Get 1 year of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Monday, October 18, 2021











HOATalk is a free service of Community123.com:

Easy to use website tools to help your board
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: HOA structure for dummies?
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/23/2021 7:40 AM  
I'm the shiny new president of a shiny new self-managed community and am facing an issue that I honestly don't have the time to tackle one on one with all 2-doz households. I'm looking for a decent "HOA for Dummies" that I can share in the hopes that at least most of the people will read so that I have fewer people that I need to hand-hold.

Actually, I'm facing several issues but I'll just lay out one for this thread.

Knowledge of what HOA boards and committees are for, how they're structured and how their responsibilities and powers intersect.


For example, we have a landscaping committee.

They don't want to "dictate taste" or "tell people what to do." My understanding is that those concepts are *literally* is part of their job description, though not using those exact words. The LC is there to take some load off the board by helping to uphold the HOA rules, guide in the creation of new rules (or removal of undesired rules), respond to homeowner landscaping requests and work with landscaping contractors.

At any given moment when wearing their LC hat, they may have to "tell someone what to do."

Further, none of them have the time to perform the very first job listed in the LC charter of coordinating the the landscapers, so I'm in the process of trying to replace the chair.

IMO they really just want a garden club. Which is fine but they don't need to be part of the "HOA" for that.


Hopefully that wasn't too much background but that's one challenge I'm facing.

Also, I did search the forum and net but only found bits and pieces of my goal so thought I just ask the experts.

TIA

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2464


09/23/2021 8:37 AM  
It sure would be nice to have something like that.

The large majority of HOAs are incorporated and governed by a board of directors. They're not social clubs or fraternal organizations, and they're not democracies. That's it in a nutshell.

The problem is that, for all of their similarities, HOAs can have some significant differences, and a few of your questions touch on areas that can vary.

The differences will be found in your governing documents (CC&Rs aka Declaration and your Bylaws) and in your state's laws regulating community associations and not-for-profit corporations. There is no "For Dummies" for these things. They're written in legalese, you have to read them in their entirety to make sure you haven't missed something relevant, and exact wording and punctuation matters. (We've had discussions of "shall" vs. "may" around here.)

There is also a hierarchy to these laws. Federal law supersedes state law which supersedes local municipality law which supersedes CC&Rs which supersede Articles of Incorporation which supersede Bylaws which supersede a community's Rules and Regulations. To make matters even more interesting, any of the laws can have verbiage that defer to one of the other categories - a particular section of the state's law may defer to the HOA's CC&Rs, for example.

Long story short, there is a learning curve to being a director. Ditto for managing the community, which is a separate profession that can use different knowledge and skills. In all cases, if you hire an outside community manager, the manager works at the direction of the board - but experienced boards know the difference between exercising the authority of their position and micro-managing the manager.

As for committees, unless your bylaws say otherwise, committees serve at the pleasure and direction of the board, and committee members can be removed with or without cause. You may not be required to have them at all - check your bylaws. Committees have no independent authority (exception, in some communities the Architectural Control does have some level of authority). Your bylaws may require at least one board member to be a member of any committee, and the board member may or may not have voting authority on the committee (bylaws again). In my experience, committees are a mixed bag. They can be very useful if they're supplementing the board's knowledge (eg. a Finance committee). They can also attract people with an axe to grind and will accomplish nothing beyond wasting the board's time. The real problems are the folks with an axe to grind who don't recognize the board's authority (hint: avoid social media like the plague).

What the board can regulate as far as landscaping goes will depend on the wording of your CC&Rs, including what kinds of restrictions are spelled out. In every HOA and COA (condos) I've heard of, the board is the final authority on what happens on the common elements. There may be other restrictions on the nature of individual homes - it's also common for CC&Rs to require prior approval of exterior modifications to homes, and it's common for homeowners to ignore this and do what they want. Legal wrangling can follow.

Did I mention that there is a learning curve?

One piece of advice I have is to do what you're doing: figure out what you can and can't do, and then enforce your governing documents consistently and fairly. One of the board's roles is to enforce the terms of the CC&Rs which are part of the contract on people's homes - and one of the hardest things to do is to start enforcing after previous boards have neglected that job. Homeowners get offended even though they agreed to follow the rules when they signed all those papers at closing. Also: people don't want to live in a police state, but ignoring violations will allow the community to go downhill. There is a happy medium in there somewhere, although reasonable people can disagree about exactly where that is.

MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 11:15 AM  
Thank you Cathy. I kind of figured I might need to tailor structure info for our situation but, hope springs eternal.

Regarding the downsides of committees, we're going through some of that fun now.

And I get it with regard to the learning curve and your last piece of advice. Enforcement is going to be an 'interesting' challenge as nobody wants to be the 'bad guy'.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/24/2021 11:18 AM  
Michael

What are your structures? Standalone homes, townhouse, multi level buildings, etc. How many units? What are your dues? What is included in the dues? Landscaping, trash collection, water, etc.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 11:22 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 11:18 AM
Michael

What are your structures? Standalone homes, townhouse, multi level buildings, etc. How many units? What are your dues? What is included in the dues? Landscaping, trash collection, water, etc.




single-family townhomes, 3-4 homes in a building.
22 units in 7 buildings
Dues currently cover some landscaping, pest control and common area maintenance though these are "developer dues" which means they're still lower than they need to be relative to the obligations the HOA has.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/24/2021 11:31 AM  
Posted By MichaelH34 on 09/24/2021 11:22 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 11:18 AM
Michael

What are your structures? Standalone homes, townhouse, multi level buildings, etc. How many units? What are your dues? What is included in the dues? Landscaping, trash collection, water, etc.




single-family townhomes, 3-4 homes in a building.
22 units in 7 buildings
Dues currently cover some landscaping, pest control and common area maintenance though these are "developer dues" which means they're still lower than they need to be relative to the obligations the HOA has.




What amenities do you have?
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 11:34 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 11:31 AM
Posted By MichaelH34 on 09/24/2021 11:22 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 11:18 AM
Michael

What are your structures? Standalone homes, townhouse, multi level buildings, etc. How many units? What are your dues? What is included in the dues? Landscaping, trash collection, water, etc.


single-family townhomes, 3-4 homes in a building.
22 units in 7 buildings
Dues currently cover some landscaping, pest control and common area maintenance though these are "developer dues" which means they're still lower than they need to be relative to the obligations the HOA has.


What amenities do you have?




None. I don't mind answering these questions but I'm not seeing where you're going.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2464


09/24/2021 11:47 AM  
It helps to know what kind of community because condo/townhome communities have more greenspace and common areas relative to the homes, and these things generally must be maintained by the HOA.

For example: your townhomes may be condos (meaning that homeowners own from the drywall in, but the association owns the foundation, framing, roofs, etc. in addition to the greenspace). The association has to maintain everything on the exterior *and* since it's all common elements, homeowners can't just do whatever they want as far as altering the exterior of the buildings or planting whatever.

On the other hand, some townhome communities are HOAs/landominiums. Homeowners may own roofs and foundations, they may own the land underneath their homes (and possibly a buffer zone of a few feet around the home). This will mean homeowners have more wiggle room about what they can do, and the association has less maintenance to do.

But your CC&Rs should tell you all of that. Since this is a new community, your CC&Rs will probably spell out who owns what and who is responsible for what. Two communities can appear to be almost identical from the outside, but have very different legal definitions and obligations for everyone involved.

Which is why somebody asks at some point in nearly every discussion we have.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 12:02 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/24/2021 11:47 AM
It helps to know what kind of community because condo/townhome communities have more greenspace and common areas relative to the homes, and these things generally must be maintained by the HOA.

For example: your townhomes may be condos (meaning that homeowners own from the drywall in, but the association owns the foundation, framing, roofs, etc. in addition to the greenspace). The association has to maintain everything on the exterior *and* since it's all common elements, homeowners can't just do whatever they want as far as altering the exterior of the buildings or planting whatever.

On the other hand, some townhome communities are HOAs/landominiums. Homeowners may own roofs and foundations, they may own the land underneath their homes (and possibly a buffer zone of a few feet around the home). This will mean homeowners have more wiggle room about what they can do, and the association has less maintenance to do.

But your CC&Rs should tell you all of that. Since this is a new community, your CC&Rs will probably spell out who owns what and who is responsible for what. Two communities can appear to be almost identical from the outside, but have very different legal definitions and obligations for everyone involved.

Which is why somebody asks at some point in nearly every discussion we have.




Thank you. Knowing that should help me provide more meaningful answers.

Not sure how ours would be classified, so...

The typical building is composed of 3 independently owned 2-story units that have shared walls in between.

