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Subject: Us vs. Them
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Author Messages
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


09/27/2021 6:41 PM  
Why does it always seem like it is Homeowners versus the Board? I have been part of an HOA since 2019, seen many HOA horror stories, and reading topics in this community for five months. Isn’t the point of an HOA to build stronger communities? What can be done to build strong communities from a Homeowner side and a Board member side?

Where is this coming from? Many of you know my fight with the HOA over solar. It is unfortunate that my solar company had to threaten legal action even just to get them to respond. Note: it was approved the next day. Going to meetings when a Homeowner has a simple question on what it going on with the community the Board always turns them down. I am not here to vent because everyone here can spend hours on that. I just want to know what can be done to where it feels like it isn’t the Homeowners versus the Board. Maybe I can bring some ideas to the table during the next meeting.

P.S. I like HOAs because I am lazy and do not want to spend my Saturdays doing yardwork.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17785


09/28/2021 4:22 AM  
Tom,

It's sometimes a homeowner vs. an HOA because everyone is human.


The point of an Association is not to build stronger communities (that is simply salesman hype to sell homes). The point of an HOA is to maintain the common area and provide services (if any) outlined in the governing documents. The Board, like all members of the Association, also has the authority to enforce the covenants.

BTW: Keep in mind that not all Associations maintain yards for the members and many who live in an HOA also spend Saturdays doing yard work.




PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:254


09/28/2021 5:00 AM  
Emotions. Lack of HOA education amongst owners and board members. HOA's are not here to build stronger communities. They are to maintain common property.

The HOA board is viewed as a threat to owner's rights and their wallets. HOA's have rules everyone is expected to follow. They can raise dues and vote on assessments that takes money away from the owner. Those 2 areas can cause highly fueled emotions to surface.

Most owners, and many HOA boards, do not understand the owner/board relationship. The owner's elect the board. This is usually a popular personality election. Board members do not need any relative education to run for office. They may run because they have a personal pet peeve that only they want results for. Many board members have absolutely no idea how an HOA operates and some run for a feeling of power and control.

There are many HOA's that have active owner interest and board members that don't just run with what they think is correct without research and review. There are even more boards running for years with appointed board members because no one shows up at the annual meeting. Some don't even have a board quorum.

Owner's get emotional and attack because they received a violation letter. As a board member, I get emotional and frustrated because owner's don't look out past their front door and understand the complexity of HOA's.

Educating owners at every opportunity has kept things quiet. We don't just ignore or say "no", but attempt to educate as to why and present documentation, if they read it.

We are, 40 year old, stacked, condos. Many owners treat us like an apartment complex. Just call or write someone and it will be fixed without any regard that they ARE the HOA and living here has responsibilities that fall on them.






Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


09/28/2021 5:18 AM  
Lots of reasons, as others of posted.

Among other things, HOAs/COAs are required by law to be run by volunteers who by and large have no qualifications for the job. People can buy homes in these communities without understanding a single thing about how they work, and this is the pool from which board members are chosen.

And the job itself is TOUGH (requires knowledge of laws, finances, and building and grounds maintenance, among other things). If you look at the working world, no one is supposed to know all of these things: employers hire different people to handle different things. Oh, and board members have to be skilled managers/psychologists who understand how people think.

If for-profit businesses were required to operate under the same conditions and constraints as HOAs/COAs, I doubt that any of them would survive very long.

On top of that, you will often find an entitlement mentality among many homeowners - they think paying their assessments gives them the right to concierge service and that the board/PM are their servants.

Finally, every community has a small group of people who thrive on conflict and controversy, and HOA boards are favorite targets. The board needs to recognize the telltale signs, communicate with them accordingly, and take steps to minimize the damage that they can do. Fortunately these skills can be learned.

It's no way to run a railroad...
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:279


09/28/2021 5:59 AM  
The history of the Boards in our Association have been focused on generally two items, maintain the property values and build a human community to assist and support each other when needed. We have many social gatherings and events that bring most of the residents together at various times during the year.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/28/2021 6:43 AM  
Posted By TomP11 on 09/27/2021 6:41 PM
I just want to know what can be done to where it feels like it isn’t the Homeowners versus the Board. Maybe I can bring some ideas to the table during the next meeting.

P.S. I like HOAs because I am lazy and do not want to spend my Saturdays doing yard work.

The solution is to run for the board with a group of like-minded people and win a board majority.

On the other hand, if a person is lazy, then I expect serving on the Board is not for this person. I believe the lazy person then has to do a cost-benefit analysis of (1) giving up an enormous amount of time to serve on the board, and likely for years (if one wants to make a difference); vs. (2) staying off the board and enjoying a HOA life that is relatively unencumbered but having to put up with poor board decision-making.

Have you any idea how many hours HOA directors volunteer? Yet you are not willing to serve on the board, because it would take away from your own time, either in gainful employment or happily recreating.
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


09/28/2021 7:53 AM  
TimB4,

I understand that HOAs vary on what conveniences they have. For my current situation having an HOA that maintains your yard, forces savings for repairs, and a nosy neighbor to watch your property when you are going is a huge benefit.

PatJ1,

What can be done to get emotions out of the equation? I have seen fights at our meetings. Granted one homeowner did come up with a way prevent arguments before covid. I hope he returns to attending meetings when they are in person again.

CathyA3,

How can these skills be learned? Some people have taken a class and they are the ones who are the loudest at meetings. Are there websites, books, etc. that I can suggest the board put in the website for reading?

MichaelS56,

Are any homes for sale in your community? How did your community develop this mission? Does it keep the fighting down?

AugustinD,

That does not help at all. It is literally keeping the Us versus Them mentality.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


09/28/2021 8:49 AM  
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 7:53 AM
... snip...

CathyA3,

How can these skills be learned? Some people have taken a class and they are the ones who are the loudest at meetings. Are there websites, books, etc. that I can suggest the board put in the website for reading?

... snip ...



My training came from:

* seminars put on by the association's attorneys, including Boot Camp for New Board Members, as well as numerous 15-minute phone calls with the attorneys on general topics.

* work experience in the public and private sectors (many years working on financial information systems, several years in the financial services industry as well as managing my own investments, and a current job with a developer/new home builder).

* many years of on-the-job-training, aka Making Mistakes (I cringe when I look back at how little I knew when I was a newbie board member and when I had to manage my first employees).

* life (which is why I know something about trusts and other topics that come up occasionally here).

And I'm still learning new things, which is one of the reasons I like to hang out on this website.

The CAI web site has an Education Center that info board members, homeowners and managers:
https://www.caionline.org/pages/default.aspx
https://www.caionline.org/HomeownerLeaders/ResourcesforHomeownerLeaders/CAI.BoardMemberToolkit_2014.pdf

Some of their stuff is free, some you have to pay for. Many attorneys who specialize in HOAs also have informative articles on their web sites.

So the info is out there, but the learning curve can be pretty steep, especially for those who haven't had relevant work experience.



