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Subject: Cure for Thankless Work: Thanks!
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JohnP47
(Washington)

Posts:11


08/03/2020 8:48 AM  
Just sent this to the other owners at my condo. Names changed.

Hello ANONHOA,

While reflecting on what I felt grateful for last week I had to admire what's been going on here at home. Can you help me praise and celebrate the current Board for their amazing series of successes? Of course, in the process we congratulate ourselves for approving our special assessment to pay for some of this work.

Please join me in raising Thanks and Gratitude to fresh heights for their work in the 100 days since our Annual Meeting. Check it out:

Replacing the front Siding! This has been nearly a decade long "engagement"
Replacing the rails on the street-facing units
Replacing exterior and deck lights in all units
Resurfacing the roof
Getting the Garage Door serviced and repaired
Arranging for durable and waterproof painting of the stucco walls on the decks of street-facing units
Getting damage from an anonymous car that "bumped" into the new siding immediately repaired
Getting things done during a pandemic

Plus: this Board is coordinating the replacement of windows (at owners' expense) for any Owner that chooses to take part.

Let's put our hands together make a bit of joyous noise. Because the way to end board service as being "thankless work" is to shout our thanks and praise.

Thank you Portia, Ophelia, & Juliet!

Γ clapping hands emojis]

You rock!

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


08/03/2020 1:36 PM  
You don't say if you're on the board, but if you aren't this is a great thing to send to your neighbors. I'm sure some were salty because of a special assessment, but when you can look around and see things are getting done, it does help to be grateful.

We complain A LOT on this board about assessment increases, vendors with poor workmanship, too many delinquencies, short term rentals dog poop, parking, and all the other stuff that goes along with HOA life. there's nothing wrong with pointing out problems and asking questions, but in the midst of all that, it helps to stop and thank the Creator (whatever you perceive Him/Her/It/Them to be) that despite everything, you have your health, a place to sleep at night, food in your refrigerator, reliable transportation and, most important, a family that loves you. You don't have to look very far to see people who have NONE of those things. If you don't have a religion, you should still take time every once in a while to say thanks, I appreciate you (you'll feel better).

Board members aren't perfect, but most of them really are doing the best they can - they're homeowners too. That's why I hope you don't stop with an email - I'm sure your board would appreciate a helping hand with research, polling homeowners or even checking people in during the annual meeting. there's always something homeowners can do to improve their community and it doesn't have to take up all your time.
JohnP47
(Washington)

Posts:11


08/03/2020 2:32 PM  
I'm not on the board, just the partner of the current Board Prez. At the annual meeting we get small tasks to help out with (conduct fire alarm, check on roof, monitor the recycling bins, and such). Plus from time to time I take up things. Largely through our work during the years we were off the board that we kept the residing on life support. It's been 3 hard fought years since she's picked up the baton.

Funny, my original proposal to the owners is largely what has been settled on to do. Maybe for another thread if there's interest.

Around February I took up finding a new master insurance company. Our current co, as one might expect, did what they could to keep us from 'dating' other companies. Haha. The ins. comm. office didn't think I'd have much success. Many of the brokers, same thing, for one reason or another as they were saying they couldn't help up.

I persisted. I just brush away the naysayers and keep repeating "I only need one."

Worked everything up, had the requisite 3 vendors (current plus 2) brought to annual meeting, won approval by owners (due to the risks and size of premiums and attachment to current company) only to learn that our first choice needed to back away due to a technicality. He referred us to the "best broker for condo ins in the state" who did work hard with us to get us a new ins co.

Get this: on paper it's better in several ways. First cheaper, Second, lowers our deductible from $25K to $10K, covers earthquakes with a 5% deductible rather than a 10% one, AND doesn't have a "adequately insured" penalty in case of a major claim and need to rebuild.

Yup, I contribute.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7502


08/03/2020 5:28 PM  
Welcome to the Forum, JohnP.