Each owner owns the property their unit is on along with the land extending in front and back to about 30' (there's some variability). The HOA takes care of very basic lawn care for all the owners and the common property.

The owners are fully responsible for maintenance of their units and property. One wrinkle is that our umbrella insurance covers the roofs since they're a shared property. The HOA *may* take on the responsibility for maintaining roof and painting units if we're able to pass the dues increases needed.

I'm sure there are other details you might need/want. Feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/24/2021 1:30 PM  
Michael

Typically in a townhouse setting the association is also responsible for all outside shell maintenance so they have some control over how the units look. While not always the case it is something you should be sure of. Is there fencing/walls separating the units front and/or back. If so, who is responsible? A shared fence/wall between units can get tricky.

Also it appears your association might be responsible for roof repairs/replacement. This is typical as you do not want a series of different type roofs especially if they touch/overlap. Again, take a close look as roofing can be a very expensive project requiring a large Reserve to cover it.

Also look at what authority the association has when it comes to yard maintenance as enforce some standard.

Imagine letting each owner dictate exterior looks, roof, etc. The place could end up looking like crap.

Your situation is not unique. We are just trying to zero in on things so we can offer the best advice. I would advise putting together a list of questions and getting some legal advice.
MaxB4


Posts:1339


09/24/2021 1:40 PM  
Posted By MichaelH34 on 09/23/2021 7:40 AM
I'm the shiny new president of a shiny new self-managed community and am facing an issue that I honestly don't have the time to tackle one on one with all 2-doz households. I'm looking for a decent "HOA for Dummies" that I can share in the hopes that at least most of the people will read so that I have fewer people that I need to hand-hold.

Actually, I'm facing several issues but I'll just lay out one for this thread.

Knowledge of what HOA boards and committees are for, how they're structured and how their responsibilities and powers intersect.


For example, we have a landscaping committee.

They don't want to "dictate taste" or "tell people what to do." My understanding is that those concepts are *literally* is part of their job description, though not using those exact words. The LC is there to take some load off the board by helping to uphold the HOA rules, guide in the creation of new rules (or removal of undesired rules), respond to homeowner landscaping requests and work with landscaping contractors.

At any given moment when wearing their LC hat, they may have to "tell someone what to do."

Further, none of them have the time to perform the very first job listed in the LC charter of coordinating the the landscapers, so I'm in the process of trying to replace the chair.

IMO they really just want a garden club. Which is fine but they don't need to be part of the "HOA" for that.


Hopefully that wasn't too much background but that's one challenge I'm facing.

Also, I did search the forum and net but only found bits and pieces of my goal so thought I just ask the experts.

TIA




Get a management company....Period
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/24/2021 1:44 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/24/2021 1:40 PM
Posted By MichaelH34 on 09/23/2021 7:40 AM
I'm the shiny new president of a shiny new self-managed community and am facing an issue that I honestly don't have the time to tackle one on one with all 2-doz households. I'm looking for a decent "HOA for Dummies" that I can share in the hopes that at least most of the people will read so that I have fewer people that I need to hand-hold.

Actually, I'm facing several issues but I'll just lay out one for this thread.

Knowledge of what HOA boards and committees are for, how they're structured and how their responsibilities and powers intersect.


For example, we have a landscaping committee.

They don't want to "dictate taste" or "tell people what to do." My understanding is that those concepts are *literally* is part of their job description, though not using those exact words. The LC is there to take some load off the board by helping to uphold the HOA rules, guide in the creation of new rules (or removal of undesired rules), respond to homeowner landscaping requests and work with landscaping contractors.

At any given moment when wearing their LC hat, they may have to "tell someone what to do."

Further, none of them have the time to perform the very first job listed in the LC charter of coordinating the the landscapers, so I'm in the process of trying to replace the chair.

IMO they really just want a garden club. Which is fine but they don't need to be part of the "HOA" for that.


Hopefully that wasn't too much background but that's one challenge I'm facing.

Also, I did search the forum and net but only found bits and pieces of my goal so thought I just ask the experts.

TIA




Get a management company....Period




With only 22 units, it does lean toward self management if (and a big IF) several owners were willing to do the work. Or even hire a book keeper (collect dues and pay invoices) for a few hundred dollars a month.
LoriM15
(Florida)

Posts:34


09/24/2021 2:18 PM  
I want to make a comment about the roofs. You absolutely want the HOA to be responsible for the roofs. And when you take over the community from the developer, make sure you get a reserve study done and put away enough money to cover insurance and roof replacement.