MaxB4


Posts:1394


09/28/2021 9:08 AM  
I will come at this from the perspective of a homeowner, board member, board president, association manager, and owner of an association management company.

My first experience with an HOA was 2008. Two months after we moved in my wife, and I received a pre-lien notice from the MC stating we were two months behind in our dues and a special assessment not yet disclosed to us. Turns out the escrow company didn’t know who the management company was and didn’t know where to send the dues check that was collected at closing. No welcome to the community, nothing, just pay up or else.

In my opinion, getting the HOA off on the right foot right at the beginning is paramount in the future harmony of the community. If you have power hungry boards, incompetent MC’s, and unethical attorneys, or worst, all three at the same time, could cause damage that either can’t be repaired or take years to overcome.

Too many MC’s and attorneys think they represent the wishes of the Board, when in fact they are there to represent the Association. If you have had some turnover in boards, many times there are underlying issues that derail the success of a new board. Miscommunication travels through a community like wildfire through social media. Before you can respond, you a dead duck.

We have about 10 regular contributors here and there are about 2 million board members nationwide. Someone poised a question, “Do you know how many hours a board member puts in”? I could answer that, but let me say, it is an accomplishment if you get them to board meeting, even if they weren’t prepared.

There are some good HOA’s out there. The most successful one started out the right way. They had governing documents tailored to their community, they had exceptional, well thought out architectural guidelines and procedures, they had a transparent developer, they had thoughtful and non-power-hungry directors, they had a MC’s and attorney who knew who they were actually working for, and most important, they were completely transparent.

The other issue that states need to address is quorum requirement for the election of directors. People complain about not having term limits in Washington. Well, the same thing happens in HOA’s. Some here will argue that you are letting a small group of people dictate how directors are selected. How are directors appointed? By one, two or three board members. A number of associations don’t have elections because they can’t make quorum. No skin off the board’s nose, no quorum they remain in office for another two years.

Yes, getting a like-minded slate of candidates is optimal, but if there are underlying conditions you may or may not be aware of, you could be doomed from the very start. As I said, there are some good HOA’s out there, but, unfortunately, they are few and far between.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:571


09/28/2021 9:12 AM  
I think it starts with the perception of HOAs as "people that don't let you do what you want with your own property."

Even people who don't want to let their weeds grow sky high or have cars on blocks in their front yard may support the principle that you ought to be able to. Where there are rules, there are people responsible for enforcing them, and that creates an adversarial relationship with those to whom the rules apply.

Now let's talk about developers. Homebuyers always seem to view as the enemy. Even the ones who deliver exactly what amenities they promised are despised for not providing more or better. Whether the salesperson in the model home lied to them, or the actual builder screwed up the lot grading, or the city said no to a streetlight, or they just didn't pay attention to the site plan, or they just have buyers remorse - homebuyers blame everything they don't like about their neighborhood on the developer, who in their eyes is the HOA, and when the homeowners take over, that hostility is just transferred to a new target.

The solution is education but it's a long process and dependent upon people's desire to actually learn rather than just gripe.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


09/28/2021 9:24 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/28/2021 5:18 AM
Lots of reasons, as others of posted.

Among other things, HOAs/COAs are required by law to be run by volunteers who by and large have no qualifications for the job. People can buy homes in these communities without understanding a single thing about how they work, and this is the pool from which board members are chosen.

And the job itself is TOUGH (requires knowledge of laws, finances, and building and grounds maintenance, among other things). If you look at the working world, no one is supposed to know all of these things: employers hire different people to handle different things. Oh, and board members have to be skilled managers/psychologists who understand how people think.

If for-profit businesses were required to operate under the same conditions and constraints as HOAs/COAs, I doubt that any of them would survive very long.

On top of that, you will often find an entitlement mentality among many homeowners - they think paying their assessments gives them the right to concierge service and that the board/PM are their servants.

Finally, every community has a small group of people who thrive on conflict and controversy, and HOA boards are favorite targets. The board needs to recognize the telltale signs, communicate with them accordingly, and take steps to minimize the damage that they can do. Fortunately these skills can be learned.

It's no way to run a railroad...



Well said.
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


09/28/2021 9:39 AM  
CathyA3,

Thanks for the links and your thoughts.


MaxB4,

Your knowledge is always helpful. There are times I wish you were a member in my community.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:279


09/28/2021 9:40 AM  
Is what you asked any different than the citizens vs the city council, or the watershed district or the state government. If the Board does their job and over communicate to the owners, and the Board is transparent, the Association will generally run pretty smoothly. The Board needs to take the time to get trained, expected to read and understand most of the governing documents and act as a Board.
MaxB4


Posts:1394


09/28/2021 9:54 AM  
Posted By MichaelS56 on 09/28/2021 9:40 AM
Is what you asked any different than the citizens vs the city council, or the watershed district or the state government. If the Board does their job and over communicate to the owners, and the Board is transparent, the Association will generally run pretty smoothly. The Board needs to take the time to get trained, expected to read and understand most of the governing documents and act as a Board.



Based on history, easier said than done.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/28/2021 10:07 AM  
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 7:53 AM
That does not help at all. It is literally keeping the Us versus Them mentality.
I am sorry you do not understand that the tried and true approach to change in a HOA is to change the Board.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


09/28/2021 12:11 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/28/2021 10:07 AM
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 7:53 AM
That does not help at all. It is literally keeping the Us versus Them mentality.
I am sorry you do not understand that the tried and true approach to change in a HOA is to change the Board.



I agree.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:254


09/28/2021 12:42 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/28/2021 12:11 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/28/2021 10:07 AM
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 7:53 AM
That does not help at all. It is literally keeping the Us versus Them mentality.
I am sorry you do not understand that the tried and true approach to change in a HOA is to change the Board.



I agree.




Changing the board doesn't always provide immediate results, but it can be a start. There is no magic board change to force the board to fulfill their responsibilities. If you are fortunate, a majority of the board can set wheels in motion and make a difference. Or you may experience years of board changes that accomplish nothing.




Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
AdamL1
(Idaho)

Posts:117


09/28/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/28/2021 9:08 AM


Too many MC’s and attorneys think they represent the wishes of the Board, when in fact they are there to represent the Association. If you have had some turnover in boards, many times there are underlying issues that derail the success of a new board. Miscommunication travels through a community like wildfire through social media. Before you can respond, you a dead duck.




I'd love to talk more about this. I actually went to the office of our PMC because they kept refusing to provide documents. The PMC stated many times that he just works and takes direction from the Board. Whatever the Board wants or instructs, he does. I asked him if he ever 'coaches' or advises boards if and when they are clearly violating CCR and State Law and he shrugged it off saying its not his responsibility. His actions are done at the instruction of the board.

