As a Property Manager I enjoy the dynamics of working with Condominium and Homeowner Association Boards of Directors. The Board essentially runs the Association in conjunction with homeowner volunteers in an effort to keep property values high through proper maintenance of common areas, maintain uniformity and ensure positive curb appeal. The Association works closely with the Property Manager to set goals for the year, manage projects and annual budgets, and help owners with maintenance issues through the Architectural Committee. Owner participants occasionally have prior experience working with treasurers’ reports, work orders and the many diverse challenges that arise in any home, but many of them learn ‘on the job’. After years of working in partnership with Association Boards, I have noticed three qualities that set effective board members apart. Putting these elements into practice in your role can help empower your Property Managers, maintain homeowner pride and keep your property values high.
1. Know Your CC&R’s
It is essential that each member is familiar with the governing documents for their community, known as the CC&R’s. These are the covenants that govern a community. They are written at inception by an attorney and include the Declarations, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation, plot maps and pertinent plans to the property. Over time the CC&R’s expand to include the Rules and Regulations which are created by the homeowner Board of Directors and can be updated and revised, as long as they are in conformity to the governing documents.
2. Conformity is King
Many times the Board of Directors is seen as ‘the bad guy’ because they initiate letters asking owners for compliance, such as replacing window frames that are the wrong color, or doors that don’t match other units. But these are necessary requests because when you look at a well-kept community, the eye will see that uniformity is often the attribute that appeals to new home buyers. When a community is well-maintained-lawns are mowed and manicured, garbage cans are out of sight, and cars are parked in their proper spaces-it gives the potential buyer the assurance that the people who live here care about the community. The net result: higher property values for potential new owners and a feeling of pride for existing ones.
3. You’re Part of a Team
A good board member will be available to listen to the needs of homeowners and let them know that they take their issues seriously. Participating on a Board doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it’s important to remember that the Board is a team and sometimes teamwork takes a bigger investment of time. One person never makes decisions – they are made as a group, so they represent the entire community. It is also very important to not take these issues personally, but with an attitude of understanding and compassion. Although it is your responsibility to let the owners know when they are out of compliance, it is done with respect, without offending or causing hard feelings.
The role of the Association Board Member is essential to the long-term success of a community. Individuals who give their time and energy to this role are personally committed to preserving property values, maintaining pride in ownership and ensuring a higher quality of living. These volunteers are appreciated!