You are in a new community, so thinking about a new roof is the farthest thing from your mind. But a few years down the road, unit A is going to have a leak and need to replace their roof. Their roof is connected to unit B. Unit A can't match the shingles. So now you have two units next to each other with different color shingles and possibly the shingles overlap - so you get a checkerboard effect. Unit B doesn't want the roofer from unit A on their roof. It becomes a big dispute.

I speak from experience. Some of the units in our community are essentially duplexes with a single roof with no division, although they are deeded as single family homes. It's Florida, so we have concrete tile roofs. After 20 years the roofs need to be replaced. But the left side and the right side have to replace the roof together because the original tiles aren't available so the two sides don't match and also the county will not give a permit to replace half the roof. It's a nightmare. If the association had set it up right from the beginning they would have been saving money to be responsible for the roofs.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 2:23 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 1:30 PM
Michael

Typically in a townhouse setting the association is also responsible for all outside shell maintenance so they have some control over how the units look. While not always the case it is something you should be sure of. Is there fencing/walls separating the units front and/or back. If so, who is responsible? A shared fence/wall between units can get tricky.

Also it appears your association might be responsible for roof repairs/replacement. This is typical as you do not want a series of different type roofs especially if they touch/overlap. Again, take a close look as roofing can be a very expensive project requiring a large Reserve to cover it.




Unfortunately the HOA isn't responsible for outside shell maintenance. Several of us think it should be but we still have convincing the membership in front of us before that becomes reality. If ever.


Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 1:30 PM

Also look at what authority the association has when it comes to yard maintenance as enforce some standard.

Imagine letting each owner dictate exterior looks, roof, etc. The place could end up looking like crap.

Your situation is not unique. We are just trying to zero in on things so we can offer the best advice. I would advise putting together a list of questions and getting some legal advice.




We have and I think we're doing well overall. I probably muddied the water a bit by adding the info about the committee. With this post I was really just looking for "dummies" level information I could send to our membership to try to get them somewhat educated on how HOAs work without having to sit down with each of them individually. I'm retired but I do not have that kind of free time.

One of our core problems is simply people are lazy. We have owners that are convinced they know how the neighborhood should work and haven't bothered to self-educate on how HOAs actually function and won't listen to board members who have gone to that effort.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 2:25 PM  
Posted By LoriM15 on 09/24/2021 2:18 PM
I want to make a comment about the roofs. ...




That was one of the first things we started working on. We have the study completed and now are just faced with convincing enough people to pay more.

MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 2:28 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 1:44 PM



Get a management company....Period

With only 22 units, it does lean toward self management if (and a big IF) several owners were willing to do the work. Or even hire a book keeper (collect dues and pay invoices) for a few hundred dollars a month.




Unless the management company also takes over the board and committees, hiring one won't solve anything.
MaxB4


Posts:1339


09/24/2021 2:40 PM  
Posted By MichaelH34 on 09/24/2021 2:28 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/24/2021 1:44 PM



Get a management company....Period


With only 22 units, it does lean toward self management if (and a big IF) several owners were willing to do the work. Or even hire a book keeper (collect dues and pay invoices) for a few hundred dollars a month.




Unless the management company also takes over the board and committees, hiring one won't solve anything.



You would be surprised by what a managment can do. I can only give you an honest answer based on experience. I've managed a association as small as 7.
LoriM15
(Florida)

Posts:34


09/24/2021 2:40 PM  
Here's the basics as far as I am concerned - and I'm sure I missed something.

1. Make sure the CC&Rs, rules and regs, etc. say everything you want them to say. Make it very clear who is responsible for what (maintenance, replacement, enforcement). If they aren't what you want, hire a good HOA attorney and work to make them say what you want. Get the new docs passed by the homeowners while everybody still cares about the neighborhood.

2. Include an architectural committee in your docs. When everyone is responsible for their own unit, it can become chaos. Populate your architectural committee and enforce the rules from the beginning. An outside person (engineer, architect, designer) to consult is best. If not, volunteers from your neighborhood. Start with this NOW before things get out of hand. Make clear rules, an easy application process, and hold monthly meetings.

3. Hold monthly open board meetings, especially if you are self-managing. Make sure you have a treasurer's report. Be transparent about your actions as a board.