How to approach this topic? I agree, the PMC should work for the Association as a whole, but it seems to often a crappy board will poison this ideal relationship.
AdamL1
(Idaho)

Posts:117


09/28/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/28/2021 9:08 AM


Too many MC’s and attorneys think they represent the wishes of the Board, when in fact they are there to represent the Association. If you have had some turnover in boards, many times there are underlying issues that derail the success of a new board. Miscommunication travels through a community like wildfire through social media. Before you can respond, you a dead duck.




I'd love to talk more about this. I actually went to the office of our PMC because they kept refusing to provide documents. The PMC stated many times that he just works and takes direction from the Board. Whatever the Board wants or instructs, he does. I asked him if he ever 'coaches' or advises boards if and when they are clearly violating CCR and State Law and he shrugged it off saying its not his responsibility. His actions are done at the instruction of the board.

How to approach this topic? I agree, the PMC should work for the Association as a whole, but it seems to often a crappy board will poison this ideal relationship.
AdamL1
(Idaho)

Posts:117


09/28/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/28/2021 9:08 AM


Too many MC’s and attorneys think they represent the wishes of the Board, when in fact they are there to represent the Association. If you have had some turnover in boards, many times there are underlying issues that derail the success of a new board. Miscommunication travels through a community like wildfire through social media. Before you can respond, you a dead duck.




I'd love to talk more about this. I actually went to the office of our PMC because they kept refusing to provide documents. The PMC stated many times that he just works and takes direction from the Board. Whatever the Board wants or instructs, he does. I asked him if he ever 'coaches' or advises boards if and when they are clearly violating CCR and State Law and he shrugged it off saying its not his responsibility. His actions are done at the instruction of the board.

How to approach this topic? I agree, the PMC should work for the Association as a whole, but it seems to often a crappy board will poison this ideal relationship.
AdamL1
(Idaho)

Posts:117


09/28/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/28/2021 9:08 AM


Too many MC’s and attorneys think they represent the wishes of the Board, when in fact they are there to represent the Association. If you have had some turnover in boards, many times there are underlying issues that derail the success of a new board. Miscommunication travels through a community like wildfire through social media. Before you can respond, you a dead duck.




I'd love to talk more about this. I actually went to the office of our PMC because they kept refusing to provide documents. The PMC stated many times that he just works and takes direction from the Board. Whatever the Board wants or instructs, he does. I asked him if he ever 'coaches' or advises boards if and when they are clearly violating CCR and State Law and he shrugged it off saying its not his responsibility. His actions are done at the instruction of the board.

How to approach this topic? I agree, the PMC should work for the Association as a whole, but it seems to often a crappy board will poison this ideal relationship.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


09/28/2021 12:59 PM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 09/28/2021 12:42 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/28/2021 12:11 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/28/2021 10:07 AM
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 7:53 AM
That does not help at all. It is literally keeping the Us versus Them mentality.
I am sorry you do not understand that the tried and true approach to change in a HOA is to change the Board.



I agree.




Changing the board doesn't always provide immediate results, but it can be a start. There is no magic board change to force the board to fulfill their responsibilities. If you are fortunate, a majority of the board can set wheels in motion and make a difference. Or you may experience years of board changes that accomplish nothing.






In one 700 private homes HOA, it took a dedicated group of about 20 of us and two election cycles to change the BOD of 7. We also had an attorney advising us. There were 4 we wanted off the BOD. We canvassed door to door, set up information tables at the pool, collected Proxies, etc. The first year we got 2 on the BOD which was enough to be sure the Pres was not re-elected. He was pissed. A good start. Next year we got two more spots. The former Pres decided not to run again. We then had control of the BOD or shall I say like thinkers were in control of the BOD. That association has since received several awards.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:571


09/28/2021 1:49 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/28/2021 10:07 AM
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 7:53 AM
That does not help at all. It is literally keeping the Us versus Them mentality.
I am sorry you do not understand that the tried and true approach to change in a HOA is to change the Board.




It can be a start, but if you've got difficult members, changing the board is just changing the people they direct their ire toward. What the OP seems to want is tips on building community among the membership.

And it's tough. People seem to love nothing more than relentlessly complaining about everything and everyone. And they don't want what's best for the association, they want what they want. Immediately, most of the time.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/28/2021 2:20 PM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 09/28/2021 12:42 PM
Changing the board doesn't always provide immediate results, but it can be a start. There is no magic board change to force the board to fulfill their responsibilities. If you are fortunate, a majority of the board can set wheels in motion and make a difference. Or you may experience years of board changes that accomplish nothing.
-- Or the changes will be short-lived. I do hear you and BarbaraT1.

-- As CathyA3 frequently posts: The HOA paradigm is terribly flawed. The unpaid amateurs who populate these boards, coupled with HOA owners who do not understand their own obligations under the covenants, is a recipe for disaster.

-- I think the OP's first post, explaining how he does not want to do work yet he does want the HOA Board to behave a certain way, is an excellent example of why HOAs are often places of conflict. Consider:
Posted By TomP11 on 09/27/2021 6:41 PM
Maybe I can bring some ideas to the table during the next meeting.
The above to me translates to:
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/28/2021 1:49 PM
People seem to love nothing more than relentlessly complaining about everything and everyone. And they don't want what's best for the association, they want what they want. Immediately, most of the time.


-- The OP thinks maybe the point of HOAs is to build stronger communities. But I think this reveals a lack of study of the articles of incorporation; housing development in general; and the fact that covenants are a contract.
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


09/28/2021 3:15 PM  
AugustinD,

Why are you trying to continue this Us vs. Them mentality? Help me and other homeowners who may be reading this understanding your thinking? I don’t understand how me not doing yardwork equals me have the HOA Board to behave a certain way. You are saying covenants are a contract; therefore, if I find a community where the dues cover yardwork wouldn’t that be keeping up with the contract. It would be the same if I got a landscaper.

How is asking for some ideas to bring to the next HOA meeting complaining about everything and everyone and they don't want what's best for the association? The HOA asks for idea every meeting from the homeowners. The fights usually happen when someone has an issues or question and the board cut them off.

MichaelS56, I hate to bring you in to this:

“The history of the Boards in our Association have been focused on generally two items, maintain the property values and build a human community to assist and support each other when needed. We have many social gatherings and events that bring most of the residents together at various times during the year.”

Their HOA and Homeowners work together. BarbaraT1, understood what I was asking for. Another homeowner brought but within my community come up with a solution to build stronger relationships between Homeowners and the Board. It worked for six months before we went into virtual meetings. Now it is putting people on mute when they are talking. I am looking for ideas to bring up during the next meeting to help address this Homeowner vs. Board fighting so my community can become better.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/28/2021 3:36 PM  
TomP11, respectfully, I think you are going to have to learn from experience what the reality is of governing (small time, like HOAs, and big-time, like city councils, state legislatures and the U. S. Congress).

The Board is legally in charge. The Board, by law, is the main enforcer of the covenants. I think "Us vs. Them" is going to happen far more often than not.

