing things the right way.
- Follow the Golden Rule.
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