4. Get a reserve study done and make sure you are collecting enough in monthly fees to cover operating expenses and a reserve contribution. Don't forget you need to reserve money for private roads, parking lots, common areas. It costs more than you may think.

5. Have a yearly budget workshop where the treasurer goes over the balance sheet with any interested homeowners and makes a recommendation for the budget for the upcoming year.

6. Have a clear complaint process, especially if you don't have a management company. Managers are the front-line for complaints. If you are self-managed, who is going to take the complaints and deal with them? Outline responsibilities and processes. Ignoring complaints from homeowners, whether they are rational or not, is going to cause problems down the road.

7. Don't be afraid to communicate with homeowners. A monthly newsletter is great, but what if there's a broken pipe or something else? Designate someone to collect email addresses, make phone calls, or send letters. Clear communication, where everyone hears the truth directly from the board, is key.



MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/24/2021 3:41 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/24/2021 2:40 PM


You would be surprised by what a managment can do. I can only give you an honest answer based on experience. I've managed a association as small as 7.




Please elucidate. I am open to having my understanding changed. We looked at MCs when we took over from the developer but a nearly doubling of our dues made it unpalatable at the time.

For comparison, we currently have:
o bookkeeping
o landscaping
o communications portal for the neighborhood
o Lawyer at our call (costs $ when we use them and not when we don't)
o Reserve study completed
o Basic CCRs and Bylaws.
o A mostly functional board but there are challenges with getting enough time from enough of the BOD in between meetings.

I'm sure the MC could have saved us time on a reserve study, really wasn't that much work but probably would have gone faster with an experienced MC.

We do not have:
o Complaints portal
o Custom rules and regs - would still need to go through the board believe.
o Someone independent that can communicate with homeowners for every little thing that comes up. I'm doing this now. I would like to spread the load but finding someone unpaid has been difficult.
o Someone independent that can organize the important meetings (annual, those involving votes, etc)

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2464


09/25/2021 5:15 AM  
Re: professional management

Smaller communities suggest self management *if* you have the people with the time and the skills do this. And that's a big "if" - as I'd mentioned in other threads, most people don't move to condo or townhome communities in order to have unpaid side hustles, and just because you have a few willing folks now does not guarantee that you'll have them in the future. The last thing you want is to have a volunteer who is performing essential services to wake up one morning and decide that he's done with it - and volunteers can do that, unlike professional property managers who sign contracts.

The other thing that suggests using a professional manager is if you have a community where the association needs to handle emergency services for the buildings, as in condos. A broken pipe in a condo building can damage multiple homes, unlike in an HOA where homeowners are responsible for their own homes.

A professional manager can perform a wide variety of tasks, and most of the full service ones in my area offer a menu of services that communities can choose from. So it's not all or nothing. If your community could benefit from management - and I think it could because you're already having trouble getting volunteers at a time when owners tend to be the most enthusiastic - it's very possible for you to find a manager who can handle the most urgent tasks and save money by handling the other items in house.

Re: about exterior maintenance

I agree with other comments about the value of having the association handle this. However, your CC&Rs must allow it. If they say that homeowners own their own roofs and must handle maintenance on their own property, then that's what you have to live with. Otherwise you end up with a situation similar to that in another recent thread when there was a big keruffle over driveway maintenance (long story short, the board overstepped in the past but not consistently, and now they were getting pushback from some owners).

You should probably review your CC&Rs with someone knowledgeable who can tell you what the board can and cannot do, and to suggest amendments that would allow the association to function better. This is probably something your attorney can do for you.

Re: HOA attorneys

As with any profession, there are good ones, stinkers, and everything in between. One of the smartest things we did was find a law practice that specialized in community associations and put them on retainer. In exchange for a fairly modest yearly retainer, we received free quarterly and annual training (including Boot Camp For New Board Members), free quarterly newsletters covering hot topics, and unlimited free 15 minute phone calls to discuss general questions (such as "what on earth does this article in our CC&Rs say?"). That training allowed us to avoid all of the typical mistakes that newbie boards tend to make. Another thing they did was review the CC&Rs and bylaws for all new clients and make recommendations on things to address, such as provisions that no longer complied with state or federal law.

If you can find a law practice that offers similar benefits, it may be worthwhile putting them on retainer for a year or two so that you can start off on the right foot and get up to speed fast. I'd said there was a learning curve, and it can be a corker at times. You can either learn things ahead of time in a course, or you can learn the hard way through making mistakes. The latter option hurts everyone and can cost the association a lot more dollar-wise than an annual retainer.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2464


09/25/2021 6:53 AM  
Posted By MichaelH34 on 09/24/2021 3:41 PM
... snip ...