As for ideas to bring to the meeting, I think you would have to explain exactly what it is that makes you think "Us vs. Them" is occurring. All I know is that (1) you were angry about some plumbing work that had to be done, and you felt you should not be inconvenienced by this; and (2) you did not like the delays and having to threaten suit to get your solar system. Is there anything else that has annoyed you?
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


09/28/2021 4:36 PM  
AugustinD,

The coffee they have at the meetings is too cold. We all know that the Board is in charge. But what I want, and many other people is open communication. My question was how can it be moved from Us. Vs. Them to everyone working together to make the community better. For example, they cut off the streetlights and around 60 homeowners showed up asking why. Instead of addressing the concerns they just closed the meeting. Every question was what happened to the streetlights. You know what the issues was, they were changing them to LED’s and the contractor cut them off a month early. They could have said that. I have a feeling AugustinD that you think that is alright. People thought the HOA just didn’t pay the power bill.

For the submeter, they did not need to install it in the garage. Some people have it on the outside which would be a better choice if it needed repair of manual reading. For solar what they were doing was illegal and it took having to say we would take them to court for them to approve it helps no one. And it cost the association money. I am sure they contacted their lawyer and they most likely told them to stop. The HOA could have worked with me and the solar company to make it easy for everyone to get solar. They had someone in industry to held address questions and concerns.

There was a short time when members concerns, issues, ideas, and questions were addressed. Yes, that was a different board. I am looking for ways to get back to that. Another example, there was a tree that constantly had branches falling. Three cars were damaged in a two month period. None of them were homeowners vehicles and the insurance didn’t pay so the Board did not think too much about it. Money would have had to be spent to remove the tree. Well, some members pointed out the children sit and walk under that tree and what would happen if a branch was to fall on them. I am happy that the Board took the time to listen to Homeowners and address their concerns.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/28/2021 5:24 PM  
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 4:36 PM
There was a short time when members concerns, issues, ideas, and questions were addressed. Yes, that was a different board. I am looking for ways to get back to that.
And you want to get back to this without having to run for and serve on the board or any committee. Instead, you want to talk at the open forum segment of the board meetings and hope that what you say gets the board's and maybe others' attention.

Okay. Speak from the heart at the board meetings. At these meetings, maybe just read back what you posted here.
BillD16
(Texas)

Posts:37


09/30/2021 7:40 AM  
My own experience with “Us vs Them”, as a new HOA Board member, is that the Board members have some ‘issues’.

Our current Board President has “power issues”. Because they are President, they sometimes just make up policy without any discussion or vote. They definitely dislike hearing “shouldn’t we vote on that?” They shouted and cursed at me at our last working meeting.

Our VP is, frankly, not qualified to be on the Board due to lack of intelligence and lack of time. They are consistently late and documents that are supposed to be online rarely seem to make it there. They rarely do any actual work. It seems to be an ego thing: “I’m HOA VP’, they brag to friends.

Our (new) Secretary was talked into the job and, to be blunt, hasn’t a clue what is going on. They’re relatively new to America and their notions of law etc are heavily influenced by 2-3 decades living in an Asian non-democracy. I’m fairly sure the President got them to join because they seemed easy to manipulate.

I’m the new Treasurer.

All of those details aside, I’m shocked at how quickly these people - who *all* ran for the Board because they were upset over getting a CC&R violation - have decided that CC&R violations don’t matter to them anymore. Do you remember the end of Orwell’s Animal Farm, when the pigs turned into men? In the book, it took years. On my Board, it only took a few weeks.

BillD
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


09/30/2021 8:38 AM  
Tom

Regardless of what happened. what was the time frame from your original request to approval?
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:571


09/30/2021 9:28 AM  
Posted By TomP11 on 09/28/2021 4:36 PM
AugustinD,

The coffee they have at the meetings is too cold. We all know that the Board is in charge. But what I want, and many other people is open communication. My question was how can it be moved from Us. Vs. Them to everyone working together to make the community better. For example, they cut off the streetlights and around 60 homeowners showed up asking why. Instead of addressing the concerns they just closed the meeting. Every question was what happened to the streetlights. You know what the issues was, they were changing them to LED’s and the contractor cut them off a month early. They could have said that. I have a feeling AugustinD that you think that is alright. People thought the HOA just didn’t pay the power bill.

For the submeter, they did not need to install it in the garage. Some people have it on the outside which would be a better choice if it needed repair of manual reading. For solar what they were doing was illegal and it took having to say we would take them to court for them to approve it helps no one. And it cost the association money. I am sure they contacted their lawyer and they most likely told them to stop. The HOA could have worked with me and the solar company to make it easy for everyone to get solar. They had someone in industry to held address questions and concerns.

There was a short time when members concerns, issues, ideas, and questions were addressed. Yes, that was a different board. I am looking for ways to get back to that. Another example, there was a tree that constantly had branches falling. Three cars were damaged in a two month period. None of them were homeowners vehicles and the insurance didn’t pay so the Board did not think too much about it. Money would have had to be spent to remove the tree. Well, some members pointed out the children sit and walk under that tree and what would happen if a branch was to fall on them. I am happy that the Board took the time to listen to Homeowners and address their concerns.




I thought about this thread after the four hour plus board meeting I attended last week. The community I manage just transitioned from developer control and has a new homeowner board who are committed and ready to serve.

And they have been met with such mistrust and downright hostility from the jump. There has been constant talk of "transparency" without anyone explaining what they think that actually means. Even during the declarant phase, all documents, agendas, meeting minutes, financials, contracts etc - have been posted on a website. Declarant meetings were noticed and open even when they were not statutorily obligated to be.

At the first board meeting, owners were enraged that there was an executive session AT ALL - even though it was about topics that the state allows to be discussed in executive session. The argument was "just because you can doesn't mean you should." During the open session, despite having TWO open forums on the agenda, owners repeatedly interrupted the board during their discussions and would not stop even when asked. For future meetings, they want a copy of the management report and meeting packet given to the board too, so they can interrupt even more with their feedback.

Almost nothing got accomplished in that meeting. Over four hours, and all they were able to do was approve minutes and approve some collection activity. Everything else was tabled because every single homeowner in attendance wanted to have their say, and frankly, get their way.

Since that meeting, every attempt to inform the community of what the board is doing - for example a simple notice that the lake maintenance company would be out to survey the fish and aquatic vegetation - has been met with complaints and snarky comments about the way the notice was worded.

My poor board members are feeling pretty beat up and bewildered.

I'm not defending your board, Tom, but I can see why a board would just not want to deal with all this and start drawing the blinds on transparency. I'm a big believer in following not just the letter, but the spirit of what the state requires but that philosophy took a beating in my four hour meeting ordeal.

Change requires both sides to change. Owners who want to be able to address the board need to also respect that there is a time and place for that. Owners who want transparency shouldn't use that to second guess and mock every thing the board says and does. And owners need to accept that if they want to know everything about everything and have their opinion count on every issue they should run for the board themselves instead of leaving the work to others but armchair quarterbacking every step of the way.