My spouse has a strong background in corporate training and Org. Behavior/Org. Development; I learned a lot about it too. And our current president in his 2nd year on the Board, does too. We'll call the latter "Sam" and he writes very upbeat President's Messages in our monthly newsletter, which seem to resonate well with owners. And he, another new director & I have placed a lot of documents on the owners portal of our website for those who want to learn more.

I'm surprised to see that in your HOA, or perhaps it's the law in WA, that Owners vote on who your HOA insurance carrier is. Do your owners vote on other such matters too? I also was surprised to see that owner volunteers get on roofs. Our ins. agent strongly stated we should not let owners or committee members be in situations that could become dangerous.

Our Bylaws do require recognized parliamentary procedure for Members meetings, but not for Board meeting, where we do draw from RONR (as the Robert's Rules experts seem to refer to it) in cases when our Bylaws are silent.

Our state requires a posted agenda and some other things that keep board meetings orderly. And Sam is an excellent, patient presider, yet keeps meetings moving.

What sort of HOA is yours? Detached homes? What size Board & Community?
JohnP47
(Washington)

Posts:11


08/03/2020 9:20 PM  
Thanks for the welcome.

I'm surprised to see that in your HOA, or perhaps it's the law in WA, that Owners vote on who your HOA insurance carrier is. Do your owners vote on other such matters too?
Some details (disguised as I'm going to get very honest in some of my posts and would rather not face blowback should any other owners land here). We're a 14 unit condo. Every annual meeting the board may change among ourselves and since every government and vendor wants to fleece condos we look over the budget very carefully. Prior boards/owners have vested themselves in maintaining our relationship with particular vendors like the insurance company. As the annual premium amount is over $5000 a decision to change needs a majority vote. Over $25K we need a super majority. By rule of our declarations. Owners voting strength determined by the size of their units. So if the larger unit owners approve we technically can pass items with seven owners approving. Our recent special assessment needed a super majority. Fortunately 13 of the 14 units approved, so it went forward.

On this vote for changing the ins co, the owners had many qualifiers like making sure that we continued to have earthquake covered and offering the current company a chance to rebut. In the actual case they voted to delegate the final details and decision to the board. I continued with the leg work and submitted a report with recommendation (to change) to the board and it passed 3-0. Also remember, this is insurance for the common areas. We have a a shared stake in it. Even if it wasn't in the declarations I'd want to participate in that decision.


I also was surprised to see that owner volunteers get on roofs.
The roof is flat and it's unavoidable going up there about every six weeks if we're to keep it clear of debris to avoid leaks. It's limited to Board members and whomever is assigned. We also have a contract vendor who does most of this work in the fall and winter. Insurance companies are extremely skittish with condos and seem far less so with single-family homes and I'm not sure why as the chances of a better skilled and able-bodied person getting involved is higher in a condo. I think because single family home owners probably don't consult their insurance companies before getting to the work that's needed.

We also self-manage (don't have a management company). We do use a bookkeeper for keeping track of our bills and paying them.

What sort of HOA is yours? Detached homes? What size Board & Community?

We're a 14 unit condo, as I said, a little north of downtown Seattle. All attached in one building. Board size is 3. The homes around us (what I call my clusterhood as for sure we're not neighborly enough to consider ourselves neighbors) includes many families, students, and lots of senior living/senior living condos.

The board meets about once a month and sends notices to owners via email at least a week before as required in our by-laws. No requirement to send an agenda. Minutes are drafted, edited, and sent to everyone within 10 days. I learned, though to my surprise, that in WA there's no explicit legal requirement that boards disclose their meeting times and locations. With everything else the legislature stuck their noses in, you'd think they'd cover that detail.

PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:101


08/04/2020 3:00 AM  
WOW. That's awesome.

Sure beats the steaming pile of decaying dog poop someone left at my front door yesterday.

Yes, I do have a dog. Even when I wasn't the HOA Board President, I've always cleaned up after him.

Must have ticked someone off about something, but haven't had any complaints in ages.

Ring peephole goes in today.

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