Please elucidate. I am open to having my understanding changed. We looked at MCs when we took over from the developer but a nearly doubling of our dues made it unpalatable at the time.

... snip ...

We do not have:
o Complaints portal
o Custom rules and regs - would still need to go through the board believe.
o Someone independent that can communicate with homeowners for every little thing that comes up. I'm doing this now. I would like to spread the load but finding someone unpaid has been difficult.
o Someone independent that can organize the important meetings (annual, those involving votes, etc)




Re: assessment increases

Everyone has to understand that either they do the work themselves for free, or they pay someone else to do it. There are no other options. The more financial info you can give homeowners, the better. They may not all take it on board right away, but regularly beating them over the head with it can eventually get the message across.

As for the items you currently don't have, there are some low-cost ways to handle things.

* Complaints, maintenance requests, and every-little-thing stuff could be handled via a dedicated email address (eg. [email protected]). You should have such an email address anyway that is set up to auto-forward to all directors (and to your manager if you have one). The email address can also have an auto-response to the sender saying that you've received their email and that they can expect a response within thus-and-such a time. This way to don't have to deal with them on the fly.

* Custom rules and regs do still need to be done by the board, unfortunately. These items can't contradict the CC&Rs, but they can clarify them if needed. There is a trade-off, though. You want these things in place as soon as possible to make enforcement actions consistent - but in a new community, and if you're planning to amend your CC&Rs in some way, it can be helpful to see what's working and what's not working before you create your rules. One thing you can probably deal with right away: a fining schedule if your governing docs allow the HOA to fine violators. (If you can get onto some other community websites, it can be helpful to see their community handbooks. If you're working with a manager, that person may be able to share items from other communities that they're managing.)

* Community managers often organize meetings, and I agree that getting someone outside the community is best. These things involve a lot of work, and there will be some legal requirements that must be followed (eg. written announcements via USPS required or email OK? proxies OK? in-person required or Zoom OK? quorum requirements? who can count votes?). These legal requirements can vary by community and by state, so you'll need to know what yours say. Proxies can often make the difference between achieving quorum or not, so a manager can also ride herd on signed proxies that have been returned and send out reminder emails if too few have been received.

HOA Records and Long-Term Planning

This stuff is easy to forget about. Your state may regulate how many years' worth of HOA records must be preserved. The more you can digitize, the better. Otherwise you'll need to deal with safely storing boxes of paper records in ways that are easily accessible if homeowners request to see certain records. (Some states such as Florida require HOAs/COAs to produce the records within a certain number of days after the request has been received.)

Related to that is contingency planning or disaster recovery. HOAs in states that are regularly flattened by hurricanes are used to this, but any business should give some thought to how they would recover when things go sideways. This is more important than ever since things are starting to go sideways more frequently: floods in areas that didn't get them in the past, wildfires, damaging winds, and the like. Disaster recovery deals with two things: the HOA's information/records and the physical property (this is another reason why digitized records make life easier).

Unfortunately many HOAs aren't good at long term planning. Board members come and go, and since they're volunteers some of them don't take the job too seriously. And budget constraints pretty much force boards into short-term thinking. Stricter laws about reserve requirements can help, but boards still have to deal with homeowners not wanting assessments to be raised (there are also some state laws and some CC&Rs that cap assessment increases, further hamstringing boards that do try to think longer term - but that's a rant for another time).
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1784


09/25/2021 10:16 AM  
Hire a property manager to lightly manage your daily business affairs, bank accounts and audits. Also have them answer the phone calls and email. Meet monthly and according to an agenda.

You and your board will pay a huge personal price to "self manage" as a method to keep HOA dues lower. Your neighbors will certainly not mind you stressing out to save them $4 per month.

The above is "HOA for Dummies."
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8592


09/25/2021 3:59 PM  
When I was a new board members long ago, the publication that helped me a lot was a free publication from CAIonline.org, Learning Center, Homeowner Leaders, the "Board Members Toolkit." I think the way it's organized suited how I learn and maybe it can help you, too, Michael.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


09/26/2021 4:26 AM  
Thank you all
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/26/2021 12:25 PM  
Posted By KellyM3 on 09/25/2021 10:16 AM
Hire a property manager to lightly manage your daily business affairs, bank accounts and audits. Also have them answer the phone calls and email. Meet monthly and according to an agenda.