I don't know if Us vs Them can ever be eliminated if both sides don't see themselves as having the same mission. If the membership is mistrustful of the board, and sees their mission as thwarting and second guessing everything the board wants to do on principle, and the board in turn sees the membership as an obstacle to them getting anything done... well here we are.

BillD16
(Texas)

Posts:37


09/30/2021 9:46 AM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/30/2021 9:28 AM


... for example a simple notice that the lake maintenance company would be out to survey the fish and aquatic vegetation - has been met with complaints and snarky comments about the way the notice was worded.




While I find the Board I work with to be a "challenge", I've seen the kind of stuff Barbara talks about, too. Some years ago, my friend & neighbor Doug accepted the task of getting roofs placed over our community mailboxes. This took almost three years, obtaining bids, deliberating them, a bid fell through and another had to be obtained, etc. Doug stuck with it, and it happened. Doug wasn't a Board member - he just volunteered.

At the very next annual meeting, someone on the Board brought up the wonderful new mailbox roofing. And, of course, a resident stood up and indignantly demanded to know why they hadn't been given a chance to provide input on this mailbox roofing project.

I'll probably be in a better mood tomorrow, but right now I'll just say what I'm feeling: people suck.

BillD
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


09/30/2021 9:55 AM  
JohnC46,

If you are referring my solar project. I mailed my application on June 5th. It arrived at the property management company on June 8th. I did not hear anything from them, so I emailed them on June 28th and they responded on June 29th

July 7th was the meeting, and my application was not brought up during the meeting. I emailed the property management company on the 8th and they responded on July 13th saying they didn’t have enough time to put it in the meeting.

July 24th I have a meeting with the ARC head and they gave me a list of extra stuff they wanted which wasn’t in the application. I had my Solar company get in contact with them to explain thing and try to work things out.

August 11th not brought up in the meeting again at this point they stop talking to me and the solar company. September 6th the solar company contacts the HOA and property management company saying they would take legal action. September 7th the Solar company and ARC have a meeting. September 8th it was approved.

It is still an issue with them.
MaxB4


Posts:1394


09/30/2021 9:57 AM  
The joys of association management. Well said Barbara!
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


09/30/2021 12:48 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/30/2021 9:28 AM
... snip ...

I thought about this thread after the four hour plus board meeting I attended last week. The community I manage just transitioned from developer control and has a new homeowner board who are committed and ready to serve.

And they have been met with such mistrust and downright hostility from the jump. There has been constant talk of "transparency" without anyone explaining what they think that actually means. Even during the declarant phase, all documents, agendas, meeting minutes, financials, contracts etc - have been posted on a website. Declarant meetings were noticed and open even when they were not statutorily obligated to be.

At the first board meeting, owners were enraged that there was an executive session AT ALL - even though it was about topics that the state allows to be discussed in executive session. The argument was "just because you can doesn't mean you should." During the open session, despite having TWO open forums on the agenda, owners repeatedly interrupted the board during their discussions and would not stop even when asked. For future meetings, they want a copy of the management report and meeting packet given to the board too, so they can interrupt even more with their feedback.

... snip ...




Barbara's excellent post illustrates how the Us vs. Them mentality often predates any missteps a board can make - and it also illustrates why a main driver is clueless (and often nasty) homeowners.

The angriest folks are often the ones who know the least, and what they get angry about is normal business practice. They believe that HOAs/CPAs are democracies, which they most certainly are not.

I experienced something similar when I worked with a group of homeowners on getting elected to my current association's board. I went from being their ally to being their enemy within a month, during which time I fulfilled some of my campaign promises of improving communication and transparency: open board meetings, a website, and a newsletter, among other things. I couldn't tell you what they thought was so objectionable, and I guarantee you that they couldn't have either.

Kinda makes the apathetic no-show homeowners look more appealing, doesn't it?

AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/30/2021 1:30 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/30/2021 12:48 PM
The angriest folks are often the ones who know the least, and what they get angry about is normal business practice.
I agree. When I was on HOA/COA Boards, I spent a lot of time explaining that the HOA/COA Board is limited in what it can do. Among other weird demands, I recall one owner (an attorney) telling me she felt that the manager should offer "concierge service."
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/30/2021 12:48 PM
They believe that HOAs/CPAs are democracies, which they most certainly are not.
For the archives and those new to HOAs: Legally a HOA/COA is a non-profit corporation where a Board calls most of the shots (hopefully while also complying with the HOA/COA's governing documents).


And yet: Just a week or so ago I posted how I never wanted to live in a HOA/COA again. Today I am looking at townhouses in another state. The single family houses in the 'burbs where I am moving look great. The houses are in older neighborhoods, so there are no HOAs. But a little like TomP11, I do not want quite so much yard to maintain. This forum remains valuable in helping my decision-making and identifying what I can tolerate in a townhome (side-by-side units; no units on top of each other) community.

BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:99


09/30/2021 1:56 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/30/2021 1:30 PM
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/30/2021 12:48 PM
The angriest folks are often the ones who know the least, and what they get angry about is normal business practice.
I agree. When I was on HOA/COA Boards, I spent a lot of time explaining that the HOA/COA Board is limited in what it can do. Among other weird demands, I recall one owner (an attorney) telling me she felt that the manager should offer "concierge service."
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/30/2021 12:48 PM
They believe that HOAs/CPAs are democracies, which they most certainly are not.
For the archives and those new to HOAs: Legally a HOA/COA is a non-profit corporation where a Board calls most of the shots (hopefully while also complying with the HOA/COA's governing documents).


And yet: Just a week or so ago I posted how I never wanted to live in a HOA/COA again. Today I am looking at townhouses in another state. The single family houses in the 'burbs where I am moving look great. The houses are in older neighborhoods, so there are no HOAs. But a little like TomP11, I do not want quite so much yard to maintain. This forum remains valuable in helping my decision-making and identifying what I can tolerate in a townhome (side-by-side units; no units on top of each other) community.




Augustin,
I also said the same thing that I never wanted to live in a HOA again but I am looking at townhomes as well. Side by side units too. This forum is also helping me in my decision making. I am looking at a 55 plus community but also some new units in a new development with a mixture of stand alones and townhomes and apartments. The new development website states that HOA dues are $100 a year. I am skeptical of that cost but wonder if that is what someone just put in that particular field because the dues have not been determined yet. I will be living in a rental duplex while I look and decide what the best option is. I can tolerate a lot but I hate unequal treatment from the board towards some of the homeowners and showing favoritism towards others. My current board has improved in that regard so I give them some credit for that and for keeping the common elements maintained through many hours of volunteer work and doing a good job of collecting dues and being responsible with HOA funds. I wish you luck Augustin in finding a good fit for you HOA or not.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


09/30/2021 4:38 PM  
BancsS, I too am seeing some very low HOA fees, and yes, they make me skeptical. I think the worst part for me would be if (1) the Board is making up its own rules, largely blowing off the covenants and bylaws; (2) the Board is playing favorites; and (3) the manager either shows signs of chumminess with anyone or is clearly lacking in smarts. Preferably the manager is not an employee. Good luck to you as well.
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:99


10/01/2021 5:41 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/30/2021 4:38 PM
BancsS, I too am seeing some very low HOA fees, and yes, they make me skeptical. I think the worst part for me would be if (1) the Board is making up its own rules, largely blowing off the covenants and bylaws; (2) the Board is playing favorites; and (3) the manager either shows signs of chumminess with anyone or is clearly lacking in smarts. Preferably the manager is not an employee. Good luck to you as well.



I am eager to hear when you make a decision and how you came about that decision. I think other forum members may benefit from your experience. The really hard part is how do new homeowners know what he or she is actually getting in to. You may have been given all of the documents about the HOA but there is so much more to it than that. It's difficult to know the dynamics of the HOA Board. I didn't have a clue when I bought my current house. I had never lived in an HOA before and my thought process at that time was, I am a responsible homeowner, pay my bills, and I keep my property in good condition, and I get along well with people. What could be the problem with living in an HOA. Wow was I wrong about that one. But as time went on the Board changed dramatically and things got much better. So it can be a crapshoot. And things can change as time goes on. As PITA used to always say "caveat emptor", buyer beware. When I search for my new home, I will keep that forefront in my mind. If something doesn't look or sound right go with your gut.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:254


10/01/2021 5:54 AM  
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 5:41 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/30/2021 4:38 PM
BancsS, I too am seeing some very low HOA fees, and yes, they make me skeptical. I think the worst part for me would be if (1) the Board is making up its own rules, largely blowing off the covenants and bylaws; (2) the Board is playing favorites; and (3) the manager either shows signs of chumminess with anyone or is clearly lacking in smarts. Preferably the manager is not an employee. Good luck to you as well.



I am eager to hear when you make a decision and how you came about that decision. I think other forum members may benefit from your experience. The really hard part is how do new homeowners know what he or she is actually getting in to. You may have been given all of the documents about the HOA but there is so much more to it than that. It's difficult to know the dynamics of the HOA Board. I didn't have a clue when I bought my current house. I had never lived in an HOA before and my thought process at that time was, I am a responsible homeowner, pay my bills, and I keep my property in good condition, and I get along well with people. What could be the problem with living in an HOA. Wow was I wrong about that one. But as time went on the Board changed dramatically and things got much better. So it can be a crapshoot. And things can change as time goes on. As PITA used to always say "caveat emptor", buyer beware. When I search for my new home, I will keep that forefront in my mind. If something doesn't look or sound right go with your gut.




Always keep in mind that the dynamics of the board will always change by elections and through appointments. Elected Board members win by popular vote. Appointments can be made just because they are breathing and needed.

Someone posted this recently and I saved it because this is how I feel, but they worded it much better than I:

"The HOA paradigm is terribly flawed. The unpaid amateurs who populate these boards, coupled with HOA owners who do not understand their own obligations under the covenants, is a recipe for disaster."




Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


10/01/2021 6:45 AM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 10/01/2021 5:54 AM
... snip ...

Always keep in mind that the dynamics of the board will always change by elections and through appointments. Elected Board members win by popular vote. Appointments can be made just because they are breathing and needed.

Someone posted this recently and I saved it because this is how I feel, but they worded it much better than I:

"The HOA paradigm is terribly flawed. The unpaid amateurs who populate these boards, coupled with HOA owners who do not understand their own obligations under the covenants, is a recipe for disaster."





Augustin was summarizing some of my recent posts. :-) I believe that HOAs and COAs are required to operate under conditions that would cause most for-profit businesses to fail.

I work for a developer/new home builder right now and served about 15 years as a board member in condo communities, so I've had a close up view of this stuff.

Yes, HOAs/COAs are a crapshoot - they're very much a product of who is on the board, what kind of neighbors make up the community, and the community's history. "Good" or "bad" is just a snapshot in time. Anyone who has put in time to get an association back on track, only to see things unravel again when they finally step down, will understand that comment.

The problem is that much of this can't be vetted ahead of time, so doing your homework before buying will only get you so far. Sheila from IN, who is another regular poster, once said that buying a condo is like walking into a bar and becoming business partners with everybody in the joint. It's a risk that is part of owning a home in an HOA or COA - and very few buyers understand this ahead of time. The ones who do understand probably have been burned in the past.

There should be a better way to educate buyers about what they're getting into, but I haven't found it yet. And I still haven't found a way around the fact that much of the board members' education comes from learning things the hard way, even if they take advantage of training opportunities.

Meanwhile these communities aren't going away - if anything there will be more of them as the demand for housing increases, and too many folks benefit financially from maintaining the status quo. The only thing I can see making a significant change would be if large numbers of buyers said "nope", and I don't see that happening unless something really bad happens. Probably not even then - there are condo owners down in Florida right now fighting urgently needed assessment increases after a building collapsed earlier this year. I mean... seriously??!! And these folks are your financial partners if you buy a condo in their buildings.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:768


10/01/2021 7:25 AM  
The bottom line is buying into any HOA, especially condos, will always be a crap shoot financially. Even if the buyer is educated and does their homework properly this will only help mitigate the risk short term. Board members and PM's come and go and you can't predict when a rogue/uneducated Board will take over. Anyone that buys into an HOA should go into it knowing that at anytime they may have to pony up money for a special assessment and accept this upfront.

I don't have the answer to these problems but I wish there was some way to enforce the funding of Reserve Funds. Also, and I know this is a pipe dream, it would be nice if all HOA's had a financial rating/summary that perspective buyers could see before the buy.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


10/01/2021 8:44 AM  
Posted By BancsS on 10/01/2021 5:41 AM
I am eager to hear when you make a decision and how you came about that decision. I think other forum members may benefit from your experience. The really hard part is how do new homeowners know what he or she is actually getting in to. You may have been given all of the documents about the HOA but there is so much more to it than that. It's difficult to know the dynamics of the HOA Board. I didn't have a clue when I bought my current house. I had never lived in an HOA before and my thought process at that time was, I am a responsible homeowner, pay my bills, and I keep my property in good condition, and I get along well with people. What could be the problem with living in an HOA. Wow was I wrong about that one. But as time went on the Board changed dramatically and things got much better. So it can be a crapshoot. And things can change as time goes on. As PITA used to always say "caveat emptor", buyer beware. When I search for my new home, I will keep that forefront in my mind. If something doesn't look or sound right go with your gut.
You and I are perhaps on the same page on a lot of issues when it comes to deciding whether to buy into another HOA/COA? Do consider starting a thread on your own adventures. I will then add mine. TomP11, sorry for the hijacking here. If this goes on much more, I will start a thread in a few weeks about my adventures.

I think I am at least several steps and a few weeks away from any possible disclosure, say. I hope to be re-located (belongings in storage) within the next ten days.

I just checked the statutes where I will be living. The state has a condo statute, with some sections applying to all condos and others applying to condos built only after a recent year. The statute borrows heavily from the uniform condominium act. I think this is also good.

PatJ1's, CathyA3's and JohnT38's reminder (that a decently run HOA/COA today could easily change to a poorly run one tomorrow), is a good one.

SheliaH's line (re-posted by CathyA3) is a good one.

Things I will check for:

-- Is the townhome community subject to the condominium act, in part of in whole (depending on the year the townhome community was established)? Many a time I see townhomes not subject to the state's condo statute.

-- For reserve funding, the state requires pretty much only disclosure of the amount the COA has in the fund. I will ask for the most recent reserve study. If the reserve study is less than three years old, and in about seven minutes, I feel I will have an idea about whether the COA is financially healthy; charging the right amount for the assessment; et cetera.

-- I may seek the last six months of board meeting minutes. If there's gossip in them, this is a red flag.

-- Of course I will check the online court records of lawsuits and see what the COA has been up to in the courts. A record of lawsuits (other than foreclosure proceedings) in recent years is a red flag.

-- I keep in mind CathyA3's interesting counsel about moving often. CathyA3, is this partly to avoid being around when, say, a large special assessment is imposed and many owners cannot pay it, or the COA has to get a loan.

-- Suppose I do find a townhome I like. Will I be among those who say, "Screw funding reserves for items 10 or more years away from being replaced. I may not be alive that long." I think a lot of senior citizens fight assessment increases (intended to boost the amount in reserve accounts) for this reason.

-- BancsS, I agree about my gut feeling. I am going to dox any prospective COA manager. I want to know his/her formal education. I want to know whether he/she has been arrested for a DUI. But I want to talk to the manager for at least five minutes. If I get a cold, yet serious and informed response from the manager, she/he is the manager for me.

-- Probably my biggest concern is that I will find owners and directors alike not savvy about covenants and that they are contractual terms. There will be a lot of weighing to do about whether indeed I want to co-own property with the party-ers in the bar.

-- If after looking at the above, I feel, as the line goes, "triggered" by past experiences, then this will drive me to buy the small house instead of the townhome. For my peace and general health. I will maintain simple shrubbery and trees myself. I will buy a decent riding mower for $1000 or so.

-- While traveling a week ago, and after some sleuthing of neighborhoods, I did make an offer a week ago on a great, well-maintained house, that was the perfect size and had a large lawn (lots of airspace between neighbors) and other desirable features. The house had been on the market maybe a few days. The listing agents said the seller would review all offers on Saturday evening. On Friday I offered $5k over the asking price. On Saturday the seller accepted an offer that was $20k over the asking price. IIRC the listing agent said there were a few such offers at this price, and the seller chose the best one. One thing this means is that a lot of people are making cash offers. I wonder if things will settle down to something more sane. This all is largely driven by low interest rates and a bloated stock market. As well, maybe climate change is driving a lot of this in the non-coastal states.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


10/01/2021 8:51 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/01/2021 8:44 AM
IIRC the listing agent said there were a few such offers at this price, and the seller chose the best one.
The listing agent also asked if I would like to make another offer and chat about this. I do not know the rules on bidding wars these days (if there are rules). Perhaps he liked that I was coming with (my humble?) cash with barely any inspection requirements. Nor mortgage approval nor appraisal required et cetera.

The listing agent's invitation turned me off. I have been under the impression that a seller in the current market accepts blind bids up to a certain day and time and then selects among them. This ends the initial round of negotiations.
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/01/2021 8:58 AM  
Come out to California, people are getting $100K+ over asking price.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


10/01/2021 9:08 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/01/2021 8:58 AM
Come out to California, people are getting $100K+ over asking price.
This is good to read. I want as few Californians as possible flooding the non-coastal state where I am headed. They're more competition.
TomP11
(California)

Posts:66


10/01/2021 9:14 AM  
AugustinD,

It is alright, just reading and learning things from everyone.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


10/01/2021 10:23 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/01/2021 8:44 AM
... much snippage...

-- I keep in mind CathyA3's interesting counsel about moving often. CathyA3, is this partly to avoid being around when, say, a large special assessment is imposed and many owners cannot pay it, or the COA has to get a loan.

... and again ...




It's more of a guideline on what to expect as a buyer, and it came up in a discussion of special assessments/inadequate reserves/assessments being kept too low.

I'd commented that in condos especially it can be hard for a buyer to see the hidden costs of years of poor maintenance, and that even with my experience I wasn't sure I'd be able to avoid buying a lemon. I'm less likely to get a lemon if I stick to communities that are relatively new - with the expectation that I may have to buy again if I make a bad decision or if the new community starts making bad financial decisions that will eventually catch up with it.

There is one problem with a hard and fast rule about the age of the community, though: homes built during The Great Recession tend to be lower quality than those built in the years prior, at least in the homes I know enough about to judge. Not surprising if you think about it. It's probably not reasonable to expect that level of knowledge from buyers, which is why I added the "plan to move" advice if you end up buying a problem despite all of your efforts.

I also occasionally comment that people shouldn't allow emotions to drive financial decisions, and that can happen with home buying: they fall in love with an area or community and don't look hard enough at what for many can be their largest lifetime purchase. Buying into an HOA/COA is financially and legally more complicated than buying property outside of one.
BillC17
(Texas)

Posts:9


10/02/2021 2:53 PM  
We've got a Facebook group for our HOA and I've been using it to communicate with the membership, I think it has helped a lot. I post meeting notices and agendas there, anything else that might be of interest to the community. Lost dogs and cellphones too.

People can message me with issues, sometimes they are angry. Sometimes it is legitimate. I always try to be helpful. Over time I've seen an improvement in the tone of the comments there, and have been able to recruit some people to be on committees.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/02/2021 7:09 PM  
I really do want to discuss further Barbara & Cathy's experiences and I will try tomorrow. such an important topic.

Tom, what in the world do you have in mind saying to your assn. board? Would it be in open forum at an open board meeting? Or are you permitted to submit agenda items to your board?Does you board have a handout about appropriate conduct during Board meetings?? And during Open Forum? We do and it helped a great deal to have at least orderly open board meetings when we established it a few years ago.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


10/03/2021 11:25 AM  
Not to defend Tom's BOD but BOD's are not standing at attention waiting to honor ones request within minutes. It took them 3 months and yes they had to be pushed but overall 3 months for a project that involves shred roofs and probably new (solar) to them, 3 months might not have been out of the question.
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/03/2021 3:23 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/03/2021 11:25 AM
Not to defend Tom's BOD but BOD's are not standing at attention waiting to honor ones request within minutes. It took them 3 months and yes they had to be pushed but overall 3 months for a project that involves shred roofs and probably new (solar) to them, 3 months might not have been out of the question.



Actually their solar policy has been in place for three years.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/06/2021 9:38 AM  
What do your gov. docs say about paying directors, Rolland?
BillD16
(Texas)

Posts:37


10/06/2021 11:36 AM  
Posted By BillC17 on 10/02/2021 2:53 PM
We've got a Facebook group for our HOA and I've been using it to communicate with the membership, I think it has helped a lot. I post meeting notices and agendas there, anything else that might be of interest to the community. Lost dogs and cellphones too.

People can message me with issues, sometimes they are angry. Sometimes it is legitimate. I always try to be helpful. Over time I've seen an improvement in the tone of the comments there, and have been able to recruit some people to be on committees.



Interesting. What percent of your community is actively using the FB group?

My neighborhood has a (mostly static) website, and "official" HOA FB group (OHOAFBG), and an "unofficial" neighborhood FB group (UFBG). And a 'blast email' function that (we believe) includes almost everyone (but it's difficult to maintain and use). While over 50% of my neighborhood uses the UFBG - it's the place for lost pets and such - very few people pay any attention to the OHOAFBG. Still, the BOD considers it an 'effective' way to communicate. I think they're meshuggah.

To add to the 'fun', the BOD has 'issues' with Board members posting to the UFBG - something hand-wavey about getting sued, which is typical. And so communications between the BOD and the neighborhood are sometimes very spotty. One of the reasons the rest of the BOD doesn't love me is because I continue to post to the UFBG. I'm thoughtful about it - but they still don't like it. A lot of it is because when I was elected to the BOD, they told me "you can't post to FB anymore". And I invited them to visit a place that's even warmer than Texas.

Recently, what with all of the bad PR and congressional inquiries and such, I've wondered what we might move to using if FB implodes upon itself. Discord might be interesting.

Bill
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


10/06/2021 11:45 AM  
I have never liked interactive web sites meaning anyone can post and all can see. To often they turn into Bytching sites and if seen by potential buyers, sales can be lost. I do like associations that host a website and use it to post information, docs, post agendas, update it all the time, etc.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


10/06/2021 11:49 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/06/2021 11:45 AM
I have never liked interactive web sites meaning anyone can post and all can see. To often they turn into Bytching sites and if seen by potential buyers, sales can be lost. I do like associations that host a website and use it to post information, docs, post agendas, update it all the time, etc.
vcx


ADD ON
My association does have a Gmail address where owners can communicate with the BOD. Any mail sent to the address automatically gets distributed to each BOD Member so all know what is happening.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/06/2021 11:51 AM  
An Owner in my HOA is trying to start a NextDoor group, which makes me, as a director, pretty nervous. I've seen the larger neighborhood NextDoor and it's full of ghastly rumors and false "reports." As a board we're going to make '22 budget decisions at the end of this month and they won't be popular among all Owners...
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:254


10/06/2021 12:36 PM  
Posted By BillD16 on 10/06/2021 11:36 AM
Posted By BillC17 on 10/02/2021 2:53 PM
We've got a Facebook group for our HOA and I've been using it to communicate with the membership, I think it has helped a lot. I post meeting notices and agendas there, anything else that might be of interest to the community. Lost dogs and cellphones too.

People can message me with issues, sometimes they are angry. Sometimes it is legitimate. I always try to be helpful. Over time I've seen an improvement in the tone of the comments there, and have been able to recruit some people to be on committees.



Interesting. What percent of your community is actively using the FB group?

My neighborhood has a (mostly static) website, and "official" HOA FB group (OHOAFBG), and an "unofficial" neighborhood FB group (UFBG). And a 'blast email' function that (we believe) includes almost everyone (but it's difficult to maintain and use). While over 50% of my neighborhood uses the UFBG - it's the place for lost pets and such - very few people pay any attention to the OHOAFBG. Still, the BOD considers it an 'effective' way to communicate. I think they're meshuggah.

To add to the 'fun', the BOD has 'issues' with Board members posting to the UFBG - something hand-wavey about getting sued, which is typical. And so communications between the BOD and the neighborhood are sometimes very spotty. One of the reasons the rest of the BOD doesn't love me is because I continue to post to the UFBG. I'm thoughtful about it - but they still don't like it. A lot of it is because when I was elected to the BOD, they told me "you can't post to FB anymore". And I invited them to visit a place that's even warmer than Texas.

Recently, what with all of the bad PR and congressional inquiries and such, I've wondered what we might move to using if FB implodes upon itself. Discord might be interesting.

Bill




FB didn't work for us year's ago because we didn't have enough to follow to keep the account open. Many years ago a resident opened a Yahoo Groups account which the Board stayed out of, but was a good way for the board to keep up with community chatter. Yahoo groups became obsolete last December and we miss it.

About 8 years ago, during my "1st" board appointment, I started a BOD gmail account. I classified every email address I can get my hands on by "owner" and "tenant". This way we can send info that only owners should receive or blast out to everyone. Owner is even broken down to if they live on property, and some by the floor plan of their unit. Periodically we compare our BOD gmail list with our PM's email list and we update both sides.

As a board we are very careful of the emails sent out and we use them for information purposes only.

If the community has an "unofficial" FB account there isn't much the board can do about it. There is also a site called Nextdoor.com that falls under this same "unofficial" catagorey. However, all board members should be mindful when posting to any website. One board member's post reflects on the entire Board.





Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


10/06/2021 1:26 PM  
Our attorney strongly discouraged allowing homeowners to post on association-owned websites and said to avoid social media altogether for the reasons John mentioned.

The association is legally responsible for any information appearing on their websites. Sites like NextDoor and others that allow users to post content tend to collect things like misinformation, arguments, insulting or defamatory comments, copyrighted materials, photos of minors posted without parents' permission, other privacy violations, and similar items. Your "vocational dissidents" will use this as a free soapbox to spout their nonsense. And neighbor-to-neighbor spats may well spill over onto the site, possibly forcing the board into action when they should stay out of it.

There is a reason that websites that allow users to post will have Terms of Service agreements as long as your arm - it's to help protect the owners of the sites from liability arising from users' posts.

Board members don't have time to moderate homeowner discussions or delete inappropriate posts, so association resources should be informational only. Even so, you'll need a Terms of Service agreement for your site - you should talk to your attorney and your insurance agent to make sure you're properly protected.


https://ohiocondolaw.com/2018/11/27/you-are-the-gatekeeper-creating-guidelines-for-association-websites-to-avoid-a-defamation-lawsuit/
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


10/07/2021 4:19 AM  
Posted By RollandE1 on 10/06/2021 9:22 AM
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/28/2021 5:18 AM
Lots of reasons, as others of posted.
Among other things, HOAs/COAs are required by law to be run by volunteers




really? I thought they were classified as non profits and non profts can certainly pay thier board can't they?



As far as I know, most bylaws state that directors can't be paid, although there are some exceptions.

The big issues with being paid as a director:

* Directors lose important legal protections that they have as volunteers.
https://www.energizeinc.com/art/federal-law-protects-nonprofit-volunteers

* People will choose to become directors for the wrong reasons and will likely have conflicts of interest.
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