You and your board will pay a huge personal price to "self manage" as a method to keep HOA dues lower. Your neighbors will certainly not mind you stressing out to save them $4 per month.

The above is "HOA for Dummies."



Kelly $4 per month is $48 per year times 22 units or $1,056 per year. $1,056 per year does not buy much. Even here in SC the going rate for banking, invoice paying, and accounting for an HOA that size would be at least $200 per month or $2,400 per year. Forget answering phone calls and doing Email.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1784


09/26/2021 1:14 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/26/2021 12:25 PM
Posted By KellyM3 on 09/25/2021 10:16 AM
Hire a property manager to lightly manage your daily business affairs, bank accounts and audits. Also have them answer the phone calls and email. Meet monthly and according to an agenda.

You and your board will pay a huge personal price to "self manage" as a method to keep HOA dues lower. Your neighbors will certainly not mind you stressing out to save them $4 per month.

The above is "HOA for Dummies."



Kelly $4 per month is $48 per year times 22 units or $1,056 per year. $1,056 per year does not buy much. Even here in SC the going rate for banking, invoice paying, and accounting for an HOA that size would be at least $200 per month or $2,400 per year. Forget answering phone calls and doing Email.




Your pricing seems better. Still....sign me up.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/27/2021 9:17 AM  
Posted By KellyM3 on 09/26/2021 1:14 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/26/2021 12:25 PM
Posted By KellyM3 on 09/25/2021 10:16 AM
Hire a property manager to lightly manage your daily business affairs, bank accounts and audits. Also have them answer the phone calls and email. Meet monthly and according to an agenda.

You and your board will pay a huge personal price to "self manage" as a method to keep HOA dues lower. Your neighbors will certainly not mind you stressing out to save them $4 per month.

The above is "HOA for Dummies."



Kelly $4 per month is $48 per year times 22 units or $1,056 per year. $1,056 per year does not buy much. Even here in SC the going rate for banking, invoice paying, and accounting for an HOA that size would be at least $200 per month or $2,400 per year. Forget answering phone calls and doing Email.




Your pricing seems better. Still....sign me up.




Just to clarify. The $200 per month would be for a bookkeeper the BOD hired and the OP said 22 homes. We have a bare bones contract for 112 homes with a local PM company and we pay $500 per month.
MaxB4


Posts:1339


09/27/2021 10:53 AM  
Michael,

You mentioned that the umbrella insurance covers the roof. It is actually the requirement outlined in the CCRs that dictate homeowner and HOA responsibility. The insuarnce policy is written based on the language set forth in the governing documents.

You go on to say that the HOA "may" maintain the roof and paint, IF, you can pass a dues increase. Sorry, that is NOT an option.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


09/28/2021 4:37 AM  
Michael,

Here are a few resources:

CAI Best Practices Reports

Communications Articles from the Web From Community Association Networks

Community Association Guide Virginia based, but good general info

Subject: New Board Member Training or resources? Thread on this forum. Scroll down and look at the attachments provided by Barbara.

Hope this helps,

Tim
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


10/04/2021 9:39 AM  
I'm going to have to again just make a blanket reply of "thank you for all the feedback" since there was both a flood of replies and I was off dealing with HOA issues that prompted the question in the first place. Hopefully things will slow down soon (not just HOA crap going on) and I can participate more here for real.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:36


10/04/2021 9:45 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/27/2021 10:53 AM
Michael,

You mentioned that the umbrella insurance covers the roof. It is actually the requirement outlined in the CCRs that dictate homeowner and HOA responsibility. The insuarnce policy is written based on the language set forth in the governing documents.

You go on to say that the HOA "may" maintain the roof and paint, IF, you can pass a dues increase. Sorry, that is NOT an option.




"NOT an option"

Not sure where you're coming to that conclusion. A dues increase is not only ALWAYS an option, it would be necessary. It sounds like you're assuming we'd do that without a change to the CCRs. They aren't written on neutronium tablets. CCRs can be changed. Yes, it requires a vote and that will be a pain in the ass, but it's still possible.

Regarding the rest, the fact that our insurance covers the roof is called out in our CCRs as well as spelling out that the homeowners are responsible for maintenance of the outside of the units.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > HOA structure for dummies?



Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement